Aesthetics marketing: How to turn your clinic into a patient-generating machine

Your practice is running, you have patients from word of mouth, or from an occasional campaign. But how do you kick it up so your practice has a full pipeline of potential dream patients?

  (photo credit: Joshua Polsky)
(photo credit: Joshua Polsky)

With years of experience marketing small local businesses, and many aesthetic clinics, we found that there are certain marketing activities that are beneficial for your clinic, as well as ones that are crucial and unavoidable if you want to succeed online. We at 3 Door Aesthetic Marketing understand that in the end, your clinic is a business, and anything we can do to help you grow, we are happy to help.

Identify your target audience

The first step to successfully market yourself, no matter what niche or industry you are in, is to understand who your ideal patient is. 

Think about it…when you know your ideal patient inside and out, what they experience on a day-to-day basis, their fears, their joy, where they hang out online and in real life, where they went to school, what they like to eat, their age, and anything else that could possibly help you create a persona, you’ll know exactly how to relate to them with text and imagery. When you relate to them, you gain their trust. 

And only when someone trusts you, can you sell to them. 

Create patient personas, give them a name, a gender, and an age range. Then, when planning a marketing activity, ask yourself, “Would Jenny respond to this?” It sounds a little funny, but it works. 

To gather this info, use as many sources as possible. This includes analyzing demographic data, market research reports, and trends in online search behavior. Additionally, you can conduct surveys or focus groups with current and potential patients to better understand their needs and preferences. 

Dig up as much as you can now because it will serve you later. 

Analyze the competition

Understand what other aesthetic practices are doing in your area with their online marketing efforts. This can help you identify gaps and opportunities in your own strategy.

Search for them the way you would if you were a patient. Think about the words you’d use in a search, then click the links in both organic search results and paid ads. See what the pages look like when you click through and what they’re offering. How does the ad text read? Read their blogs, and experience the customer journey on their website. Is it easy to navigate? Compare it to yours. Do you/they make booking a consultation easy?  

If your competition is successful, don’t reinvent the wheel, borrow theirs and make it better.

Create a strong brand image

Ask yourself, what do I represent? As aesthetic practices, the general themes we gravitate towards are elegance, precision, beauty, and confidence. Choose the colors, fonts, and imagery that best portray your perception of those ideas. Look at other businesses that aren’t in your niche, that still speak to the same audiences. Brands like luxury cars, clothing, jewelry…what do they all have in common? 

Through consistent visual branding and messaging, you’ll be able to develop a brand tone and voice that resonates with your target audience.

Develop a strong website that is easy to navigate, mobile friendly, visually appealing, and offers value

Your website is your calling card. It’s where people come to find out more about you, and you need to put your best foot forward. This is the hub of your patient journey, and if done right, it can be a patient-generating machine. 

It needs to do 3 things well:

  • Show who you are
  • Provide value to the visitor
  • Make it easy for them to contact you

Your website is a reflection of you, and like it or not, your visitors will judge within the first 2-3 seconds of coming to your site whether or not you are the one for them. This is where a strong brand comes in. Your colors and imagery will hook them to want to continue reading. From there, you need pages for each procedure you sell, and those pages need to be engaging and show off your best work. 

Providing value doesn’t just mean you give them stuff for free. It also means you answer every question they might have in regard to the procedure in question. By telling them the in’s and out’s of the procedure, what’s involved, recovery time, what to expect from you, and any other frequently asked questions, you are guiding them towards becoming your patient. You can even offer a free "Photoshop" online tool that allows potential patients to visualize what they would look like after a procedure.

Now all they need to do is reach out for a consultation. 

However some practices don’t make it obvious and just have a place at the bottom of the site to “contact us”. Be obvious. On each page, have a custom form that talks about that individual procedure that they are interested in. Or even better, just have an automated booking calendar where they can schedule their consultation and you don’t even have to follow up with them to book it or chase them down to remind them they have a consultation with you. 

Claim your business listing in online directories

It’s important to be as present as possible in any place people search for businesses. They can be general ones such as Yelp, Google Business Profile, and Angie's List, or niche specific ones like Healthgrades and RealSelf. These directories increase visibility and build credibility.

Make sure your contact information is accurate and up-to-date, and consistent across all profiles down to the last letter. For example, don’t put the word “street” in your address on one profile, and abbreviate it to “St.” in another. This confuses search results. 

Speaking of the aforementioned Google Business Profile, build out and optimize yours to the fullest. Flesh it out with pictures of the clinic and you and your staff, put accurate hours of operation, make sure your contact info and web address are current, put short posts about promotions and other goings-on, and of course gather and monitor your reviews. 

The more good reviews you have, the higher you will appear in local searches when someone searches for a clinic in their area. You can, and should, ask for reviews after procedures, and even have a page for it on your site. Make it easy for your best patients to compliment you. 

Not only that, but if (or when, let’s be honest because that’s life) you get a negative review, by addressing it in an empathetic and human tone, you show the world that you care about your patients, and that gains trust. 

Target the right keywords (SEO)

AI tools like Bard and ChatGPT are altering the search results landscape, but for now, organic rankings for your best keywords are still important. 

Yes, the big keywords that everyone goes after are still important because there is high search volume. However, you can and should go after longer keywords that address more specific concepts as well. Is it good to rank for “nose job new york city”? Of course, but there is less intent with that phrase than there is with “doctor that specializes in deviated septum new york city”. The person searching for the latter is much more likely to convert to a paying patient. 

Create a social media presence

There are billions of people on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Post regularly and engage with your followers to build a loyal audience. The more you talk to them, the more they will like you. And when they like you, they’ll trust you. 

Aesthetic practices are especially active on Instagram. Since aesthetics is a visual niche, you need to show off your experience and precision, and Insta is a great place to do that. Show your audience what you can do, especially with before and after images or videos for procedures they want to do for themselves. 

Invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

With paid ads, you can drive traffic to your website and social media pages by using targeted keywords and demographic information to get in front of your dream patient. With the use of AI on the rise, invest in platforms that use these technologies and take your campaigns to the next level to get even more granular with who you target and how. Utilize location-based targeting to reach people in specific geographic areas. All of these methods grow your audience so you can retarget them with even more specific campaigns that push them further down the marketing funnel. The further down the funnel they get, the more ready they’ll be when you make them an irresistible offer. 

Email List = Free Traffic

Russel Brunson, the founder of Clickfunnels, breaks down traffic into two main kinds: The kind you buy (like ads and SEO), and the kind you own. You own your email list, and you can market to them however you want, within the confines of the law of course. Build an email list of interested prospects by offering up valuable content. You’ve been there, you enter your email to get a PDF, and then you get updates and specials, or even just articles. 

We recommend sending only valuable content to your email list, and maybe once every nine or ten emails, offer up a special or promo. This way, you stay in their head as the expert, and when it’s time for them to choose an aesthetic practice, you are the obvious choice.Once your list is big enough, you can segment email subscribers based on the type of content they were looking at when they first got on your list, and send automated campaigns related only to nose jobs, botox, or veneers. 

Use influencer marketing 

Since most of us are on Insta, find people that have the ears and eyes of your target market. Reach out to fashionistas, famous personal trainers, and mommy bloggers, for example. Offer them something for free, or give them a cut of every person that comes to you from them, and get them to talk about you on their social channels. Now of course, you don’t just snap your fingers and this happens. You need to approach them the way you’d want to be approached. Talk to them, find common interests, don’t just make it all about getting what you want out of them. 

Target higher-value patients 

Focus on attracting patients who are willing to spend more money on services. What are your highest earning procedures? Make content about them, make them the focus of your online efforts, and it will bring you more of those types of patients. 

Stay connected with previous patients 

Regular follow-up and personalized communication builds trust and encourages repeat business. Increase the lifetime value of your past patients by offering discounts and referral programs. Plus, you can send out email campaigns asking for reviews, which builds your online brand and moves you up in local rankings. 

There is no shortage of activities you can implement to build yourself online and reap the benefits of it to increase new (and existing) patient generation. Some of them are really easy and can be done by your in-house back office staff. Some are a bit more technical, so it would be best to reach out to a reliable marketer that understands the aesthetics industry. 

Good luck!

Bio Section

Joshua Polsky is the general manager of 3 Door Aesthetics, a marketing agency that focuses on marketing medical aesthetic practices. He has over 20 years of experience in the marketing industry, and has helped countless local businesses and multiple plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and medspas grow their businesses through online marketing.

Josh specializes in lead generation via content creation, targeted ads, website optimization, email marketing, and marketing automation, and has a deep understanding of the customer journey and how to give the target audience exactly what they need, when they need it, creating a win-win situation between our clients and their patients. 

If you are looking to fill your patient pipeline and skyrocket your medical aesthetic practice revenue, book a no-strings consultation with Josh today.

This article was written in cooperation with 3 Door Aesthetics