The Practice Growth Podcast is an educational resource for doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers about how to market and manage a thriving healthcare practice.
In Episode 9, host Jessica Neyer is joined by Robert Palumbo. The pair discuss how healthcare and aesthetic service providers can better promote their services online to attract new patients and how to market services to existing patients to increase their lifetime value. Click below to listen.
Jessica Neyer: To increase the amount of revenue coming into their practices, OB-GYNs, dermatologists, cosmetic specialists, and similar providers will sometimes purchase aesthetic lasers so they can offer more services like tattoo or hair removal, wrinkle reduction, body sculpting, and so on. But new services only help boost the bottom line if patients actually book appointments.
How can a provider raise awareness about their new aesthetic services? And how do they stand out from area competitors? That’s the topic of today’s podcast.
Hello and welcome to The Practice Growth Podcast, the doctor’s resource for marketing and managing a thriving healthcare practice. I’m Jessica Neyer.
Joining me today is Robert Palumbo, who has extensive experience helping healthcare and aesthetic service providers successfully promote their services to patients. Robert, thank you for joining us.
Robert Palumbo: Thanks for having me, Jessica.
Neyer: Let’s dive into this. Let’s first talk about aesthetic lasers. In your experience, and I know you have a lot, why does a provider typically decide to purchase a laser for their practice?
Palumbo: I think in today’s landscape, doctors are really squeezed as far as getting revenue from insurance-based practice care. Those same type of doctors who were once private, are oftentimes getting swallowed up by hospitals. The insurance premiums don’t pay what they used to, and they’re desperate to find a cash-paying resource to increase the revenue of their practice. Right now, one of the most popular services is skin tightening.
Palumbo: There’s a couple of different ways that skin tightening works. I’m seeing a lot of radio frequency-type devices that really work to rejuvenate the skin.
Also, microneedling has become the word of the day. The patients pay a premium for it. It’s a simple procedure for the doctors, and oftentimes a PA (physician’s assistant) or an NP (nurse practitioner) can do it for them. It brings a pretty hefty amount of revenue to the practice.
What we’re seeing more of a trend of is the doctors who historically did not offer aesthetic services getting into that game. Doctors like OB-GYNs, primary care doctors, internists, et cetera are all of a sudden buying these lasers and never really had to market for their practice, because those practices typically are referral-based or insurance-based.
Neyer: I know there’s a lot of patients out there that are looking for these types of services. How do you think they’re currently looking today? How should providers get in contact with them?
Palumbo: I think there’s a couple of different ways. One of them is critical for doctors to be active on social media. This type of clientele is oftentimes looking at doctors in multiple channels, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You need to be relevant. You need to have quality posts consistently — that’s definitely number one.
Number two, a really important piece, is having their website that’s conversion-optimized. Meaning if I go to the site, I want every single patient to understand those new services that are being offered, and have a simple and easy way to contact the practice about it.
Neyer: What are some common mistakes you’ve seen providers make when trying to advertise their new laser?
Palumbo: I think for the first part, doctors oftentimes will buy the laser and assume that just by having it patients are going to walk in the door. Perhaps they’ll put a billboard up out front or something in the office versus actually targeting patients who are looking for services.
Some of the mistakes I’ll see is them not even listing it on their website. When they have someone answering the phone call when someone’s calling to inquire, they’re not trained or are able to effectively sell that service.
Neyer: You want to bring new patients into the door, into the practice. What about existing patients? You still have to advertise your services to them. What should doctors do?
Palumbo: I think that, from the beginning, that’s the first place doctors try to start. Their existing clientele, their existing patient base already know and trust them.
Some of the best practices would be offering email campaigns to those clients to make sure that they’re aware of the new services that are being offered or consistently discussing promotions. Not to mention, I love when doctors put on their hold music when patients are calling in, “Now offering XYZ service at a special promotional offer.”
Lastly, most importantly, the doctors have a constant ability to inform the patients who are sitting in the waiting room: putting up a video, putting out flyers, putting out a book. It’s a great way to have someone pass the time, and understand that now if they want this laser hair removal, or maybe if they want the body tightening or body sculpting.
Neyer: Is it OK if a provider isn’t necessarily in a big metropolitan city? What if they’re in Kansas?
Palumbo: It’s a great question. I know everyone likes to think that New York, Miami, and LA are where all the aesthetics go. But I’ve got a couple practices in North Carolina, Alaska, Idaho.
Those patients, no matter where we are, human nature is you want to look better, you want to feel better. I’ll always be surprised when I see a doctor in a town of 3,000 buying a couple hundred grand in equipment, only to find out that those patients want the same thing we all do.
Yes, you’ll see doctors buying this equipment all across the board. Understand that there might be a smaller market, but chances are you’re only one of two, versus one of thousands of doctors who offer that in those small markets.
Neyer: Now, you mentioned promotions. Is it a good idea for providers to offer a discount on new aesthetic services that they’re offering?
Palumbo: I think pricing is definitely an interesting concept to talk about. People in general like a deal. Whether it’s Buy One, Get One Free or 20 percent off. Anytime you have some kind of promotion, make a decision today versus down the road; it’s very valuable.
If you had that person inquiring, and the normal price is $1,000 times three services, but you say, “If you sign up for three today, we will give it to you for $2,500.” That then sends the patient to make their decision now and obviously puts more revenue to the doctors pocket at that exact moment.
Neyer: Good call. Is there anything else you want to share with providers who are thinking about adding an aesthetic service to their practice?
Palumbo: Yes, if providers are looking into this service, they should definitely take a look at a couple of different companies that are offering them. Make a decision not just based on the best technology at the best price, but the company that’s going to tie in on the post-sale support. Offering additional marketing, whether it’s direct-to-consumer, whether it’s having one of those representatives come into your office for hosting events.
Most importantly, make sure you don’t skimp out on your web presence. At the end of the day, when patients are making the choices between one doctor and the next, some of the most important differentiating factors will be having great reviews, having an awesome website, and showing up highly through SEO.
Neyer: Perfect. Thank you so much for being here, and for talking about this topic.
Palumbo: Thanks for having me.
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