In case you were wondering, Washington, DC, has the most plastic surgeons per capita in the U.S. That’s according to a recent analysis by news source KSL Broadcasting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and American Board of Medical Specialties, KSL reports that Maryland is second, followed by Florida, New York, California, Utah, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia, which rounds out the top ten states with the most plastic surgeons per capita.
The least plastic surgeon-dense states, according to the same analysis, are—in last place—Vermont, followed by Wyoming, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Indiana, Alaska, Montana and Alabama.
Plastic surgeons in the least crowded markets might be jumping for joy, but what about those in the most competitive states? We asked expert marketers and surgeons for their best tips about how to stand out in a crowded market.
NEXT: Who Are You?
Who Are You?
There are a few key elements needed to create the biggest name in a local or national market for specific cosmetic procedures, according to online brand strategist Brandon Loures, founder of BrandLift Digital Marketing in San Diego, Calif.
It’s one thing to generate word-of-mouth success by creating a great patient experience; it’s another to create the image of being the best, Loures says.
The recipe for creating the image, according to Loures, who works with cosmetic practices and med spas, involves a mix of traditional and digital advertising.
Standing out is about creating a brand and a message, and gaining awareness with your core target market. That’s done partly with a mix of traditional advertising, like radio, TV and billboards in your local market. The rest is accomplished with a solid strategy for online advertising, search engine optimization and reputation management, he says.
“Why is your online presence so huge? It’s because of how people actually make their buying decisions. When someone sees an ad on TV or hears one on the radio, they will rarely pick up the phone and call right then. In the age of information, people are making their final decision by going online. Here is where an integrated marketing strategy comes in,” Loures says.
It works like this: Someone sees an ad, which plants the idea that this someone is in the market for a certain cosmetic procedure or might be somewhat sold on a practice based on the one advertisement. Chances are, they’ll still go to Google and either search the practice’s name or the procedure name and city.
“If your name or website is not found or doesn't represent your brand when people are researching in the local market, there is a big chance of letting all of those leads slip through the cracks. And you are most likely missing out on a lot of organic traffic that could grow your business," he says. “Reviews and presences in places like Google, RealSelf.com and Yelp are also super important for having your prospects choose you.”
What Makes You Different?
Daniel G. Becker, M.D., of Becker Rhinoplasty Center in Sewel and Voorhees, N.J. and Philadelphia, Penn., says that a surgeon can stand out by committing to becoming an expert in a small aspect of plastic surgery.
“Become the most knowledgeable, lecture on it, write and publish about it, and focus on this area of plastic surgery. It should be something you have a passion for and have a special skill in,” Dr. Becker says. “As you continue to help patients with this, word [of mouth] will spread of your expertise. Your ability will speak for itself, and other physicians… friends of your patients will seek you out.”
NEXT: Speak Up
Manish H. Shah, M.D., of Shah Aesthetic Surgery , in Denver, Colo., says that for cosmetic surgeons to stand out, they need to have a voice in the beauty decisions of the everyday patient. Colorado isn’t in the top 10 but is ranked 17th among states with the most plastic surgeons per capita.
“It is important that they maintain a strong social media presence and that they put themselves out in front of an audience who is hungry for information,” Dr. Shah says. “They should have a strong library of video education and be willing to show their results to the world so that their talent can be measured.”
Admittedly, he says, that’s a tough place to be because surgeons expose themselves to criticism.
“That being said, I've found that the forward thinking surgeons who understand social media and understand the internet have the advantage in getting their message across louder and clearer to the public. New patients need to know why you are the best choice for them, and who better to tell them than you and your happy patients!” Dr. Shah says. “The best plastic surgeons don't compete on price, only reputation and perceived value.”
NEXT: Add Value (Not Clutter)
Add Value (Not Clutter)
This is Stacey Cohen’s advice: Add value, not clutter when communicating your brand and what makes you stand out. Cohen is president and CEO of the public relations and marketing agency Co-Communications, in Westchester County, Hartford County, Conn., and New York City.
Cohen, a Huff Post blogger on personal branding, says cosmetic surgeons need to demonstrate their expertise and value by consistently pulsing relevant content to prospective patients through a multi-channel approach via a blog, Facebook, media coverage, webinars, Facebook ads and video.
Relevant content passes the “Who cares? and “What’s in it for me?” tests, Cohen says.
“Video marketing is a ‘stand out’ way for cosmetic surgeons to deliver their message, strike an emotional connection with their audience and share new procedures and results. In fact, studies have shown that the use of video marketing is incredibly impactful in increasing engagement, search and conversion rates,” Cohen says.
Sell Less, Inform More (and Be Patient!)
Michael Mignogna, CEO of Baltimore-based digital marketing firm Minyona, says standing out in a saturated market like Baltimore requires that plastic surgeons sell less and inform more.
“In short, if you want to stand out in the plastic surgery world, it's imperative that you provide helpful content that is geared toward those who are [early in the buyers’ journey],” Mignogna says.
Mignogna practiced what he preaches when a Baltimore plastic surgery practice Belcara Health hired Minyona to increase online visibility, and ultimately leads, in the competitive local market.
“We immediately began SEO, improving their organic search visibility in a big way. And we run Google and Facebook ads,” he says. “There was one problem, though. While we were getting out in front of a lot of people (over five thousand website visitors a month), there was more that could be done in terms of getting visitors to take action on the website.”
Mignogna says, for example, that people would land on the tummy tuck page, but then leave the website. Or they’d read and click around but leave without scheduling a consult.
“We optimized the site so that people are highly engaged, spending over 2.5 minutes on the site on average,” he says. “But here's the thing, not everyone is ready to take that plunge. For many, landing on a plastic surgery website is the very beginning of their research about the procedures they might be interested in. It's way too early to ask them to make a consultation.”
Mignogna and his staff added calls to action to the website, which download helpful pieces of content in exchange for email addresses.
“Now, Belcara Health gets dozens of leads per week and can nurture those relationships via intelligent email marketing,” Mignogna says.