We are living in unprecedented times and it is easy to get caught up in fear and stress. Closing your doors has been frightening, and your panic could very well have been paralyzing. Take comfort in knowing that this isn’t going to last much longer, and your doors will be back open in a matter of days and weeks. Thus, you should already be preparing for your opening. Now is the time to get a jump on your competition, increase your future income streams and prepare for the “new normal”.
Although you have invested heavily in your practice as a “brick and mortar”, your online presence is essential in effectively engaging your patients. Whether you are selling skincare products, developing cosmetic surgical and skincare packages or setting up virtual consultations, your digital footprint has now become the best way to reach, interact and retain your patients.
Many of your patients are going to be reticent about coming in at the beginning of your reopening. Ease them back into the relationship by showing them a lobby that adheres to social distancing regulations take social media pictures that show staff with their masks on, cleaning exam rooms and public areas like doors and reception desks that need to stay clean and free of bacteria. These cleaning tasks should be highlighted in your daily media posts.
In addition, your ecommerce site is another point of contact to your patients and should be straightforward and easy to buy products with a simple click. If you don’t already, it is time to modernize your forms of payments and accept PayPal and Venmo, as well as other forms of payments, and always include an option for subscription services – reoccurring shipping and payment – when it comes to skincare products.
During this downtime, your e-commerce needs to be easy to find on the internet, filled with content that is updated and compelling, as well as simple to navigate. Make sure your site is updated and that each page has been optimized to increase your leads and conversions.
Before you open, it is essential to look at your digital footprint. Start doing your research on search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Adwords. This could be a great time to audit your current digital media vendor and see where your practice is placed on Google searches. Sit down with your social media team and brainstorm on how you can reach the goals that should be included in your agreement with the company that manages these accounts. Start writing or video recording weekly blogs about the different procedures you offer. Make these blogs relevant to what is trending.
Start thinking outside the box. Separate yourself from the rest of your competition. For example, one of my clients airs a Facebook live video party that is fun and informative about skin cancer. Your patients reward you for being real and social on your digital platform. Being social on social media shows followers your expertise in a fun and entertaining way.
Another client of mine has posted some fun TikTok videos with staff. And, while this type of social media is not informative, it shows the softer side of you and your practice. Likability or bed side manner can go a long way when a patient decides to see you for their skincare needs.
Patients also want relevancy. Another client produces his own podcasts and relates his expertise to current events. For example, one of his podcasts discusses how important your immune system is to heal from post-op procedures.
Your social media engagements should also be educational and frequent. Beginning now, you should show patients how you are preparing to reopen your practice. Give them the comfort level they need. Showing how you will enforce social distancing and sanitization guidelines in your reception area. This also demonstrates that you put public safety first, which gives them another reason to trust you with their cosmetic needs.
This lockdown is temporary and as they say: “This too shall pass”. Stay focused on how you can reopen your practice in a safe and responsible way. Stay focused on perfecting your online footprint. Announce your re-opening through an online welcome back party. It is a new day and you are the head of the pack!
About the author
Lisa Marie Wark, MBA
Ms. Wark has been an owner/operator of a highly regarded medical aesthetic and women’s wellness clinic, and the vice president of marketing for an integrative cancer center. She has spent the last ten years in business development and marketing consulting for small to medium size medical practices. Currently she is the founding partner at TheBestYears.com, a CBD wellness company dedicated to thriving 55+ communities, and she has founded an upscale CBD skincare line called Ábaka. Ms. Wark serves as practice management faculty for the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Vegas Cosmetic Surgery, The Aesthetic Show and The MedAesthetics Association. This, along with her successful career in producing business and marketing plans for health and medical industry start-ups, enables her to approach every aspect of a practice with a common sense, expert analysis of how to take the practice to the next level.