Whenever you add a new product or service to your practice, getting the word out to your patients first is crucial. Integrating new technology into your practice or reviving an existing technology requires formulating a plan and a time line.
It is quite common to walk into an aesthetic practice only to learn from the physician that he or she is an avid proponent, for example, of fractional laser resurfacing technology. My standard response in this case is, “That’s great, but if I was a patient how would I know that?” This question is often met with the kind of confused look and tilted head your dog might give you.
If your patients do not know that you offer these procedures, they will either overlook them or get them from someone else. The practitioner, in essence, is making his job harder by not planting the seeds that will encourage patients to ask about the procedures offered.
The first place to start is with your Web site. Every branded device you offer should be represented on your Web site with an in-depth explanation of what they are and what they do. Include useful materials such as articles, patient testimonials, and photographs, which go much further to persuade prospective patients. Avoid lifting physician-centric content from a manufacturer’s Web site. Stay away from using terminology that is not consumer friendly, as it will get lost in translation and prospective patients will not understand what you are trying to convey.
If you are not in a financial position to reinvest in the hottest new expensive system at this time, consider bringing new life to something you already have in-house that you have not promoted effectively in the past.
GENERATING BUZZ FOR YOUR DEVICES
- Post articles on consumer Web sites and via inexpensive news services. These articles should address your special expertise with a particular technology for a unique application—for example, rejuvenation of the hands, chest, and neck; or a combination of laser plus filler or antiaging topicals.
- Place signage about this new technology around your facility, in patient areas where they will see it.
- Display procedural brochures in your waiting room and treatment rooms.
- Have your staff wear buttons that read, “Ask me about fractional laser treatments,” or some such.
- Design a promotion around the device, which could include a call to action that is time sensitive. Alternatively, you could promote a special offer—for instance, a 20% savings on a series of fractional antiaging laser treatments booked at the event. Send this to your patient database as an e-mail blast and include a “send to a friend” feature. Also, post it on your Web site and write about it in your blog.
- Post the promotion and related information and promotions on your Facebook page.
- Send out a tweet using Twitter, including links to your Web site, Facebook page, blog, et al.
- Plan an open house event around a theme—in this example, the theme could be “Learn how fractional antiaging laser treatments work to even skin pigmentation, improve texture and tone, and reduce visible signs of aging.”
- Take photos (get signed permissions) and post them your Facebook page, your Web site, and on Flickr; and post tweets with links to the photos.
- Make a video version of the slide presentation given at your event, and post it on your YouTube channel.
See also “Seven Steps to Economic Survival” by Angela O’Mara in the February 2009 issue of PSP.
Prospective patients cannot be expected to imagine what your laser system can do for their skin. They need visuals to compel them to schedule a series of treatments.
Have before-and-after photographs handy in order to demonstrate what your new or resuscitated technology can do for the face, neck, chest, hands, etc. If you do not yet have compelling photographs of your own, most of the reputable marketing-driven device manufacturers have practice-enhancement materials on hand that can be implemented at your practice.
Physicians who gripe that no one asks for the laser-based devices they have in-house should first evaluate what they have done to get the word out. If you fail to do this effectively, your $100,000 piece of high-tech equipment will be in danger of becoming an expensive coat hanger.
Wendy Lewis is president of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd global aesthetics consultancy, author of 10 books, and a regular contributor to PSP. You can reach her at and on Twitter at COSMETICMED.