In running an aesthetic practice, it's important to reach out to a specific client community and to educate consumers about what you can offer them. Potential patients need to understand why they need you, and then they can make the switch from potential patients to clients.
Dr. Gregory Buford, a board certified plastic surgeon in Denver, CO recently published a book, Beauty and the Business which educates physicians on running an aesthetic practice. He says, "The zone of client opportunity is all about bringing your patients in, or your clients into the zone of client opportunity. That's essentially achieved by several ways. That's achieved by establishing branding efforts and then supporting those branding efforts through effective marketing, through collateral materials, again, to support your brand. They're all about educating the consumer as to why they should need you and what you can solve for them."
"That's really the biggest opportunity is you solve a problem for everybody," says Dr. Buford. "Everyone has an issue. Maybe not a problem but an issue, something they want to have solved, whether it be facial aging, whether it be abdominal elasticity, whether it be breast issues or body issues as with pregnancy, everyone has an issue. So you need to educate them as to why you're the best solution to their concerns."
Dr. Buford says once you've demonstrated to the patient why it is that you are their best choice to resolve their aesthetic concerns, you can then really show them who you are and what your practice is about. "Once you get them in that client zone, then that's the opportunity to actually effectively introduce them to who you are, what you are to your staff."
"It's basically like a net," says Dr. Buford. "Most people like to throw out a large net. The problem is, if you throw out a large net, you catch every fish and you don't want every fish. I don't want 50 consults a day, 30 of which are facelifts, because I don't do facelifts, and so for me to go in and say 'well it's great to see you, by the way, I can't solve that problem,' that's not the net I want to throw out. So to get patients in your zone of opportunity, you basically have to identify who it is you're looking for. When you do that, then you can choose your appropriate net."
He says it's important to reach your patient base in the way that's most likely to get their attention. "The appropriate net is just a metaphor for a way in which to attract your patients. For example, I work mostly with breast and body patients, facial injectables and lasers. My patients tend to be relatively young, 25-45 so those patients are going to be very well reached through social media whereas, if I had a patient population... of 55?65?75, older face lift patients, I'm probably not going to want to approach them through social media. They're not tuned in yet, they're not dialed in yet. Same thing with the website. The website has to reflect the look and feel and cater to the patients that you're looking for. My website, the way I designed it, it's designed to attract the kind of people that I want. There are not a lot of patients in their 50's and 60's on the website because that's not who I'm looking for. So it's all about getting within that zone but doing it appropriately and - using the filter analogy - to basically funnel through who you want and exclude those who you don't want. Because those you don't want are not going to be happy patients because you're not going to be providing them with what they need."