It’s important that cosmetic dermatologists market to promote their practices. But, today, it’s vital they market to promote the common good — of the cosmetic medicine industry, that is.
As the supply chain overflows with providers of all sorts and med spas in pursuit of cash-based clients, core cosmetic providers might find cosmetic medicine’s reputation is on the decline.
“It’s important for dermatologists to not only advertise, but to educate patients on why they should seek a qualified, board certified dermatologist, versus the unqualified injectors who have surfaced on every street corner,” says Dan Mathews, owner of Brand it Advertising.
“Most of these unqualified injectors are advertising heavily and influencing unknowing patients with price reductions and promises that cannot be met. This can lead to a big black eye for the industry as a whole, and cheapen the credentials and training that dermatologists have worked so hard for,” he says.
Marketing strategies for dermatologists have evolved primarily due to consumer access to online information, and their thirst for the latest and greatest in cosmetic procedures.
“Because patients are spending so much time online, it is critical for dermatologists to have unique, distinctive, mobile-friendly websites,” says Mr. Mathews, who was part of a panel discussion at the May 2017 Aesthetics and Medical Dermatology symposia in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
“Google reports that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. With over 50% of internet users accessing websites via their smart phones or tablets, you can see the importance of a well-built, mobile-friendly website.”
But just having a great website isn’t enough, he says. The website needs to show up in searches — on the first, maybe the second, page.
“Most patients won’t go past the first page or two of online search results, so it’s important that advanced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are used,” Mathews says. “Just because a website looks good doesn’t always mean that it’s communicating with search engines properly.”
Engaging with patients and posting on social media channels is an important part of any modern advertising campaign, according to Mr. Mathews. Posting actual patient testimonials, before and after images, articles about the latest treatments, community involvement and more on Facebook and other social platforms helps to fuel dermatologists’ marketing efforts.
Mr. Mathews shares his top five tips for successfully marketing cosmetic services at the dermatology practice.
Distinguish yourself and your practice
Think about why customers pay for your products and services. What makes you unique and better than your competitors? Would you have a good answer or struggle with a response if a prospective customer approached you and asked, “Why should I choose you over the competitors?” When distinguishing your practice, think about the products and services you choose and why.
Define your target audiences and where they live.
You’ll save time and money, and your advertising will be more effective, if you know to whom you’re selling and where they live. You can always expand from there. Never forget about your target audience while trying to go after new audiences–your competitors certainly won’t.
Create a strategic website.
Looks aren’t everything, when it comes to your website. The objective should be to design an interface that will help you accomplish your practice’s objectives. Establish your goals, identify your audience, determine your brand messaging, create a goal-driven design, measure your results and continue to evolve your site.
Establish a solid online presence, including local business listings with Google, Bing, Facebook, Yellowpages, Yelp, etc.
Make sure to correctly list your office phone number, address and hours on all your online listings, so they can work together to help build your organic presence, and it’s easy for people to get in touch. It is important to be able to change your online information easily, so keep your user names and passwords somewhere safe.
Use a comprehensive marketing approach to connect with your target audiences.
You’ll need different strategies to communicate with existing clients, new clients and referrals. While email, social media, direct mail and materials in waiting rooms will reach existing clients, you’ll need to broaden your reach to capture new clients. To influence potential new clients with your unique brand messaging, try radio, television and print ads, as well as digital marketing. Reaching referrals is more about relationship management where a good, experienced physician or practice liaison comes into play.
The key to successful marketing is to stand out. If you’re simply doing what everyone else is doing, your message will get lost in the clutter. Review your practice and what makes it unique and stand out compared to the competition. It’s often the littlest things that sway potential patients from choosing one practice over another, he says.
Another marketing no-no: Don’t overuse social media as an advertising platform. Rather, try to connect with the audience and tell a story. That’s why people use social media sites like Facebook in the first place.
“Spamming, excessive self-promotion and inactivity are some other big no-nos when it comes to social media. Put some thought and time into your posts. Quality is better than quantity,” Mathews says. “Eventually, you’ll lose followers by putting out too much uninteresting content. Always have a plan when you make a social media post. What is the objective for that post? Am I making it easy for my audience to complete my objective?”
Last but far from least: don’t become complacent. Marketing is an evolving field.
“Technology, social media and the way we communicate will obviously continue to change and evolve. You may offer the best services in the world, but if potential patients are unaware of you, can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, or have troubles contacting you, then they will simply go to the choices that are easy and in front of them. Make sure you are distinct, heard and found,” Mathews says.