Digital marketing professional Richard Gibbons outlines five steps to ensuring your adverts cut through the noise online
When it comes to the word ‘offers’, most clinics shriek and immediately worry it will be cheapening their brand. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word ‘offer’ as ‘to ask someone if they would like to have something or if they would like you to do something’.1 Not as scary as it sounds, right?
On social media, you’re up against big companies who have spent millions on creating the perfect advertisement. Think of these brands as ‘genetically modified’ opponents who are bred specifically for online ads. If you’re going into the social media ads arena without a clear strategy in place, your ad budgets are going to be wasted. You need to think ahead!
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. After running adverts online for more than 75 clinics, we’ve found a bulletproof five-step formula that will ensure your ads don’t get swallowed up online. Plus, it doesn’t require you to hugely discount your services... let’s dive in!
Step 1: Decide on the treatment you want to advertise
Firstly, you need to decide on the specific treatment that you want to advertise. Now I know this is extremely obvious, but we need to step back and look at it from an outside perspective. As clinic owners, you’ll have lots of popular treatments that your patients love. A mistake I see often is that clinics try to launch an advert showing all the treatments that they offer. However, the audience you’re showing your adverts to don’t yet know, like, or trust you! We don’t want to shove every treatment that you offer down their throat as it won’t be specific to their needs and could lead to an information overload.
A good way to find out the best treatment to advertise is to find one that hits most of the criteria:
Has great results in a short space of time with little downtime
Gets patients back for regular appointments (course of treatments, follow-ups)
Quick treatment time/high profit (we don’t want to offer a long treatment with thin margins)
Allows patients to ‘test’ treatment or have a free consultation for the treatment
If you can think of a treatment that matches these, you’ve got yourself a winner.
Of course, there are so many different treatments available, from devices to topical skin treatments, and remember we can’t advertise prescriptive-only medicine (POMs) to the public as it is against the law.2
Step 2: Map out the value ladder!
As we’re showing adverts to new potential patients, we don’t want to be pushy or too salesy as it’ll just scare them off. Your end goal may be to sell your high-end packages which best solve your patients’ needs, however, you need to ease them in. Telling them it’ll cost £2,500 and a six-month commitment to hit their goals will terrify most people if this is the first thing they see on your advertisement with zero trust built.
My clients often say the most common objections when patients are concerned about price are:
What if I don’t like the practitioner/therapist
I’m not sure if I’m suitable for this treatment
I’ve heard it’s painful
The best way to overcome these objections is to think of the easiest way to get them inside your clinic to meet the team and build trust. Typically, this is pushing the initial consultation, or it could be giving them an introductory offer/treatment that can hook them in so they can experience the treatment for themselves.
It’s time to map out your value ladder (Figure 1). The value ladder shows that the higher the value, the more you can charge for your services.
The hardest part for any clinic running ads online is getting people through their doors. The value ladder will guide you on the easiest way to do this. The ladder helps you to meet new patients, discover where they are in their journey and build trust slowly without being pushy.
Start at the bottom of the ladder and input the beginning part of a new patient’s journey. This will be something that is low in price and doesn’t take up too much time for you/provide too much value, such as a consultation or skin assessment using an imaging device. We want it to be an easy way for the potential patients to experience your service and build trust. Once you give them an incredible experience, you can slowly move them up the value ladder to your more expensive treatments/packages. This will enable you to upsell them your higher end packages.
Figure 1 highlights a way to do this by using laser hair removal as an example. The goal is to sell a course of six to eight sessions of laser. However, if you go to push this straight away to a cold audience online, you might be met with some resistance. People will have objections and questions that they want answered before they commit to eight sessions.
Step 3: Map out what you do for your patients during this treatment
As clinic owners, you can be very influential when patients walk through your doors. The best way to show value to your patients is to map out everything your patient can get specifically from you when they visit. These are ways that show your expertise and bits your competitors can’t copy! We need to show the value, not just price.
For example, when someone comes in for a skin consultation they get:
45-minute consultation with skin therapist/practitioner
Complimentary skin analysis
Custom roadmap to hit their skin goals
Free skincare tips PDF
Complimentary follow-up skin consults via phone call
Exclusive offers in-clinic
Again, this is just an example and it’ll need to be tailored to your specific clinic and treatment offering. We need to show new patients how much value you provide and why they should visit you… not just a ‘complimentary consultation’. Even if it’s just the same as you always offer, the goal is to break it down so patients can clearly see what they’re getting.
Step 4: Value stack each item
Now that you’ve mapped out each aspect of your service (consult, treatment), it’s time to value stack each item! Go through each aspect and add a price amount to each service. You could say your skin analysis is worth £30, your skincare PDF is worth £9 for example. Add a price to each element (make it accurate and true!), and total that figure. It could be that it’s all together worth £99. So really, instead of them just thinking it’s a typical free consultation, it’s actually worth £99… thus increasing the perceived value of your services!
The best way to show value to your patients is to map out everything your patient can get specifically from you when they visit
Step 5: Abide by advertising codes on time-limited offers
Once you’ve done all the above steps, you’re almost there! It’s now time to tie it all together to ensure your ads cut through the noise online. As we’re showing this offer to potential new patients, we need to get them to stop in their tracks online. Research shows that we only have 1.7 seconds to capture their attention on Facebook.3 The best way to do this is to ensure the advert calls out their wants, needs, goals and fears! If they just read what’s included in their first visit with you but don’t understand how it solves their issue, they’ll scroll past.
Remember to abide by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines on advertising, particularly regarding time-limited offers as if you are advertising a sales promotion, then you need to tread carefully.4
Within the first three sentences, you need to address exactly what this treatment solves. For example, ‘laser hair removal will help patients save hours of shaving, remove ingrown hairs and stop accidental razor cuts’. Make it simple to understand and talk about the benefits of the treatment, rather than just the treatment.
For structuring the advert, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. Typically, our best performing ads are around three to four short paragraphs. We want to cut straight into the benefits as discussed above. Make it more about what you can do for them, rather than just speaking all about you and the clinic. Having pictures of the treatment being done with smiling staff tends to get the most interaction (don’t use stock images!).
Try it yourself!
Creating an offer that cuts through the noise online can be really confusing and frustrating for clinics. However, as you’ve seen in this article, if you follow these five steps, you’ll ensure that your campaigns have the best chance of succeeding and gaining more potential patients for your clinic.
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