The 8 Must-Have Marketing Tools for Your Practice: How to Calm Those Website Woes
- Posted on: Feb 2 2018
In keeping with our ongoing series of articles designed to help you maximize all your marketing, this month we’re going to delve a little deeper into one of the digital marketing strategies we discussed in January. It’s one of your most important assets: your website.
Let’s say you’ve started off the year with a bang, and you’re revitalizing your website, or maybe even creating an entirely new one. Great! That is hands down one of the best things you can do for your practice.
Last month, we outlined some of the essential needs of your website: making sure it looks polished and contemporary, that it’s been mobile-optimized and that it’s easy to navigate. Those things alone are going to do wonders for you. But there are still things you can do to truly take advantage of your “online storefront” – ensuring that as many people as possible are visiting it, and then, once they do, that they want to stay, have a look around, and above all, book a consultation or appointment.
The most important thing in getting people to visit your site is search engine optimization (SEO) of your web copy, so that it is one of the first results to come up in a search for plastic surgery in your area. Essentially, SEO is the process of identifying key terms and phrases that are likely to be entered into a search for your practice and services, then incorporating these “keywords” into your web copy. This generates what is called an “organic” result, and when done well, ensures that your site appears toward the top.
A good website copy writer can take care of this for you, so keep that in mind when you’re looking through applicants. And if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, there are plenty of informative articles online to help you learn the basics.
Another really important thing is how fast your website loads. If it takes more than a few seconds, people are likely to hit the “back” button and look for other plastic surgery websites, missing out on the better services that you offer.
- Paid Online Advertising
There are a ton of different online advertising options available to you, but two of the most valuable and easy to set up are Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Google AdWords is a great way to get your plastic surgery practice’s website out there. With these ads, you can pay to have your site appear above the “organic” results whenever a relevant keyword is included in a search. This is ideal, as anyone who is typing “plastic surgery” into a search engine is more likely to be looking for those services, and your practice’s name will be at the top of the list!
With Facebook Ads, you can set up a series of paid, targeted ads that will appear in the newsfeeds of prospective patients. With the Custom Audience option, you can run targeted campaigns to very specific audiences; for example, to website visitors who viewed a product page but didn’t make a purchase, or, to all those who visited your site in the last month. Thanks to the demographic options that Facebook provides, you can very precisely target your ideal market. Another advantage Facebook offers you are detailed metrics of how your ads performed. This can teach you what kind of ads work and the demographic makeup of the people engaging with them.
- Email Marketing
Email is a fantastic marketing tool that can show a huge return-on-investment. It’s fantastic for generating leads and is one of the best ways to keep in contact with your old patients. A well-developed and maintained email list is one of the most potent marketing tools you have.
There are a number of different email marketing methods that you can use. You could publish a monthly e-zine/newsletter, where you keep your patients informed about any news or developments at your practice, as well as share new content like digital videos or blogs. You could do an email campaign, where you inform your email list about a special promotion or sale on that month.
Just like with your website, you need to make sure that every email you sent out is mobile-optimized so it will format properly to fit on smartphones and other devices.
- Offline Advertising
Although the majority of effective marketing methods have moved into the online sphere, don’t discount offline advertising.
If you are targeting less tech-savvy individuals or those in older demographics, then offline marketing is essential to connect you with your patients. Print ads can be more expensive, but they can be great at raising your practice’s profile. Radio can be another great avenue to explore, as many people just have it playing in the background while they drive or work.
Unless you have marketing money to burn, try to avoid more expensive methods of advertising like television. Unless, of course, you are asked to appear on local news or morning shows. That kind of exposure is marketing gold, and not just because it is free!
- Promotional Specials
Let’s face it, plastic surgery can be expensive for the average person. Unless you are almost exclusively targeting upper class patients, you need to bring in people of all economic means. Having an occasional sale or special on procedures can really bring people in who otherwise will never try plastic surgery because of the cost.
It’s smart to use popular and well-known cosmetic procedures for your specials, like Botox or dermal fillers. So many people know about Botox, and many of them might be curious but the price drives them away. If they see a special on Botox, they might come into your practice to try it out. And just think, if they turn out to love it, you might have a repeat patient for life!
- Branded Goods
Everyone loves free stuff! If you have branded collateral (such as pens, stationery, fridge magnets, mini calendars, etc.), this is an excellent way to put your practice and your website front-and-center, to both current and prospective patients. Of course you should always have a few available at your front desk, but they’re also great things to include in New Patient Welcome Kits and direct mail campaigns, and to offer at an Open House or Seminar Evening (watch for the next issue of ISAPS News for more information on these). These items cost very little, and can bring a generous return-on-investment, as they actually get used, lent, shared… and not just thrown away.
- Website Copy and Blogging
Well-written web copy is a must. It should be informative, with everything a prospective patient wants to know about your practice (from your bio to the services you offer, to the fact that you are a member of ISAPS), and it should be easy to read. Too much medical “jargon” can be off-putting.
A great plastic surgery blog on your website can draw visitors to your website, and keep drawing them back again and again. This is the perfect venue to share useful information about cosmetic procedures, and position you as an expert in your field. If you produce a number of blogs over time, you will also have a library of content that you can share on social media, keeping those accounts alive and active. They’re also great use in your email campaigns, by including the introduction paragraph in an email, and adding a link to “read more here” (directing the reader to your website).
There can be a downside to blogs, however. There are few things sadder than a website with a blog that hasn’t been updated since 2014. This kind of digital neglect can demonstrate a lack of interest to prospective patients visiting your website, so you need to make sure that you post new content at least once a month. If you can’t find time to write it, there are a number of different services out there with professional copywriters who would be more than happy to write your blog for you. All you need to do is check it over to make sure everything is accurate before posting, and away you go!
- Reviews and Testimonials
The absolute best marketing is word-of-mouth, and you can help that along by asking your patients for testimonials and reviews about your practice. People are simply more likely to trust an outside voice singing your praises. Positive testimonials from real people can greatly enhance your credibility as a surgeon.
You should absolutely have a testimonial section on your website, constantly updated with the newest feedback you get about your practice. Before posting these testimonials and reviews, however, make sure that you check them over for proper grammar and spelling. Even if someone else wrote them, it would still reflect badly on you if poorly written copy was posted on your website.
You should also pay attention to external reviews of your plastic surgery practice on websites like Facebook, Google, Yelp and RealSelf. If someone posts a negative review of your practice, respond to them publicly to ask how you can do better. When someone posts a positive review that catches your attention, maybe thank them! Don’t worry about responding to every post, just check in every now and then and respond to the ones that catch your attention. That said, if you see a negative review, respond as quickly as possible.
A successful plastic surgery practice should utilize every method available to reach as many potential patients as possible, beginning with a fantastic website. Even if you are working with a limited budget, digital marketing methods like social media and email campaigns can be incredibly cost-effective ways of getting your website and practice out there. Be sure to include that you are an ISAPS Plastic Surgeon in all of your marketing efforts, as that can boost your credibility and put you a step above many of your competitors in your market!
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