Seasonal Marketing: Getting Winter-ready

By Charlotte Moreso / 01 Sep 2015

Charlotte Moreso talks winter marketing and how to keep your patients coming back in the darker months

Autumn and winter is traditionally a time, aside from party preparation treatments, that business can take a dip. There are multiple reasons why this can occur. In the autumn, reasons include a shortage of money following patients’ annual summer escapes, and often the chillier weather can deter people from leaving the comfort of their homes. Over the Christmas period, many are simply too busy to fit in appointments and, in many cases, the financial strain of saving up for Christmas means that treatments tend to go to the bottom of priority lists. However, if you make treatments alluring enough and allow the names to resonate with patient’s own skin or body issues, you are sure to lure traffic into your clinic.

To fill your clinics with a steady stream of patients it is helpful to divide this season’s marketing into three segments, all of which are real call-to-action opportunities.

  1. Autumn post-holiday skin repair and treatments suitable for Autumn/Winter – September/October
  2. Festive party-season preparation for late October/November/ December
  3. Christmas gifting for mid-November/December 

Autumn Post-Holiday Repair

Before you do anything, look at your treatments and list what your patients will be thinking about during this time. Patients’ thoughts, particularly women’s, will turn to the damage the sun may have had on their skin during the summer. As well as worries about wrinkles, this is the time when pigmentation and sunspots may be visible. This is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to target patients with pigmentation treatments and products, facial peels and laser treatments. 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 attention of the consumer. The simplest way to do this is through package names and creatively-named treatments. For example, why not create:

1. The Sundowner Package

  • Pigmentation Peel – peel away pigmentation in just three treatments
  • Sunspot SOS Treatment – zap away sunspots with just three laser treatments
  • Squinting Wrinkle Treatment – wipe away the sun squints around the eyes with our light-based therapies

Timing: Promotion to go out the second week of September. 

Other autumn promotional ideas include:

2. Winter Glow/Slough Off the Summer Treatments

Take advantage of patients’ lower moods by offering the perfect pick-me-up to return a glow to their cheeks. This is a great time of year for promoting and even discounting any glow-getting treatments. Offer treatments that slough off the summer to reveal healthy, radiant skin. Peels, microdermabrasion and similar treatments can be included in your menu.

Timing: Promotion to go out middle/end of September

3. Winter Glow/Slough Off the Summer Treatments

Most lasers can only be used during colder months when sun exposure is at a low and active tans don’t interfere with successful and safe treatments. Create a ‘Laser Loves Winter’ menu, which incorporates facial and body treatments. This is the time to promote laser hair removal to the maximum so that your patients are hair free by spring. Six treatments spaced four to six weeks apart means they need to start their course in September.

Timing: Promotion to go out October when tans have faded

Party Season Preparation

The festive season over Christmas and New Year is a huge opportunity for your business. Party season starts in November, so you have two months to capitalise on this segment. The key areas of focus should incorporate both the face and the body:

Face: Treatments that contour the face and leave skin radiant

Body: Treatments that target the areas on show in the little black dress

Create a menu of suitable treatments, that could include:

  • Bingo Wing Blaster: Dance without dread in your strappy dress (radiofrequency, infrared light, ultrasound, fat freezing)
  • Little Black Dress Lovely Legs Treatment: Tone and shape your legs and get dance floor ready! (radiofrequency, fat freezing, ultrasound)
  • Decollate Renewal Treatment: Eliminate crepiness and sun damage in this zone (lasers, peels etc)

Festive Face Treatments:

  • Christmas Glow Facial: (microdermabrasion, radiofrequency, infrared light)
  • Party Peel: A lighter peel to reveal clear, glowing skin with a more even skin tone
  • Festive Lift Treatment: Firm and lift the skin on the face (radiofrequency, mircocurrent)

Christmas Party Ready Open Day

Now is the ideal time to showcase all of your festive treatments. I have witnessed immense success from open days, with patients queueing to pay for bookings – but only if you get them right.

Here's the festive formula for filling the diary with bookings:

What: Open up your clinic for a day, or afternoon and evening to all your patients and potential new patients, offering free taster treatments from your Little Black Dress Ready and Festive Face treatment menu. It’s a good idea to ensure you have a few ‘models’ to demo on in quieter spells, as this often draws an audience. When conducting these trials, leave treatment doors open so that people can see what is going on inside.

When: Late October or early November is a good time, but avoid half-term, as many of your potential patients may have children and, therefore, other commitments.

Deals: Create good value package offerings, redeemable only if they book on the day. This ensures you get the booking right there and then without the risk of losing their interest once they have walked away.

Goody Bag: Contact the suppliers of your brands to donate some mini-samples to the goody bag – everyone loves a freebie!

Adding Luxury: Serve Christmas themed canapés, sparkling wine and healthy juices.

Showcase: Promote your Christmas gift offering.

Adding Luxury: Serve Christmas themed canapés, sparkling wine and healthy juices.

Showcase: Promote your Christmas gift offering.

How: Create a post-card sized flyer with the details and treatment menu on the reverse that can be mailed out via the Post Office to homes in your local area. Buy a beautiful stock shot of ladies in their little black dresses at a Christmas party to use on the front.

  • Invitation to preview/experience the festive treatments at your clinic
  • Menu of complementary taster treatments
  • When and where
  • Times
  • Special offers
  • Goody bag for every attendee
  • RSVP to reserve your place

Special Offers: Great value package offers are a strategic way of attracting bookings but it’s essential that you adhere to Keogh’s recommendations when marketing these offers. The Keogh Review stated, “advertising and marketing practices should not trivialise the seriousness of procedures or encourage people to undergo them hastily.” Avoid offering ‘buy one get one free’, ‘refer a friend’ or doing competitions for cosmetic treatments and steer away from time-limited deals and financial inducements.1

The Science: You may respond to the intricacies of the technology, but the average woman will not. She wants to know if the treatment works, how long until she will see results, will it hurt and how much will it cost? So don’t blind her with science and keep your chats on this subject short and snappy, explaining the key information and, of course, any potential risks.

Create a Consistent Campaign

Create the strapline for your festive treatment campaign and stick to it. Use this throughout all communication. PR and marketing tools could comprise:

  • Window sticker
  • Posters
  • Leaflets with the treatment menu
  • Roll-up banners
  • Press releases

Press Release and Reviews: Press releases to journalists: When sending out your press release, include the aforementioned treatment menu to offer journalists the chance to try a treatment from the festive menu. First-hand reviews are very powerful. Journalists must be offered the full-length treatment in order to be able to write a decent and balanced story.

Timing: Timing is critical to capture business. You need to reach patients with your messaging and offers in late October when they are starting to think about the Christmas festive period. With regards to your press release, this must go to your local press in October. Email and post the release then follow-up a few days later to ask them if they wanted to book in to review a treatment. 

Christmas Gifting

Although a smaller part of your winter campaign, Christmas gifting is a good opportunity to take advantage of. Understandably, your product offerings are likely to be more scientific brands than pampering high-street products, but there may be some products that could be grouped together as a gift, such as a cleanser, moisturiser and mask. Three products usually suffice for skincare gifts. Purchase some tasteful red/gold/silver gift bags and tissue paper so that these sets are gift wrapped and ready to go. Display one set in front of the bag in reception. The other Christmas gift worth considering is vouchers for treatments. It may be worth contacting your local printer to produce some simple gift voucher cards with spaces left blank for the monetary amount or the treatment.

Timing: Ensure you create an e-blast with these items on and send it out mid November with a reminder in December for ‘last minute gift ideas’.

Use what you have....

Use any press coverage you receive to best effect. Consumers love to see your name in magazines or newspapers, so scan it and post on Facebook, Twitter and your website, or, if the piece is particularly good, produce an email 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. Finally, it is also worth seeing what support the PR agencies for the aesthetic device companies you work with can offer you. They may have press releases you can use or ideas on how to market the treatment to patients.

In Practice

“We start to think about the New Year as autumn approaches and decide on what we want to celebrate. We host a client event to thank our current patients for visiting us and introduce them to what’s new and what to expect next year. It’s a champagne affair where clients can openly ask questions they have been keen to but haven’t yet, or see treatments happening that they haven’t yet experienced. It’s an open door policy in the clinic, so everyone gets to see inside rooms. Winter equals caring and sharing for Karidis.”

Lucy Alice Martin, PR and marketing manager of Karidis MediSpa

“Winter; the point where the summer glow and holiday memories wear off and Christmas looms large. It’s a dull time of year and rejuvenation to prepare for party season is just what the doctor ordered. I send seasonal emails to my mailing list and target promotions aimed at getting party and photo-op ready. It’s a timely reminder for existing clients and brings the clinic back into the mind of previous enquirers. Timing is everything and a little incentive pre-xmas is always welcome.”

Dr Renee Hoenderkamp, founder of The Non-Surgical Clinic

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