Charlotte Moreso explores the benefits of seasonal marketing and shares practical tips on how to entice patients into your clinic during the summer months
Summer provides a huge opportunity to enhance your aesthetic practice, but your marketing must be planned well in advance. Miss the season by a week or two and your competitor might just snatch up your potential business. Methods of marketing are boundless, and it’s often a minefield to decipher which of these might work best for your business and within your budget. This guide aims to help you decide which avenues might be best for enticing new patients to your clinic, whilst capturing the attention of your current patient base and extending their treatment preferences. Above all, though, your communication methods must be creative. Patients respond best to interesting tag lines, innovative treatments and eye-catching imagery as much as if they were exploring the latest fashion.
Timing: Forward planning is critical in order to capture business. Reach patients with your messaging and offers in the spring, when they are starting to think about ‘bikini-body’ season, then consistently target them with updated information and messaging.
The Science: You may respond to the intricacies of the latest aesthetic technology, but the average patient will not. They will want to know how it works, how long until they see results, whether it will it hurt,
and prices – so don’t blind them with science. Think of those beauty adverts that proclaim, ‘The Science Bit’ at the end of the advert and aim for the same level of information when marketing to your patients.
The First Steps: Before you do anything, look at your treatments and list what aspects of the body patients will be hoping to improve this summer. Your list will usually include laser hair removal, sun protection, body contouring, fat reduction, cellulite treatments, stretch mark treatments and facial treatments to even out the complexion so that they can ‘go bare-faced’ on the beach. Once you have your definitive treatment list, it’s time to get creative. You need to stand out from the other clinics and capture the consumer’s attention. The simplest way to do this is through package names and creatively named treatments or treatment zones. For example, if you simply say, “Get in Shape for Summer with the Latest Body Contouring Treatments” it’s bland, but if you created a ‘Bikini Beach Body Menu’ of treatments, it engages readers and suddenly comes to life. For example:
The Bikini Bottom Treatment: Let us sculpt your derriere into the perfect beach peach with just six pain-free radio frequency treatments
The Bikini Belly Treatment: Just two fat freezing treatments will have you ditching your swimming costume and dusting off your favourite bikiniThe Beachy Bingo Wing treatment: Wave without the wobble in just six weeks
Lovely Lasered Legs: Want to be smooth and fuzz free this summer? Ditch the razor and love the laser!Being creative with language does not undermine the seriousness of the treatments; it’s a way of capturing attention and enticing patients to enter your clinic, where they will then receive thorough consultation and can be provided with any relevant literature on the treatment in question.
Create a consistent campaign
Create the strap line for your summer treatment campaign and stick to it. Use this throughout all communication. A strap line is the title of the campaign that would be used in press releases and in all marketing materials. This could be something like, ‘xx Clinic Beach Body Beautiful Treatments’. Public Relations (PR) and marketing tools could comprise:
Post office mailings, a marketing service provided by the Royal Mail that sees your marketing materials delivered to the door of selected recipients, can offer a very good return on investment and are straightforward to carry out. You are able to pick exact postal drop zones, targeting people in exactly the area you wish, for what is essentially a nominal amount of money. Once you have selected the area it is critical that the promotional material looks good and stands out from other free post. Make it beautiful and something patients
will want to pick up and not just throw away. An aesthetically pleasing image one side and treatment menu on the reverse with your clinic details is sufficient. Offer a free taster treatment and the phones will start ringing. You can send materials in envelopes or alone, but placing it in a good quality coloured envelope could become more enticing to the recipient, and is a unique idea if the budget allows.
I have witnessed immense success from open days, with patients queueing to pay for bookings – but open days only work if you get them right. Here’s the magic formula for filling the diary with bookings:
What: Open your clinic for a day or afternoon and evening to all your patients and potential new patients, offering free taster treatments from your summer treatment menu. Also ensure you have a few ‘models’ to perform demonstrations on in quieter spells, as this often attracts an audience. When conducting these tasters, leave treatment doors open so people can see what is going on inside. It soon draws a crowd.
When: April or May is a good time, but avoid school holidays as potential patients who are also busy parents may be unable to attend.
Deals: Create good value package offerings, redeemable only if they book on the day. This ensures immediate booking without the risk of losing their interest once they have walked away. Of course, it is vital that you adhere to Keogh’s recommendations when marketing these clinic ‘deals’. It was stated in the Keogh Review that, “advertising and marketing practices should not trivialise the seriousness of procedures or encourage people to undergo them hastily.”1 Offering time-limited deals, financial inducements, cosmetic procedures as competition prizes and package deals such as ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘refer a friend’ should be avoided.
Goody Bag: Contact the suppliers of your brands and ask them to donate some mini-samples to the goody bag – everyone loves a freebie!
Adding Luxury: Serve canapés, sparkling wine when appropriate and healthy juices.
How: Create a postcard-sized flyer with details of the event on the front, and treatment menu on the reverse, that can be mailed out to homes in your local area. Go online and buy a stock image (from a stock photography website) of a good bikini body to capture attention, and ensure your flyer contains the following information:
What not to do
When creating your summer marketing campaign, don’t...
Sell too hard: We all know when we are being sold to, so keep it subtle and targeted towards what patients really need
Devalue your clinic: Too many offers might actually work against you. You want to be seen as the more advanced clinic, not necessarily the cheapest
Overwhelm patients with too much science: Just because it’s a technical device doesn’t mean they want to read all the techy information
A recent summer campaign I was involved with was for a world- leading aesthetic beauty company where we promoted all their body devices, both existing and new, at a press event in London. The campaign, entitled ‘Body Beautiful’, was divided into two clear areas: Skin Perfecting and Body Perfecting. Skin Perfecting included treatments for stretch marks, veins, tattoo removal and body scars and Body Perfecting included treatments for fat, cellulite and skin laxity. My team enlisted leading UK aesthetic doctors and experts to present both the ‘Facts & Fix’ for each issue at the press event. A Little Black Book of Body Beautiful was written, detailing each presenter’s topic, and this was given to the UK’s top 500 health and beauty writers as a resource for their articles. The event took place mid-January, when editors and journalists were working on their early summer issues. To add theatre to the event we had a male and female model spray painted gold and silver to signify the concept of ‘Body Beautiful’. This doubled up as a social media tool, where journalists tweeted novelty shots of themselves with the models. The most successful summer-themed PR and marketing campaign we have created was for a leading laser hair removal device. Their Unique Selling Point (USP) was that all skin colours and most hair colours could be treated. We therefore created a consumer-focused campaign called, ‘No Shades Barred’. Creative marketing materials were developed using a block of facial images illustrating all the different skin and hair colours on their laser spectrum. This eye-catching image was placed onto roll-up banners, posters, leaflets and window stickers. A press pack was created and included in a marketing guide sent to all the clinics using the laser. This enabled the clinics to send the pre-written press releases to their local newspapers and magazines, and refer to our guide on how to best communicate with journalists. The pack also detailed how to order the different marketing materials. The campaign materials were up-taken by many clinics and the campaign images were used online as well. This campaign won Best Consumer Campaign 2013 at the Aesthetic Awards.
Use any press coverage you receive to best effect. Consumers love to see your name in the media, so scan it and post on Facebook, Twitter and your website or if the piece is particularly good, produce an e-mail flyer and send to your patient list. Many clinics also produce coverage books or create montages of their coverage as a poster or postcard, which can be displayed in reception. Also see what support the PR agencies that represent the aesthetic device companies can offer you. They may provide you with press releases or ideas on how to market the treatment to patients.
In summary, be creative, consistent and think consumer, consumer, consumer. Tell patients what they’d want to know, rather than what you’d want to know.
1. Department of Health, Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Intervention (England: GOV.UK, 2013) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-cosmetic-interventions-government-response [accessed 23 March 2015].