Recently at THE Aesthetic Academy, held in Beverly Hills to educate doctors and industry leaders on the latest in aesthetic medicine, American Health and Beauty spoke with senior account manager, Leslie E. Branch, of If Marketing, a group that works closely with plastic surgeons and cosmetic physicians nationwide on how to successfully manage, grow and market their practices.
When asked what where the top 3 things that a practice should implement to ensure success within the aesthetic industry, Ms. Blanche answered with the following:
- Staff Education
One of the most important things that a practice needs to invest in is educating the staff. The entire practice, physicians and staff included, "touch" the patients and knowledge is key. In some instances, the same staff has been there, doing the same thing for a long time. Ms. Blanche says, "We have a two-pronged approach, one is increasing technical knowledge and second, developing conversation strategies to create a connection with patients."
- Focus On Tools On How To Speak To Patients
Change the paradigm of the staff from "what you want to say" to "what your patient needs to hear" - the importance of thinking from the patients' perspective and the multiple touch points that come from doing so is what will maintain and grow patient retention.
- Get a System and Plan In Place
After figuring out a game plan, it is imperative to maintain the technical knowledge that may change as new technology emerges and retaining patient/practice relationships. In speaking about procedures, it could be something as simple as learning a new way to speak about old procedures. Being adaptive in existing strategies is also important - tweaking and changing tactics to best improve relationships could make it more fun and potentially increase patient calls.
Of course, the topic of Social Media is on the tip of everyone's tongue, including the aesthetic industry. Ms. Blanche also advises these 3 top things when attempting to add social media to a practice:
- Have Presence & Maintain It Ms. Blanche says, "If you're going to have a presence on social media, you have to have a presence. So you can't just put your Facebook page up and then not do anything for six months. It has to be a regular constant interaction."
- It's Not All About Promotion Posting special after special is not going to do the practice any good - after a while, patients will stop listening. According to Ms. Blanche, a good social media campaign "provides a mixture of information that is relevant to get new patients in, new specials that the practice has going on but also educational and topical items that happen in the industry. Post these items, comment on it and create interaction."
- Show That Personality Successful personal pages on social media outlets such as Facebook, twitter, MySpace exhibit the individual's personality. The same concept should be applied to a social media page created by a practice. "We always want you to give as much personality to your Facebook presence or any of your social media profiles as possible," explains Ms. Blanche, "People don't interact with computers, they interact with each other. The more that you can make it feel like it is your office or the personality of your office talking to patients, the more engaged patients are going to be."
Social media is still such a new touch-point for practices, many feel that it's a great way to get brand new patients in the door. However, Ms. Blanche stresses that social media is simply "another level of communication with your patient base. It's another way to reach out to them on a regular basis and once you get those reach-outs going, it may stem into referrals, new patients, new potential patients getting to know you through social media but it's not going to be an immediate response."
Leslie E. Blanche has been with If Marketing for the past 3 years. Working closely with aesthetic medical practices across the nation, she helps develop and implement custom marketing programs that focus on the unique strengths of each practice. She consults with over 100 aesthetic physicians each year and is current on the needs of the ever-changing aesthetic industry.