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The Success Profile—A Guide to Telling, Not Selling

By: Tracy L. Drumm
Posted: September 1, 2010, from the September 2010 issue of
Plastic surgery practice postcard

When put together correctly, the combination of patients' before-and-after images and interview quotes in a profile can be a bold, incisive marketing effort for a medical aesthetic practice that is useful in a variety of formats.

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Abstract: Selling your services to new patients can be extremely difficult, so creating a marketing strategy that tells the story of your practice through past patients can be a wise move. By offering potential patients an idea of what they can expect and gain from working with your practice by building past patient profiles, you begin to create a dialogue with them that is a major part of today’s communication system.

It’s a simple fact: No one wants to be sold to. When it comes to advertisements and promotions, consumers are inundated with hundreds of messages a day. From text message alerts to Twitter promotions, there is more competition than ever vying for your market’s attention and hard-earned dollars. So how do you remain competitive and ensure your message is heard in a market screaming with claims, including some that tout unrealistic results?

Simply put, you revert to one of the oldest methods of communicating: You tell a story. No one wants to hear a sales pitch, but everyone loves to hear narratives of people’s journeys and personal triumphs. It is the basic premise of reality TV and even the secret behind the explosion of social media. Modern consumers are looking for more than swift slogans and catchy sales jargon. They seek and ultimately respond to communication and marketing that is realistic, engaging and relationship-driven.

In what could be called a patient profile campaign, you can restructure your approach to reaching patients by sharing the stories of those who are advocates for your practice. These profiles can feature nonsurgical or surgical treatments, creating a platform from which your practice ambassadors can speak. Profiles bridge the results patients see with how they feel following their procedures. Before-and-after pictures are effective at showcasing physical results; however, the emotional transformation that takes place for a patient is typically absent from these photos. For your marketing efforts, the chapters of the story you want to tell consist of before-and-after photographs, a real-life after picture and answers to interview questions.

The how-to

Begin with the end goal in mind, and identify the top treatments you want showcased. Next, find five to 10 patients thrilled with their treatment outcomes. When contacting these patients, let them know their results were so great that your office has chosen them to be among a select few to be featured in a campaign by the practice. Many patients are flattered to be asked, and even if they decline they typically appreciate being considered.