eRelevance Study Examines Patient Engagement Strategies for Growth

eRelevance Corporation announces the release of Patient Engagement for Growth: Aesthetic Practice Marketing Perspectives and Priorities.

The report—based on survey responses from nearly 150 US aesthetic practices—examines the challenges and solutions related to patient engagement, and how practices can drive cash-based consumer demand while lowering advertising costs and improving marketing lead conversions.

“While quality patient care is always the necessary foundation of a successful aesthetic practice, long-term practice growth requires an understanding of sophisticated patient engagement,” says eRelevance Co-founder and CEO Bob Fabbio, in a media release.

“Nearly all survey respondents indicated that providing great patient care was very important, but this study asks the question: How are today’s aesthetic healthcare practices maintaining the highest levels of patient care while meeting business growth goals? For aesthetic practices, sophisticated patient engagement translates into sophisticated marketing,” he adds.

While several notable themes emerged from the data, two key takeaways include:

Most aesthetic practices lack the time, expertise, and tools for the sophisticated marketing necessary to meet their goals for growth.

  • 68% of respondents said they either don’t have enough marketing expertise or don’t have marketing expertise. Yet, only 18% said they outsource their marketing to experts.
  • 80% of practice staff surveyed said lack of time and marketing expertise were their biggest challenges.

Stopping revenue losses from unconverted marketing leads is important to practices, but the staff responsible for following up on these leads feels ill-equipped to do so effectively.

  • When asked if their staffs are challenged to effectively follow up on the marketing responses, 43% of aesthetic practice key decision-makers surveyed said they don’t know. Yet, data show that practices make, on average, only .8 attempts to follow up on marketing requests—less than once per lead.
  • Only 8% of respondents said the tools they currently use to track follow-up are very effective.

“There’s a lot of good news in this report. Aesthetic practices are leveraging social media and finding avenues of outreach to engage patients more than ever before. The challenge is to find the solutions that will help practices meaningfully follow up on leads in order to engage and convert potential and one-time patients to life-long clients,” says Modern Aesthetics Editorial Director Paul Winnington.

To download the full report and view more comprehensive study results, visit eRelevance Corporation.

[Source: eRelevance]

Marketing on a Budget: Making Sure Every Dollar Pays Dividends

By Claudio Gormaz

Let’s face it; promotional efforts can be costly. Unless you have an endless supply of money, your advertising budget is a reality. However, that doesn’t mean your publicity can’t excel.

In fact, this article is written specifically with your success in mind, and fishing in the richest pools without breaking the bank.

The name of the game is TARGETING.

Here’s an exciting fact often illustrated in many business schools and direct response advertising studies: Traditionally, most advertising display ads are written for the wants and needs of the brand new prospects by appealing to everybody—to cut the broadest swath. Unfortunately, this segment only represents about 5% of your desired market.

We worked with a client whose medical focus targets those patients that are between 35 and 50 years old; he finds that both sexes wish to maintain their youthful psyche and appearance. As such, he has streamlined his practice to perform a great many liposuctions, mommy makeoversm and “CoolSculpting” to regain their pre-baby bodies; and for his male patients, he specializes in gynecomastia and hair restoration. Unmistakably, he has a highly targeted audience. Therefore, he can’t afford to have his promotional message (and budget) diluted by people who don’t fit his criteria.

The most rewarding solution this doctor can exercise is to implement the one strategy that yields the highest return on investment. In fact, the most profitable resources for new business is found in the people who already use your services. Those patients who believe in, trust, and continually use and refer you which account for the most significant source of annual receipts. Many major advertising studies indicate that this pool accounts for nearly 95% of all services sold annually.

Plus, these same marketing studies verify: it costs five to seven times more to acquire a new patient than to retain a current one. Invespcro.com points out that the probability of providing additional services for an existing patient is 60% to 70%, while the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%. Finally, existing patients are 50% more likely to try new services and spend 31% more, when compared to new patients.

Consider a report published by the Harvard Business School by Amy Gallo. She cites research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company. He demonstrates that increasing customer retention (in your case, patient retention) rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

There’s still one critical value that we haven’t yet discussed but demonstrates a dramatic effect on your clinics’ long-term bottom line: the lifetime value of each patient. The lifetime value is a calculation that takes into account the amount you receive every time a patient visits you for treatment, multiplied by the number of visits per year, multiplied by the number of years you expect to see them.

To not get bogged down by specific dollar amounts, I will clarify the point using a $100 matrix. So, if your patient represents $100 per month (A), you would then multiply that by the number of months (for this example, let’s say 12 times = B). Now multiply that number by the anticipated number of years (C). Therefore: A x B = $1200. $1200 x C = $6000 for your clinic (per patient).

Your next thoughts may be, “What am I going to say to my patients?” and “How am I going to approach them?”

Since patient attraction is EVERYTHING in business, you’re going to learn how to transform your clinic into a patient magnet via improved, persuasive, and compelling messaging (aka content).

“Why” you may ask? Because current and prospective patients will review your website, your blogs, and articles, and they will view the videos you provide, etc.. It is your primary responsibility to ensure that your information is memorable, persuasive, and compelling.

You must convince them that you are the superior option.

The information you provide (again, known as Content Marketing) drives your promotional platform. So, AVOID using the “laundry list” method employed by too many doctors on far too many websites, whereby they produce a catalog of services they provide, delivered from the doctor’s perspective. Fact, multiple psychological studies show that most people don’t remember lists and bullet points.

My goal is not to be politically correct; my objective is to help you maximize your results!

Too many doctors have beautiful websites that say nothing and don’t distinguish them from anyone else. If you sincerely wish to escalate your outcomes and efficiency, your message MUST be written from the standpoint of your patients’ needs and wants.

According to the Content Marketing Institute: Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent messaging to attract and acquire a defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Like all targeted communication, the only job that content marketing has is to create behaviors among target audiences that benefit your practice; simultaneously, your focus should be to deliver a profound message that solves your patients’ needs.

Think of your content marketing as a well-told story. You want to inspire the reader’s attention, imagination, and recall; that is how you will be remembered and sought out.

Ideally, you want your readers standing and applauding instead of yawning and ignoring you.

This next component is the delivery of your message.

A targeted promotional piece grabs someone’s attention immediately and doesn’t let go.

This means that you need to create robust and persuasive headlines in every one of your promotional pieces.

A good headline can attract attention. A great headline can turn a prospective patient into an immediate sale and a long-term relationship.

In any given ad, for any given industry, you will notice that up to 95% of all ads have no headline. Mounds of marketing surveys point out this significant statistic: 80% of all the readers only read headlines. A properly designed headline is the main ingredient in your communication; it’s so persuasive, it can increase your ad’s power by as much as 2000%.

According to advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins, “The identical ad run with various headlines differs tremendously in its returns. It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns from five or ten times over. “

After you create your headline, develop your sub-headline (which appears directly under the headline); it gives more insight into your message and services. The subhead also further outlines why the patient should care enough to keep reading.

Approach the creation of your headline (actually, all your content) in this manner: “Your patients have a problem they don’t want; but, there is a solution they want but don’t have.”

All your content needs to solve these two needs: You must deliver a message so compelling and persuasive that it practically forces your current and future patients to pick up the phone and call you now.

Your headline needs to Interpret your patient’s needs, your sub-headline needs to Engage to lead toward a result they seek. Moreover, the content you provide needs to Educate readers on the benefits of your services and Offer a solution that’s readily at hand.

Your headline must interpret – which means that your headline acknowledges the problem your patients have that they don’t want. For example, “Are you sick and tired of the bags under your eyes?”

Your sub-headline engages your patient with the results they seek; it must address the outcome they want but don’t have. For example: “Learn proven techniques to recover your vigorous appearance!”

Conclusion: If you want fruitful marketing, you must understand your patients’ needs.

Next, you need to convert the complex into a relatable and memorable narrative; create engaging, relevant, and compelling messages. Deliver greater benefit to your current patients; tell your story from the patient’s perspective; and, employee solid headlines in every marketing piece.

Claudio Gormaz, along with business partner Steve Cox, are medical marketing strategists. They have worked with the medical community for over 2 decades. Many prominent practices in the country have benefited from their promotional strategies, developed fruitful and predictable advertising messages, as well as creating solid branding platforms while elevating their resident expert status. They are also highly accomplished business storytellers converting the complex into memorable narratives. They can be contacted via 530-492-9971, StevenVonLoren Marketing Strategists, or their personal emails: gormazca@nullgmail.com and stevenvonloren@nullgmail.com.

Ethically Using a Personal “Brand” in Plastic Surgery Advertisements

Plastic surgeons often rely on their “brands” as a primary form of advertisement, sharing particular procedures they have specialized in or treatments they have pioneered on their social media pages.

Although on the surface this seems like a harmless marketing technique, there are several ethical considerations that surround using a personal “brand” to advertise to prospective patients.

A study published in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics examined this issue.

The Loyalty Program Revolution: Gaming Your Practice

by Clark Cave

Loyalty is everywhere. Just this morning I left my hotel, bought a cup of coffee, purchased a wedding gift on an online registry, and filled my car with gas. Perhaps this comes as no surprise, but all four companies had some version of a loyalty program. Although the economic advantage of customer retention has always been understood, the use of loyalty programs to meet this end is changing paradigms. Who would have ever thought you would be rewarded for pumping gas? As a result, loyalty programs are gaining more and more traction in unassuming industries because they work. The cosmetic surgery industry can take a page out of their book.

In this article we will discuss the philosophy of successful loyalty programs and cite some examples of highly effective applications. You will also learn the benefits of loyalty programs and strategies you can take back to your practice.

The Basics Of Loyalty

The underlying allure of any loyalty program is the customer’s belief that they are receiving an advantage beyond what’s available to everyone else. For this reason, a “200 points for $300 off SmartLipo” offer promotes exclusivity beyond a blanket “$300 off SmartLipo.” Additionally, customers—especially Millennials—like to know that the company they are patronizing has some proverbial skin in the game. It goes without saying that cosmetic surgery patients know they spend a lot of money on your services. They also know that have a lot of options. Therefore, the practice that rewards patients comparable to their revenue contributions will be more competitive. Creating a practice points system is a great way to check this box.

Loyalty Means Thinking Ahead

When a patient walks through your door, it’s time to start considering their next visit or visits. Assuming that the individuals sitting in your office are going to make a purchase, this is the perfect opportunity to market other services in your catalogue. One way to accomplish this is by turning your practice lobby into a commercial. If done successfully, the patient should have a good idea of what they want next as they go to pay. Directly after payment, the patient should receive an incentive to return.

As discussed, points act as a great incentive, but offering targeted discounts to encourage patients to book quickly is also a potential strategy. Vistaprint, an online printing service, has a clever approach to this. Right after checkout, customers are given a deep discount that expires within 72 hours. This instills a fear of missing out (FOMO), which is an effective motivator when making purchasing decisions.

Gamification

Adding competition to mundane activities makes them more engaging. If you don’t believe me, look no further than your Waze navigation app. You literally earn points for driving your car. So it goes without saying that adding gamification to commerce can evolve into an auxiliary business model. Sephora, a French chain of cosmetics stores, has mastered this tactic. At Sephora, every time a customer purchases an item, they receive points. Those points can be used on future discounts or collected and applied toward a rotating inventory of makeup options. This type of loyalty program transforms the transactional market design into an arcade-like model. Anecdotally speaking, some patrons end up buying products just to collect points. Although this may be tough to explain to aliens, most of us can agree that the dopamine shot that comes with earning and spending points is very attractive.

Rewards for Tasks

Since rewards have to be spent on future services or products, they motivate customers to buy more. Therefore, giving patients rewards for completing tasks is a two birds, one stone strategy. For example, rewards can be given for submitting reviews, filling out paperwork, and giving a testimonial. However, the single most impactful thing you can do for your revenue stream is reward patients for referring friends. Airbnb and Uber provide rewards to the referrer and referred if the referred converts into a customer. Providing patients rewards to refer friends can lead to a massive influx of referred patients. The additional advantage here is that referred patients tend to be more loyal than non-referred. Ultimately, giving patients an opportunity to earn rewards for tasks is a great way to increase engagement.

Reward Your Loyalty VIPs

The real VIPs for your practice are those who bring you the most revenue. There are assorted membership programs in the cosmetic surgery field that require patients to pay up front for membership labels (silver, gold, platinum) in order to receive discounts on services. Although these programs may help satisfy certain retention goals, they only target a minority of patients and inspire no gamification. Instead, giving patients loyalty labels for generating revenue for your practice is a powerful gamification strategy. As mentioned above, rewarding those who refer is a great way to gamify that behavior. That is, if your silver, gold, and diamond labels are based off of the total revenue a patient earns for your practice via repeat or referral business, you have now made loyalty a competition.

Conclusion

Love them or hate them, Loyalty is here to stay. Loyalty programs give participating customers perceived advantages over everyone else. They also encourage companies to focus greater attention on the customers that bring in the most revenue. As an additional perk, effective loyalty programs empower customers to become brand evangelists and open revenue channels never explored. All that said, there is a great opportunity for cosmetic surgery practices to follow the lead of modern marketing. In addition, there are also some great tools available to cosmetic surgery practices that can help make starting a loyalty program seamless. Your patients will appreciate love you for it.

Clark Cave is the founder of Lemod, a digital loyalty platform for cosmetic surgery practices. He is an industry expert on loyalty marketing and a primary contributor in the field of cosmetic surgery. He is a former US Army Major, Afghanistan veteran, and is best known for his work in expanding Telemedicine within the DOD.

Aesthetic Meeting Educational Course Spotlights Personal Marketing

By Stefani Kim

“If you build your offline reputation, your online relationship will come,” says Dr Lorne K. Rosenfield, a San-Francisco-based plastic surgeon, during his educational course “Secrets to an Aesthetic Practice,” at the 2018 Aesthetic Meeting in New York City.

According to Rosenfield, the most effective way to market yourself as a plastic surgeon is to develop a standard of excellence by writing, publishing, and presenting your research, allowing you to “move up the ranks organically,” with safety and technique becoming your “brand.” He advises aesthetic surgeons to disclose the complications they encounter utilizing their own technique as compared to other surgeons. As a young doctor, Rosenfield explains, he was on call at 12 emergency departments, where he became known as “the guy in town” that took care of children’s lacerations. Eventually, he was referred to the children’s parents for their procedures.

He went on to say that, as a surgeon, he is incredibly attentive to detail, screening patients with a comprehensive checklist in advance of their procedures. He also recommends that plastic surgeons develop a rapport with patients that involves finding out details of their individual backstory, like a medical history and their family dynamics.

“Reading patients is one of the best investments,” he states.

Preoperatively and postoperatively, it’s essential to treat patients like “Fabergé eggs,” while being mindful and understanding of their anxieties, he notes. Examples of this, he adds, are low lighting in the exam rooms, warm blankets, and music, among other things. Additionally, Rosenfield says he provides extras to his patients like follow-up house calls in the days after surgery, private suites, a postop RN, and phone calls to assure his patients are doing well. He says he even carries a traditional “doctor’s bag” as a further badge of authenticity.

Ultimately, though, a surgeon must be fully committed to a patient’s well-being and long-term health.

“It’s not a business, it’s your bloodline,” he concludes.

Stefani Kim is a contributing writer to Plastic Surgery Practice.

Is Your Retirement Plan Strategy Due for An Annual Checkup?

By Tom Zgainer

Regular maintenance regarding our health, be it a twice a year teeth cleaning or an annual physical, allows the experts to determine if we are as fit as we think we are, or see if there might be some issues under the hood that need attention. Likewise, each April, we are reminded of whether our tax planning is sufficient or perhaps needs a tune-up. Similarly, your retirement plan strategy is worth reviewing with a pension plan expert as well.

Often the original plan and strategy you implemented get away from your intended individual and corporate goals. Your employee populace may experience turnover, the actual age demographics of your staff may take on a different makeup, and by the way, you are now a year closer to retirement. You can find these changes limit your personal contributions due to required employer contributions or, more positively, open up new opportunities to design a plan that accelerates your personal contributions.

Retirement plans — whether a 401(k), profit-sharing plan, a defined benefit, or a cash balance plan — all require some give-and-take. For owners, principals, key associates, or partners to take advantage of the opportunity to maximize annual contributions, you’ll need to give a proportional amount that passes all the required compliance tests to eligible employees.

These employer contributions at first might not be palatable to you and your bottom line. However, utilizing a long vesting schedule — for example up to 6 years — can help ensure an employee needs to stay and contribute to your practice that long to earn any 1 year’s contribution. Plus, you receive the tax deduction benefit of the full amount of employer contributions in the tax year of the contribution, up to 25% of gross payroll.

A great reason to go through an annual plan design checkup is to see if there is a better plan type option for you. As you get closer to retirement, generally over age 45, plan types, such as a new comparability profit-sharing plan, a cash balance or defined benefit plan, can be paired with a 401(k) to rapidly accelerate your personal contribution objectives.

For 2018, you can defer $18,500 into a 401(k) plan, with a $6,000 catch-up provision if over age 50. That’s generally the best first thing to try and accomplish. If your plan demographics are suitable, meaning staff is younger than the owners, principals, or partners (HCEs), and you are over age 45, a new comparability profit-sharing plan can provide a maximum benefit for a select employee group, while providing the lowest possible contribution to non-key groups allowed by law. This plan design can help you add to your deferrals and get up to the $55,000/$60,000 maximum annual limits from combined employee and employer contributions.

To really accelerate your contributions, consider looking into adding a cash balance or defined benefit plan to the 401(k). Maximum contributions for these plans range from $110,000 at age 45 to over $260,000 at age 62. When added to the 401(k)/profit-sharing contributions, it’s like squeezing 20 years of retirement saving into 10, not to mention the significant reduction to your tax liability that you will enjoy.

Just as you might make an appointment with your physician or CPA, this is a great time of year to get a retirement plan checkup as well. It’s easy and painless, as a census with your current firm demographics will enable a experienced pension specialist or actuary help determine if there is a better way to proceed into the years ahead for your retirement planning.

Tom Zgainer is CEO of America’s Best 401(k).