Practice Checkup

Annual Practice Marketing Review

Just as people need annual checkups as well as healthy daily habits to operate at their peak, medspas and aesthetic practices should conduct regular evaluations to ensure their businesses are in the best possible shape. While some areas of attention need to be as routine as, say, brushing our teeth, others can be tended to on a slightly less frequent basis, much like annual health screenings. With this in mind, what follows are some of the most important professional considerations—from your facility’s outward appearance to branding and marketing efforts—that will benefit from ongoing, as well as occasional, scrutiny.

Daily Review

You may not notice subtle changes to a person’s appearance if you see them every day. Similarly, it’s easy to miss a gradual shift in your office’s visual appeal. But failing to take a frequent and critical look at your facility can lead to a steady decline that patients will most certainly observe—and this will affect their perception of your practice. So, make a point of assessing and addressing each of the following areas every day:

Front Entrance. The landscaping and walkways to your doors, as well as whether your windows sparkle, are critical to your curb appeal. After all, these details are the first that visitors see—so whether it’s dirt and debris or a layer of dust, keep all points of entry well-groomed, clean and free of clutter.

Reception Area. Interior wear and tear can also creep up on you, and you must catch it before it becomes apparent to patients. To that end, give the paint, flooring and furniture a quick glance upon arrival. Meanwhile, if you have magazines, service menus, business cards or other printed materials at the front desk or on tables, make sure they’re neatly organized (and not outdated), well stocked and clearly displayed.

Retail Space. If you sell products in your office, check that merchandising displays are well stocked, dust-free and beautifully presented. If you offer testers, make sure the containers are all clean and full, and that you have plenty of applicators available.

Social Media. Whether your patients tend to be more active on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, be sure to post to at least one of your accounts daily. From an evergreen, inspirational quote to details of a new service or special promotion, it’s a quick and simple way to remain top of mind with existing as well as prospective patients.

Annual Review

Things change quickly in this industry, from the types of people seeking out your services to new research findings, product developments and treatment protocols. To ensure ongoing success, devote one month each year to evaluating these bigger-picture aspects of your business:

Branding. Whether it’s the patients you serve, the treatments you offer or how you want to be perceived by the public, there are plenty of reasons to update your brand. Perhaps your practice began under a general dermatology umbrella, but you’ve since added medspa services or a specialty clinic focusing on acne or antiaging. Or maybe you’re preparing to launch a new private-label skincare line. These could all call for distinct brand extensions that each share a similar style with your brand umbrella.

For example, a brand umbrella may be RosenMD Dermatology. Under that umbrella, Dr. Rosen could create several brand extensions, including RosenRX Skincare, Rosen MedSpa and RosenMD Acne Clinic.

On the other hand, if your practice identity has narrowed or shifted it focus significantly, it may be time to rebrand completely. For instance, a plastic surgeon who started out specializing in facelifts for women in their 50s to 70s with sizable disposable incomes may now specialize in noninvasive treatments serving a younger patient base with a wider income range.

Website. As one of your most important sales tools, your website should showcase current photos and profiles of your practice and your staff, and include before-and-after photos of patients, as well as educational materials on your current offerings.

Any changes—be it your address, contact information, staff or services—should be reflected as soon as they occur. After all, if your website isn’t current, your practice will seem out of date as well. So, update your website regularly and invest in a redesign every two to three years.

Service Menu. Review your service menu to make sure it includes all current offerings—and none that have been discontinued or renamed.

Public Relations. If you want to be recognized as a leader in your field, reaching out to media outlets is a must. Check these contacts once a year to make sure any press releases or details about your expertise, offerings, open houses and specials are reaching the right people. Also research new media in your area on an annual basis. Then, contact them to introduce yourself and find out who should be alerted to news about your practice.

Referral Network. As with press contacts, maintain a current list of referring physicians and other professional peers, and seek out new businesses that may be a good fit for cross promotions in your area (think: high-end boutiques, health centers or beauty salons). Check to make sure you have the right phone and email information. You might also want to set up a time to talk and share (or remind them of) your credentials and services. You can also discuss sharing your menu with their patrons or coordinating open house events. Likewise, are there local charities you’ve worked with in the past, or new ones to explore? Contact them and offer products or gift cards for their events, or mention that you’re available to speak at events and provide sponsorships or gifts for raffles. Reaching out, even once a year, can lead to all sorts of new opportunities and keep your business top of mind.

Cheryl Whitman is founder and CEO of Beautiful Forever, an aesthetic business consulting firm. Contact her at [email protected], 561.299.3909.

Image copyright Getty Images

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