PR consultant Julia Kendrick shares her top tips to upgrade your seasonal marketing efforts for business success
As business owners, we are aware that there are many factors driving customer spending habits. However there are certain times of the year when people may be more open and interested in buying your products and services. The finance industry has noted that the warmer months see a general increase in consumer spending; for example, a 2018 survey from a credit report provider showed 57% of Brits spend more money in the summer, which is typically £154 more a month.1
Whilst keeping on top of clinic marketing can often be a daunting prospect for many practitioners, you cannot afford to fall behind with efforts on marketing, promotion and positioning – and keeping your approach fresh to increase engagement throughout the year. Aesthetic customers are increasingly aware and discerning, so can easily be lured away to competitors if they don’t encounter regular touchpoints from your business across multiple channels (such as your website, newsletters, socials and traditional media) so planning ahead to tap into those increased spending habits as summer approaches is a smart business strategy. In this article, I will outline key strategies to help you keep your clinic marketing plan fresh for summer and targeted to maximise customer engagement.
Bear in mind that any marketing effort done in isolation will never truly deliver the desired business results – PR and marketing work best when multiple activities are tied to the broader business strategy and objectives. To maximise your valuable time, energy and money, take some time to consider your overarching business objectives, such as:
Once clear on your short-term business objectives, you can layer in your planned marketing and promotional activities in advance. Don’t forget budget allocations – investment should maintain a consistent baseline all year (NEVER dropping off entirely!), with potentially additional budget required periodically to support big pushes like a new brand launch or social media ad campaign.
Consumers are more likely to ‘convert’ – to make a purchase or consultation appointment – if your service offerings are aligned with things they are already thinking about or planning for. This is a fundamental marketing technique known as the ‘next best offer’ (NBOs) – where analytical data about the customer (anything from demographics, past purchases, locations, browser history) allows businesses to create highly customised offers that steer consumers to the right merchandise or services at the right moment, at the right price, and in the right channel. One example is Microsoft’s tailored email ads based off Bing search engine users, which have lifted conversion rates by as much as 70% — dramatically more than similar but uncustomised marketing efforts.2 So, in the summer, you must ensure your messaging is reflecting their current thought processes – i.e getting rid of stubborn fat in time for their holiday to Majorca or clearing their acne so they can wear less makeup in the heat!
In addition, summer months can be challenging for clinics, as people are often away on holiday or spending less on discretionary items – so by planning your content marketing and PR in advance, you can help feed in educational and interesting topics to spark interest and enquiries to see you through the quieter period. Consumers are also more likely to engage with fresh messaging and information, rather than the same content pushed out all year-round.
Interestingly, there is consumer retail data to suggest that the weather, particularly the change in seasons, has the biggest influence on consumer spending.3 Anecdotal data from retailers have also shown that exposure to sunlight will increase the number of impulse purchases3 – so the weather not only affects an individual’s emotional state, but also drives their purchase decisions!
Many aesthetic clinics will have a wealth of treatments which are ideal for ‘pitching’ to consumers ahead of and during the summer months – in particular, I’ve noticed that body shaping treatments ready for beachwear and laser hair removal for the summer wardrobe of shorts, dresses and skirts are key players to begin promoting. Travel skincare regimes, or products targeted towards pigmentation control and hydration could also be good to focus on.
Of course, many of these treatments require multiple sessions before the full results are seen, so it is critical to begin your summer marketing rollout ahead of the season, so you can secure bookings as people begin thinking about their summer preparations. For your summer campaign, think of it as a two or three month strategy with fresh topics, key profiling treatments and special offers tailored to attract your customers and split the approach into a ‘prep’ month with the more long-lead treatments (body shaping, laser hair removal), the activation month (skincare kits, quick turnaround treatments like facials, lymphatic drainage) and a post-holiday month (perhaps laser facials to tackle pigmentation, dry skin treatments).
Summer also has some nice awareness days and milestones you can use for more short-term social media inspiration – for example National Bikini Day on July 5 – or you could create educational content about sun safety, SPF and even direct to mole checks or dermatology services if you offer these in-clinic.
Developing creative treatment packages for your clinic is also a clever way to leverage changing consumer purchase behaviour around the summer months – consider creating options with compelling pricing for more long-term prep (i.e. body shaping or hair removal treatments) alongside some short-term ‘impulse’ options (like skincare travel kits, or last-minute facials).
Creating quality, engaging content is a critical success factor in any clinic PR and marketing strategy. Now you know what treatments you’re focusing on for your summer marketing strategy, consider what this content should look like across your key channels: events, website, social media, blogs and newsletters. In addition, detailed planning at this stage will increase the chances of you eventually being able to delegate this work within your team or to an external supplier, if you haven’t done so already.
For each phase, brainstorm and plan out the content topics for at least:
Now you should have a comprehensive overview of what your seasonal marketing campaign looks like, so if you have a team or clinic manager, consider delegating some of the responsibilities to them as part of their role – perhaps to compile the newsletter, or write one blog per month based on your plan. In addition, this plan could give you a strong brief and overview should you wish to engage an external PR or marketing supplier. Having clear actions and deadlines will help ensure that the marketing becomes an integral part of everyone’s function in the clinic – not an add-on or a burden which keeps getting forgotten.
Successful marketing is contingent on accurate evaluation to determine if your efforts are hitting the right note, and ultimately converting traffic into bookings, or sales. If your blogs aren’t driving website traffic, or customers aren’t opening your newsletter, or nobody is clicking on your social media posts – you need to know and adapt your strategy next time. Undertake regular reviews of your website analytics, also your customer relationship management (CRM) system and social channels to identify engagement, interaction and ultimately what is being delivered in terms of revenue. If something is not working effectively, it’s best to find out early on and adjust your strategy accordingly until you get it right!
Seasonal marketing campaigns are an effective and engaging way to connect with your customers and drive both new and repeat business into your clinic. With some advanced preparation, you can plan and create compelling content across your marketing channels (website, social, PR, events) to help boost awareness and profile, whilst driving treatment demand over the quieter months.
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