By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting
Once you have identified and attracted the attention of your patient population, it is essential to stay in touch. One of the easiest and most direct ways to do this is to send out targeted newsletters that inform prospective and current patients alike about new treatments, new technology in the field of medical aesthetics and special rates your office is offering. As I discussed in my blog on building an effective marketing program, once you have identified your target population, developing personalized marketing tools to guide them toward a consultation appointment is the next step.
Identify Your Patient Population
Identifying your patient population is the most critical aspect of a successful marketing program. Your patient population consists of current patients, new patients and prospective patients. To market to each of these groups effectively, you will need to first establish communication—collect basic contact information, including their email addresses.
Current/new patients: For current and new patients, the process of establishing a connection and recording patient information has likely already taken place. From the very first appointment, your front office staff should be engaging, be knowledgeable and work to establish a personal connection with each patient. (Click here to learn about the LAER model I developed for training front office staff here.) This includes collecting basic patient history and recording current contact information. If some patients are hesitant to relay their email or physical addresses, assure them that their information is protected and will not be shared with external parties.
Prospective patients: Establishing communication with prospective patients is a more challenging but equally important task. Consider what types of clientele you want to attract to your office and what types of treatments and technology might appeal to them. Find your patient niche and commit to it. From there, you can market specifically to this niche.
First, configure your website so it’s searchable to this population and create a page specifically for prospective patients. On this page, include concise and key information about your medical aesthetic office and what sets it above the rest. Offer information about a few key procedures and treatments you offer. Most importantly, include a well-defined banner that allows prospective patients to join your newsletter list by providing basic contact information, including their email address.
Attending and setting up booths at local, regional and national medical aesthetic conferences and shows is another way to secure and market to your prospective patient audience. This gives you a chance to market your office to a wider audience. Feature a sign-up sheet that promises attendees personalized treatment plans and special rates. Be sure to also assure prospective patients that their information will be protected.
To help organize your marketing materials and define strategies to market to current, new and prospective patients, divide patients into different groups based on their specific treatment/procedure interests, age and how many years they’ve been a patient with you (if relevant). This will allow you to personalize your marketing materials and send targeted newsletters to the right populations.
Select a Secure Email Marketing System
Practice-purchased: The best option—if you can allocate resources towards it—is to purchase a secure email marketing software for your medical aesthetic office. There are many solutions on the market to choose from, from simple platforms to sophisticated systems. Companies such as Campaign Enterprise offer business-level software for purchase that allow you to create your own database, tailor your own system and personalize your marketing materials. Click here to read more about this software. One of the advantages of this option is that you can keep all your patient information—including contact information—secure. No third party will have access to this information, making it protected and fully yours. This approach will take a greater investment of time and resources to fully set up, so you will need to budget for this expense upfront. You may also want to invest in training for key members of your office staff, to get the system up and running at full capacity. Once established, however, having a practice-purchased email marketing solution is the best option for the long-term.
Vendor-supplied: If you’re looking for a similar email marketing solution but for a fraction of the cost, purchasing a vendor-supplied system is the best option. There are countless options to choose from, so be diligent in your selection. Consider the size of your office, your budget, your desired materials and the types of patients you’ll want to target. Click here to read about some of the top vendor solutions. The advantages of this option include a lower cost, easier setup and, often, a lower startup burden compared to a practice-purchased system. Key features of many of these services include mass email capability, email scheduling and management, and formatted templates. You’ll be able to get this system up and running quickly, which means you’ll be able to reach your target audience faster. However, you may be limited with regards to the variety of materials you’re able to send, and you’ll have to pay per user, which can add up quickly. The main disadvantage to this option is that you’ll have to enter patient information into a third-party system. While many of these vendor solutions attempt to ensure reliability and security, your risk for patient data corruption and/or theft is increased. If you choose this option, be sure to review relevant HIPAA requirements to make sure patient data is as secure as possible.
In-house: You may be able to use in-house tools to manually create email lists, compile patient information and send out personalized marketing materials. This option will work in the short-term. Although it may seem like the most cost-effective solution, remember that this option will take more of your staff’s time and effort, and it requires constant attention, compared to practice-purchase and vendor-supplied software. As soon as your budget will allow, you’ll want to research and find the best professional marketing tool for your office.
Personalize Your Marketing Materials
Once you’ve identified your target patient population, organized their contact information and selected an email marketing solution, creating personalized marketing materials is your next step. The goal here is to make a connection with each patient. To prospective patients, create newsletters that emphasize what sets your office apart: medical expertise, educated staff and state-of-the-art technology. The key here is to make clear how your office stands above the competition. This will help you begin to establish a connection and guide prospective patients to come in for a consultation appointment. For new patients, you’ll want to send out monthly newsletters detailing new technology or services your office offers. Be sure to include special rates and information about personalized plans that would be available to them. For current patients, you want to maintain a personal connection. Tailor emails and newsletters to specific subsets of your patients. For example, you might send out information on the newest facial technology to patients who have expressed interest in these services in previous office visits or patient surveys. Through personalized marketing materials, you can establish and maintain a connection with your patients.
After sending out materials to your patients, you’ll want to strategically follow up. Reach out to new and prospective patients and make sure they’ve received all the information they need to make an informed decision about their medical aesthetic care. Invite them in for a free or reduced consultation appointment to get the ball rolling. Also, reach out to current patients and make sure they’re aware of new technology and/or treatments in the office, and answer any questions they may have. This also gives you a chance to record and address any concerns your patients may have, so you can be proactive in your service and offer top-of-the-line, personalized care.
Targeted email marketing is an essential component of a successful marketing program. To choose the right solution for you, schedule a strategy call with Terri today and take the first steps towards making and maintaining a connection with your patients today.
Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.
Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.
To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.