Think you have to be (or hire) a marketing guru to grow your business? Not so, says Michael Fiorillo, M.D., a plastic surgeon in private practice with locations in New York and New Jersey. He’s got five tips that he says can result in higher patient engagement and, importantly, revenue.
1. Market to Existing Patients
Dr. Fiorillo tells The Aesthetic Channel that catering to existing patients is the most effective form of marketing. “Existing customers for any business can represent 40% of revenue,” he says. “Yet few aesthetic practices take full advantage of their patients’ attention.”
A loyal patient who already trusts you is a valuable asset. “Our job is to ensure we are sending relevant offers about services that are likely to interest them,” Dr. Fiorillo says. “By creating marketing campaigns that encourage patients to refer family and friends, you can also attract new business. This results in loyal patents generating new ones.”
2. Digitally Surround Your Patients
Do not rely on email alone to communicate with patients because the average email open rate is only 20%, according to Dr. Fiorillo. Instead, commit to a multichannel marketing program that digitally surrounds your patients, including other communication intersections such as text messaging or a mobile app. “The easier you make it to receive your communications, the more receptive people will be to them,” he says.
Dr. Fiorillo notes that multichannel campaigns are 37% more effective than single-channel campaigns.
3. Become Mobile Friendly
Did you know that 81% of U.S. adults own a smartphone and that 53% of emails are opened on a mobile device? Furthermore, 80% of active Facebook user accounts are accessed via mobile phones… and don’t forget text messaging. According to Pew Research, 98% of text messages on mobile phones are opened. “This is nearly five times more than email,” Dr. Fiorillo says.
Shorter marketing messages are key because mobile users don’t want to scroll through loads of pages. “Mobile users also prefer visual content like images and videos, not text-heavy messages,” Dr. Fiorillo says. “Test everything to ensure your images and other content are optimized for mobile devices.”
4. Follow Up on Leads
How quickly and how often are you following up on marketing leads? If you or your office staff does not react quickly to a response from an existing or potential patient, “the effort you put into that marketing is wasted,” Dr. Fiorillo says. “Putting in the effort to schedule leads and convert them into business is the only way to fully optimize your marketing efforts.”
For example, calling a patient once and leaving a message is not enough. You may have to call several times before you can talk to the patient directly. “But it is worth the effort and illustrates your commitment to meeting your patients’ needs — both in and out of the office,” says Dr. Fiorillo, who uses the eRelevance patient engagement service.
5. Don’t Break the Bank
Dr. Fiorillo says most practices lack the expertise to create sophisticated marketing programs; hence, they make one of two choices: spend their entire marketing budget on an expensive consultant or relegate the task to staff.
“In most cases, neither of these strategies is effective,” Dr. Fiorillo explains. “In the first instance, even if the consultant generates revenue, he [or she] often only brings in enough to cover his [or her] high fees and fails to deliver a realistic return on investment (ROI).”
And by opting for the second scenario, “you end up exhausting staff who are not trained in marketing and whose time would be better spent doing the job they were hired to do,” Dr. Fiorillo says.
But thanks to advances in technology, it is now possible to execute sophisticated marketing programs that deliver results “without breaking the bank,” Dr. Fiorillo says. “By adopting an innovative patient marketing strategy that digitally surrounds people with multichannel messaging, you can deliver more personalized experiences that are relevant to them and that keeps them coming back. They are also more likely to recommend you.”