Newport Beach, Calif. — Selling procedures through advertising, brochures and newsletters begins with more than just a good marketing strategy. It begins with a mission statement for a practice, or what Angela O'Mara calls a "vision."
Ms. O'Mara explains that creating a vision is unique to every physician. For some cosmetic surgeons that means a bigger and better practice; for others, the goal is more time off with family.Once the vision is identified, it is important to share it with the rest of the staff so marketing becomes a team effort, advises Ms. O'Mara. Understanding the vision "gives a sense of purpose and enables staff members to participate."
Tried, true techniques
Whatever the vision, there are widely accepted marketing tools that help the cosmetic surgeon reach his or her goals, Ms. O'Mara says. Good advertisements contain two elements: branding to convey the right message and a call to action to make the phone ring, she says.
Creating and maintaining a Web site also is important. Ms. O'Mara says a Web site should be eye-catching, easy to locate and include options for the patient to contact the practice and for the practice to reach the patient through e-mails or electronic newsletters.
"A Web site should be more than just a shop window," she suggests. "Have an e-news sign up, complimentary newsletter or some other method to encourage the viewer to give you their contact information and ultimately interact with the practice."
Ms. O'Mara says public relations can be more credible, present a higher image and reach more diverse targets than advertising. It may not reach people as instantaneously as advertising and a story may be delayed because of other news. However, patients perceive that the doctor was included in that article because he or she must be the expert, she explains.
When a newspaper runs an article about your practice or the local television station interviews you for comment on a cosmetic surgery procedure, that publicity can be a form of endorsement not attainable through advertising.
"It is an affirmation and endorsement of your practice to patients who seek your services."
Other marketing tools
Creating other tangible marketing tools that patients can see, hear and touch can include brochures, newsletters, Web site and on-hold telephone messaging.
"All are necessary. None is more important than the other. It is a matter of coordinating them in an effective and affordable way," Ms. O'Mara says.
Creating a logo offers a unified look. She says the logo should be unique, easy to identify and positioned on all materials — including lab coats, business cards and the Web site.
Brochures should be eye-catching, interesting to read and easy to mail. Its purpose is to explain the cosmetic services offered and give contact information.
Newsletters can be sent twice per year and should contain brief news items, "before" and "after" photographs with testimonials (if available) and a column written by the cosmetic surgeon.
For minimal cost, Ms. O'Mara says, on-hold telephone messages are "better than dead air." The messages inform callers of services offered or even highlight new practice features. She says it's a great way to expand your marketing reach.
Investing in a practice
Most often, Ms. O'Mara says physicians generally do a poor job of working on the practice rather than working in the practice.