Everything you should know to increase your number of consultations: generating and converting leads
According to the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Databank Statistics for 2020-2021 published by The Aesthetic Society, the number of surgical and non-surgical procedures increased compared to the previous year. However, while some current trends and data analysis show that this year the number of patients or potential patients is equally increasing, some others argue that the general market recession that is starting now will also affect the cosmetic and plastic surgery business.
So, what can you do as a plastic surgeon or aesthetic healthcare professional to attract more visits to your clinic and protect your business from future turmoil?
You can either spend large amounts of money on external marketing actions and campaigns or, instead, try first some (or all!) of the strategies and suggestions described in this article.
But, first of all, let’s understand briefly what is the ideal marketing funnel for healthcare and plastic surgery:
The treatment decision does not start when a patient decides to undergo a procedure. It starts much before: when someone who has an interest or curiosity searches for services like the ones you offer and they are attracted by your ad and your social media profile. After that first awareness, a whole marketing and procedure confirmation process starts until, step after step, that first awareness becomes advocacy. This is, your actual patients (those who first showed interest in your services), play the important role of advocacy marketing, this is, the marketing of referrals.
All steps in the marketing process are equally important and deserve special attention. This is why we are dedicating a series of articles to this topic. So, starting from the beginning,
what is a plastic surgery lead, and why should you care?
Very simply explained, a lead is anyone who has visited your website or social media. On the other hand, a qualified lead is someone who fits your clinic criteria (age, procedure, price, etc.) and has shown an interest to buy from your clinic by contacting you (qualifying criteria to assess their quality as a lead, their fit as a customer, and their readiness to buy.)
However, it is not just any potential and possible patient. It is someone who has a desire or need and, searching the web or social media, becomes aware of your clinic and specialities. A lead becomes a qualified lead as soon as that initial interest turns into a real visit to your web page or professional profile in the media. This is, someone who fits your clinic type of patient and has been in contact with you with the idea of a potential treatment.
Identify target audience
The most demanded surgical and non-surgical procedures usually vary according to the age frame, country, budget, social status, or current trends, amongst others. Once your area of practice and expertise is defined, it is recommended to spend some time analyzing your current patients’ information. There are some key criteria to be considered like age, areas of interest, gender, or income, amongst others. At the same time, you can use some of the free tools available today to learn more about your online audiences like Google Trends or Bing webmaster tools. This will help you focus your strategy and clearly identify your target audience. Your social media can also provide you with an insight into what content seems more interesting to your audience, and which one receives less attention.
Once your target audience is identified, your marketing strategy can be mainly defined.
Lead generation strategies: gain more quality visitors
In order to generate a great number of leads, you must first maximize your quality traffic and, in parallel, maximize the traffic conversion. It is commonly said that if they don’t see you, you don’t exist. Visibility is crucial to generating traffic and, consequently, generating leads. There are different ways of boosting traffic to your website and/or social media: advertising, SEO strategies, creating content that appeals to your target audience by means of a blog, posts on social media, etc…
For that, you have to make sure that you offer something interesting that, at the same time, answers their questions and needs. A service that can engage you with your audience/patients; understanding their concerns and knowing the keywords they mostly enter to search for a plastic surgeon or an aesthetic specialist. If you are generating content on social media and they can interact by sharing their own experiences, images, and asking questions,... the traffic will also organically increase.
Converting aesthetic leads into qualified aesthetic leads
As mentioned before, a qualified lead is someone who might undergo a treatment with you. Someone who already has a need or a desire and searched for a plastic surgeon or aesthetic professional giving answers to those demands, visited your website or your social media, and decided to stay for the next action with you. In short, a plastic or cosmetic surgery qualified lead is someone who has completed qualified -educated- research.
To convert them you have to convince them that your clinic is the place where they can find the right solution to their needs. Try to differentiate your practice from the competitors, offer engaging messages, and provide several strategies to make them stay and go a step further in the patients’ funnel.
These engaging strategies may include:
- Call to action -or CTA- buttons: these buttons tell your visitors to take a specific action towards your goal. Make sure that the text you use is clear and tells people what is the consequence of clicking it. Common examples include “Book a consultation”, “Request more information” and so on.
- Landing pages: in plastic surgery, a landing page should point to a specific service or product. Ideally, you should have a landing page for that product or service that you offer and that makes you different from your competitors.
- Forms: easily obtain data about your visitors and use it to provide them with the services and information they may find useful to
- Visitor funnel: in this case, this is the patient’s flow. Make sure that you have all the tools or functionalities available to cover the full patient journey, from lead generation to undergoing the procedure.
- Before & After images: patients want to see the results of your job. Not in vain, “before and after” is the number one online search since (prospect) patients want to know how they could look; they need a confirmation of your professionalism.
- Testimonials/reviews: healthcare and aesthetic procedures rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews. Nowadays, it is trendy and common to write and read (rely) about other patients' experiences, even more when those are patients dealing with their image and undergoing a cosmetic procedure. Leads trust the opinions of other equals.
From consultation to treatment
Similar to the funnel above, the number of treatments is always a portion of the number of consultations. That number depends on several factors such as the level of trust from the patient in the plastic surgeon, the financial willingness and capacities for that specific treatment, the time spent with the patient, the competition from other doctors in that same area, speciality or price range, to mention a few. For invasive treatments, it is largely accepted that one patient visits 3 surgeons before taking their decision, resulting in an average rate of around 30% consult-to-treatment ratio. For non-invasive treatments, that number is usually around 60 to 75%, mainly because the barriers to take the decision are much lower such as the price, risk and durability of the result.
From treatment to treated-patient advocacy
Although patient advocacy is the very last stage in the marketing funnel it is by no means less important. In fact, advocacy means that patients are much more than patients: they become recommenders. They are so satisfied with the result of their procedure (because it matches their expectations), the service and time your practice provided, that they share their experience with others, write positive reviews, and participate in dedicated communities or forums that promote your practice. This means that they are creating awareness, and, therefore, a new marketing funnel starts.
Thus, lead generation and conversion are not isolated steps in the patient journey. In fact, all the steps can, at the same time, generate leads in the form of referrals. A satisfied patient will be, in the end, your best promoter.
How can Crisalix help you maximize your marketing funnel strategy?
Crisalix is the only full patient solution in the market built as 360° or an end-to-end platform. It allows you, healthcare professionals, to attract and convert more traffic into qualified consultations, converting consultations into treatments, and ultimately turning patients into advocates and promoters of your practice communicating and referring your next patients. Crisalix supports and optimizes each step of the funnel.
With Crisalix you can build a rocky foundation for a steady growth of your activity in normal economical cycles as well as your own shield against any future market recession, or even in the event of a lockdown.