Plastic surgery marketing is now more competitive than ever. The battle between plastic, cosmetic, reconstructive and other provider practices is getting very fierce. The once clear lines segmenting surgical / non-surgical and minimally invasive options are growing thinner each year at the same time other players like ophthalmologists, ENTs and medical spas are tapping into a once segmented, clear service offering, convoluting and confusing the potential patient online.
In addition, your potential patients are more educated than ever. Before a patient reaches out to your practice (via phone, email or a “like” on Facebook) they’ve most likely already placed you into a “shortlist” of providers without you even knowing it. It’s no surprise that they are starting their search on Google. Even if you have been referred by a friend, 81% of the time that referral still gets validated with a quick online search.
Below, you can see a more advanced patient customer journey map that integrates the loyalty piece. You can imagine the importance of having ongoing communications with patients, positive reviews and loyalty programs in place could add tons of revenue to your practice.
As you can see below, the term “plastic surgeon near me” has been on explosive growth globally over the past 5 years. Luckily, due to the mid twentieth century baby boom, the entire world is seeing an aging population around now continuously looking to look and feel younger. There are also, unfortunately and fortunately, growing amounts of health issues that lead into non-elective surgeries as well. Since plastic / cosmetic surgery is such a viable career path, there’s going to naturally be a good amount of online competition.
Let’s get into the meat and potatoes of our post now. We’ve laid out a list of our top 10 marketing strategies a new or existing plastic surgery practice can literally start doing today to A. gain more visibility online and B. Fill up your funnel of the types of patients you LOVE working with.
The whole point of your practice doing online marketing is to get found, right?
When you rank on the first page for, let’s say, hundreds of search terms organically, you’re ultimately getting “free” web traffic.
Over time, Organic SEO can help your practice decrease your cost per patient acquisition kind of like investing in a marketing annuity month over month.
As great as that sounds, the search game has changed quite a bit over the past decade.
All kinds of Google Algorithm Updates, Guideline Recommendation changes and new opinions on what you should and shouldn’t be doing is sure to confuse the layman.
In the plastic surgery space, the search results have had a host of new types of results come into play in the search results real estate. Things such as Featured Snippets, Videos, “People Also Ask” and new tests happen all the time.
Another part of the local search results is Google My Business or “GMB”. GMB was created because a huge percentage of all searches come with a geo-modifier like “plastic surgery marketing Orlando” or “best breast augmentation doctor near me” etc.
This is a free service that gets your practice listed as an option both in the main Organic search results & in the maps results.
You can add video, tons of images, get reviews, ask questions, send to their phone, showcase services, generate online reviews and the list goes on. Google seems to be testing GMB quite a bit.
If you’re asking yourself, where should I start? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t too straight forward.
Most SEO pros would say something like, “Start with writing content that answers your patient’s questions.” Or something like, “Optimize your Local Listings”.
Note: There are HUNDREDS of ranking factors at play here.
In the years we have been helping plastic surgeons across the world, the best thing to do (from an Organic SEO perspective) is to create a custom plan based off of your goals combined with the competition level in your specific marketplace.
You can do SEO, Paid Media, go on Oprah.whatever you want to do to drive website traffic. But if your website stinks, you aren’t going to generate your full revenue potential.
So what goes into making a fantastic plastic surgery web property?
At some point when you started your practice, you should have thought about this. How are you different than the other surgeons in your city? Do you do any philanthropy? Do you want to showcase your unique credentials? Do you have an awesome office culture?
These are the things that potential patients will be mentally be checking off in their brains as they navigate through your pages.
Within 2-3 seconds, the patient should be able to distinguish A: What you offer, B: What your value proposition is and C: How to contact you for a free consultation.
If you make it tough for them, they will most likely bounce off and go to one of your local or regional competitors.
You can expect about half or more of your site visitors to be coming in from their mobile devices. Is your site up to par? You can use the fast, free Google Mobile Checker too here to see if you have issues.
Take a look inside of Google Analytics at the pages that are the most popular on your site. Odds are, you’ll see that your Before and After Gallery is one of them. At the least, you’ll need to make sure that it’s mobile friendly (We’ll talk more about Galleries later in the list).
In Google Analytics, I also suggest going to Audience —-> Mobile Overview. Then, choose a time frame of today back to about three months prior. Compare that to the SAME time period a year ago. You’ll get an instant understanding what kind of devices are coming to your website.
Also known as Google AdWords or PPC, Google Ads are something you’ve probably ran before if you’ve been in the cosmetic marketing game.
If you’ve done them yourself, you probably lost a ton of money as well.
Even if your website ranks very well Organically, having a strategic Google Advertising strategy will help you stay top of mind and at least be on the shortlist for someone looking for your services.
If you have a Google Ads account, there are ways to sync your Google My Business account in with your Ads account using Location Extensions.
This gives you the ability to have your local listing (name, address, phone, website & reviews) show more frequently in the ads you are running, the Google Listings and Maps results.
Whether you’re running Google Ads in house or you’re working with a marketing agency, you want to make sure you’re generating a ROAS (return on ad spend) or if layman’s terms..an ROI.
Your agency should do this for you manually or through weekly / monthly reports. If they don’t, you can run some variations of your numbers on this PPC RI Calculator.
Note: Your average cost per click (CPC) is going to vary. I would plugin in $7-$8 to be less conservative there.
The majority of the potential patients who arrive on your website through organic or paid media methods aren’t going to reach out to you that same day.
They’re going to go onto a competitor’s website or just move on with their day all together.
This is where retargeting or remarketing comes in to play.
A “cookie” (basically a piece of code that tracks) is placed on the user’s browser and allows the retargeting ads to follow them around wherever they go online for normally around 90 days.
This is where you can market even more granularly to these patients based on the content they interacted with on your website.
How do I you set this up? Google Advertising has functionality within itself to manage many variations of retargeting.
You can also utilize many different 3rd party companies that offer variations of remarketing to get your message in front of both visitors and prospects (Simpli.fi for retargeting and OutBrain for Native Ads are two of my favs).
It’s true what they say. It costs 5X more to get NEW patients than it does to retain & generate business from current patients.
Note: If you don’t have a CRM that keeps a tab on ALL of your patients, you should. This section is assuming you already have one where you’re able to distinguish who your past clients were as well as your most valuable ones.
This runs the gamut based on the type of practice you are or the types of services you want to sell more of.
Some of our clients have run programs like this.
You’ll want to make it as easy as possible for the patient to both sign up and understand where they stand along the way as well.
A more tedious option to implement is by creating a system yourself with an iPad or easy to sign up process that works with your CRM data.
Google literally says that they want you to focus on the EAT Methodology when it comes to your content. EAT stands for Authority, Expertise & Trust. (see more info here)
At the same time, there have been and will be numerous algorithm updates that affect the healthcare space similar to what the “Medic Update” did in 2018.
It’s easy to have an agency or internal employee create new content for you. That’s totally cool if you do. However, you’ll need to ensure that these pages have been written by EXPERTS on that specific topic.
They don’t have to read like a medical journal. They just need to have the oversight from someone who understands the topic very thoroughly. Several things to consider include:
Why? Because Google wants to deliver the most accurate and reliable content to their searchers so they will keep coming back. This allows them to serve more ads to them as well as gain trust over time.
Similar to buying something expensive outside of plastic surgery, the buying “process” is the same.
You’ll see 3 major stages to the plastic surgery patient journey.
1: Awareness: Blogs, Infographics, Detailed Site Pages
2: Consideration: Retargeting Ads, Videos, Testimonials, FAQs
3: Purchase: Free Consults, Discounts, Pricing Details
Here’s a good example of a plastic surgeon that uses both video and FAQs together in the Consideration Stage to position himself as a leader in his field. At the same time, this content has the possibility to generate NEW interest from the Awareness Stage of the patient journey.
We live in a very fragmented world. The average person is bombarded with messages throughout her day and has easily learned how to block them out psychologically.
Relevance is the key here. You are going to want to reach your ideal patients at the RIGHT time with the RIGHT message to get their attention.
Remember from earlier, that even if your practice is referred, the prospective patient is still going to Google you and look at your reviews. What are they seeing?
There are 2 pieces to reputation management in 2019 2020.
A: Review Generation
B: Review Monitoring
Giving all of your patients the chance to give you feedback and, at the last, your happy patients the ability to leave online reviews on Google is very important.
Not only do reviews help your local SEO & ability to be found on Google (via traditional Googling and voice search!), they also give patients the trust they need to choose you for their procedure.
Make it easy for them by following up with an email or text message with a link asking people to leave a Google review. We use an automated process for our clients here but there are many options out there to help in that process.
Monitoring or listening to what people are saying about you is also important. Not only to be able to respond if someone is talking negatively about you or your practice, but also to get valuable feedback that can help your business run smoother.
A paid tool like Review Trackers is another good way to aggregate all of the data into one easy to read dashboard. This tool is especially good if you have multiple locations.
Now is the time to capitalize on the basics and advanced strategies to market your plastic surgery practice. Even if you’re flourishing without proactively doing anything mentioned above, there may come a time where you wish you had. Many online marketing tactics, like SEO, take time. Sometimes months or years to truly see the compounded benefit. Talk to an agency that specializes in plastic surgeons, hire an internal Rockstar or learn online marketing yourself and get to it!
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