In the business of aesthetics, marketing is an essential component of every budget but it is also an expense that must be managed wisely. Many practices focus on creating marketing efforts that try to capture new prospective patients. Unfortunately, they also create marketing efforts in many different forms but do not know what is creating success and what is producing a return on their marketing investment. Like any other expenditure in business, you must have a system in place to assess the success of your efforts and determine if they should be continued or money could be spent in better ways.
#1: Practices spend money on marketing that simply doesn’t work.
There are so many different ways to be able to market a practice, whether it is through print advertising, newspaper and TV ads, or social media and the Internet. Most practices spend money in all of these areas but not every advertising medium works well. In my experience, magazine ads are always a questionable area to commit dollars due to sometimes marginal, if not minimal return and creation of prospective patients. It’s important when considering where to put ads that you understand the following questions: Who is receiving the ad? Does it match with your target audience? How many people are going to be seeing your ad? At what point in time during the buying process is your prospective patient viewing the ad? Does the target market that the advertisement is reaching match the individual that you are trying to attract?
If you were sending out information about a tummy tuck, a promotion featuring one, or information about the procedure or technique, you most likely would not be sending that information to a group of 18 to 25 year-old patients. In the current age of digital marketing, there are ways to strategically target the specific individuals that you want to reach based on the content that you advertise. It is important to ensure that when you consider different marketing sources, focus on marketing that creates an impact on a patient that you are trying to target. Make sure your dollars are spent in a medium that will produce a return on your investment.
#2: Many practices have marketing in several different areas: all over the Internet, print ads, magazine ads, and many other ad sources.
Unfortunately, many practices also do not have an effective system in place to track the return from those marketing sources. It is important to ensure that when you are spending money on marketing that you have an idea of what it will bring back to you. After all, what is the goal of marketing? There is only one goal, to generate prospective patient phone calls and digital leads.
Make sure that when you implement a system of tracking, it is not just a system to track the number of new patients in your practice; you need to track the number of calls received from the ad source, the type of calls generated, and the conversion rate of phone calls. These factors together will allow you to determine if marketing efforts are successful. If you have an ad that generates 100 calls but only ten of those calls actually become patients, then you are missing the opportunity that is created by that marketing source. One the other hand if you have have a marketing piece that produces 100 calls and 95 of those calls are from vendors and sales people then that ad source I not producing the kind of leads that you want. It is important to ensure that you have a system that can track from the ad to the procedure and every step in between as key performance indicators as well as the quality of the leads being generated.
#3: Practices have effective, successful marketing but their staff cannot convert phone calls into consultations.
The primary purpose of our marketing efforts is to generate phone calls and email leads. Having a staff that is ineffective at capturing prospective patient opportunities and converting them into a consultations costs you money. It costs you money because each missed opportunity increases a practices cost per consultation and cost per new patient procedure. For example, if you pay $1,000 on a magazine ad that generates ten prospect phone calls and the staff converts all of them to consultations then each of those consultations cost the practice $100. If the front office staff converts only 50% of those phone calls into consultations, it double the cost per consultation to $200. How confident are you in your team’s ability to convert phone calls into consultations? By focusing on training staff to ensure every opportunity is captured, you effectively decrease the cost per consultation and increase the return on investment for every marketing effort. It is crucially important that your staff have a strategy in place to help convert phone calls into consultations.
#4: The staff does not care about converting phone calls.
Your front office staff is overburdened with many different tasks. They are forced to be on the phone, check a patient in, check another patient out, all while being on hold with an insurance company to gain a preauthorization. When they are also responsible for the difficult task of converting prospective patients into consultations, they often do not provide the attention necessary in order to ensure the highest level of success. Practices must implement an incentive program for front office staff members to ensure that they are capturing every opportunity possible. A system of call tracking and recording helps to identify captured opportunities or scheduled appointments and potentially lost prospects. By giving your staff an incentive to capture every opportunity, you will see an improvement in prospect conversion and return on investment for your marketing efforts. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be a big cash bonus. It can be a Starbucks card and your staff will appreciate the extra recognition not just the bonus.
#5: Practices waste money by not giving patients what they want.
The most important aspect of a successful practice is to ensure patient satisfaction in every encounter and leave a lasting impression on patients to build a referral source that generates a self-sustaining new patient flow. Your patient experience determines a patient’s satisfaction and patient satisfaction is not limited to interactions with the provider or their outcome. In reality, the patient experience is the sum of every single interaction that your patients have with your advertising, the environment in which they are treated, your office staff, the providers themselves, as well as the manner in which they are cared for following treatment. By creating a patient-focused business model, you are able to help ensure that your patients are satisfied, their needs are met, and that they tell their friends about their experience.
When you spend marketing dollars, you need to ensure those dollars are spent wisely. By reviewing and implementing systems to track and report from the success of your marketing efforts, you are producing key practice performance indicators that allow you to make greater informed decisions and enhance the value of your marketing dollars. Targeted campaigns coupled with educated decisions about marketing expenditures when supported by a trained, knowledgeable administrative staff will ensure a higher level of success for your marketing efforts.