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Practice Marketing, Advertising and PR

By: Krista Bourne and Trish Stack
Posted: January 28, 2010, from the November 2009 issue of
Billboard

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Select the best type of media to attract your audience. Almost all media avenues, from print—magazines, newspapers and billboards, to broadcast—radio and television, will have market data available that reports demographics about your target audience, such as age, income range and gender. Simply ask the media company salesperson for this information, and it will be provided for you. Keep in mind that the rules of advertising are not the same for the Internet. Again, you will need to think about the target audience, but the way to determine the market data is different, such as how many clickthroughs or page visits the site gets. If you are not confident using this technology, consider working with a professional before deciding to use this advertising channel.

Plan a thoughtful advertising strategy. It is a general rule that people must see something three to five times before they consciously recognize seeing it. When applied to advertising, this means that one advertisement alone will not be as effective as multiple ads in the same media channel. The strategy will help you decide how much money you will need to spend on the specific media placement that will have the greatest impact on your target audience. Some businesses may choose to work with an advertising firm to assist them in creating a strategy and others will create their own. This step is critical.

Q: Do I use a separate brand for the medical aesthetic section of the practice?

A: A brand is the line upon which all the marketing, advertising and public relations tools must be built; it is a common thread that can either help a medical practice be successful or cause it to fail. A strong branding effort is important so that everything is consistent in style, look and feel. Unless you or someone on your staff has a good working knowledge of graphic design programs, you may want to consider enlisting the support of a local marketing or design firm or freelancer to refresh or create the branding for your business. Ask around and get bids from and interviews with multiple marketing companies before deciding who you want to work with for branding. The designs should then be incorporated into every marketing piece associated with your practice.

There are numerous examples of successful practices that embrace separate branding, and as many examples of successful practices that do not. The key is how the brand is promoted to the public and your patients. If there are two brands, ensure that there are some marketing materials that highlight both. Co-marketing of the two brands can help build recognition for both sets of patients.

Q: How can the safety and quality of medical aesthetic services be promoted?

A: The most important way to do this is to make sure that your practice is up to the highest medical standards in your area. Look at your facility through the eyes of your patients. From the moment you enter your office, is the experience elegant and professional? Do your staff members project safety and quality in their appearance by wearing clean uniforms and having neat hairstyles? Do they warmly communicate with knowledge and confidence? Take time to lie on the treatment bed and see what your patient sees—is there a tangle of electrical wires on the floor? Are there cobwebs in the ceiling corners? Are the back bar products and other implements clean, neat and orderly, or hidden inside a cupboard? Each piece of equipment should be spotless and all accessories should be well-maintained, so if your laser safety glasses are cracked, have them replaced. An unsafe or negative experience had by one patient who shares it with family and friends will dramatically outweigh any amount of marketing, advertising or public relations in which you’ve invested.