By Travis Schneider
Over the past 2 years, many overwhelmed plastic surgery practices have pushed aside marketing efforts so they could effectively manage the complexities of the pandemic. Instead of focusing on business growth, practice owners have shifted resources to address safety protocols, testing and treatment guidelines, and complex staffing challenges.
As we learn to live with COVID and its variants and surges, it’s time for practices to look ahead to a growth mindset. With experts foreseeing the pandemic’s end, now is the opportunity to consider and implement aggressive marketing strategies.
The typical marketing tactics used to attract and retain patients have rapidly evolved since the pandemic started. Amid an ever-changing consumer landscape, savvy plastic surgery practices must keep up with the trends to remain competitive and lead their market.
Opting for plastic surgery is highly personal. Therefore, your marketing should be equally personal. Patients want to feel like their surgeons understand them, their wants, and their specific needs. A one-size-fits-all marketing approach is no longer sufficient.
Healthcare marketers need to personalize the connection with both current and prospective patients. Targeting your marketing outreach to appeal more directly to an individual patient (rather than the masses) can drive patient loyalty and strengthen the patient-provider relationship. Here are a couple of ways to personalize your practice marketing.
- Re-Engage Your Patients. It’s no secret that the pandemic caused patients to put off surgical consultations and procedures in record numbers. Surveys show that over 50% of patients missed or canceled an appointment because of the pandemic. However, the upside of these statistics is that you now potentially have thousands of prospective patients eagerly waiting to re-engage. Now is the perfect time to send out a personalized text message or email to start that process.
- Choose the Right Communication Channel. As your practice begins to reconnect with patients, it’s also important to consider how they want to hear from you. Although a phone call used to be the preferred method of communication, research shows that most patients would now prefer to receive an email or text message for key interactions, like scheduling an appointment or completing the registration process.
2. Take Advantage of Digital Connections
Nowadays, approximately half of all Americans spend at least 5 hours a day on their smartphone. It’s not surprising then to learn that most current and potential patients prefer to interact digitally with your office. Two of the most effective ways to connect digitally with your patients are text messaging and telehealth options.
Research has shown that, on average, people open a text message within 3 minutes of receiving it and are nearly five times more likely to respond to a text message than they are an email. Text messaging can also improve web conversion rates, reduce appointment no-shows, and make scheduling and payments more convenient and efficient.
With a client satisfaction rate of over 80%, telehealth has become a popular, convenient option for patients, especially among millennials (ages 25 to 40). Promoting your telehealth services is a great way to offer your patients expanded office hours while also creating an additional revenue stream for your practice.
3. Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) continues to be essential post-pandemic, but the factors used to determine search results continue to change.
Among the most important factors of late is the quality of your practice’s online directory profile. As of 2021, the top factor is your Google My Business profile (part of the Google local pack). Also, ensure your practice’s information, contact details, and address are accurate and consistent across all third-party websites and directories, including Google, Bing, WebMD, and Vitals. Consistency across all websites builds confidence among search engines, which will help your practice rank higher in search engine results.
Lastly, remember to include the most frequently used keywords and phrases related to the practice in all descriptions of your practice. It’s critical to be specific when selecting a business category (for example, “liposuction doctor” beats “surgeon”).
4. Reputation Management
Your practice’s online reputation is essential for attracting new patients. Among the most crucial aspects of online reputation management are positive reviews posted on Google, your website, WebMD, Yelp, and Facebook. Nearly 70% of patients indicate that they will not consider a provider with an average review of fewer than four stars.
To improve your online reputation, request patient feedback, monitor your reviews daily, and respond to negative reviews when warranted.
5. Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Successful marketing is a continuous process that requires you to measure results and modify your plans on an ongoing basis. That requires monitoring the key performance indicators (KPI) that best show new client acquisition and retention data.
Fortunately, in 2022, KPIs can be easily gathered, displayed, and monitored—in real-time—in what’s known as a practice growth dashboard. While key metrics will differ based on the specific focus of your practice, nearly every plastic surgeon will want to monitor their search result rankings, new appointment volume, and website traffic.
When planning your marketing strategy, set clear and measurable goals for what you plan to achieve, then focus on capitalizing on the latest healthcare marketing trends to drive your practice’s long-term growth. PSP
Travis Schneider is the co-founder and co-CEO of PatientPop, a Tebra company, the industry leader in practice growth technology. Schneider is highly committed to helping the company operate a platform that helps thousands of providers promote their practice, attract and acquire patients, and retain them for life, for a thriving business.