It is safe to say that the majority of successful medical spa owners are interested in long-term, sustainable growth in addition to providing quality, compassionate care. Everyone in this field knows of an area medical spa that just keeps growing year after year, regardless of the economic or regulatory environment. It grows in profitability, patient count, and client satisfaction. For those around them on the outside looking in, they make it look so easy. But everyone knows the truth.
So what is the successful medical spa's secret? That's always been the million-dollar question. Although the answer is not the same for every medical spa in every market, based on my conversations and interactions with hundreds of successful medical spa owners, the principles are similar. In addition to a strong work ethic and a passion for clients, without exception, these medical spa owners understand their business must first and foremost be run on certain principles.
First, you must understand that your medical spa is a business and, therefore, it is subject to the same rules as any other business. This means someone in the practice must be paying attention to the bottom line. Said another way, someone must be responsible for optimizing the people, processes, and tools inside the business to find, serve, and keep more clients profitably. Period!
In years past, if a medical spa owner was interested in either launching or growing a medical spa, the blueprint was pretty straightforward.
- Offer an ever-growing list of treatments and procedures in the hope that the new menu will appeal to a wider audience.
- Hire additional staff members with a built-in following in the hope that those clients will become yours.
- Buy or lease new equipment not offered by other spas in the area to increase patient count or per-patient revenue.
- Do some sporadic, community-based marketing to increase practice awareness.
- Hope that your loyal patient base will provide you with a never-ending list of referrals.
All of these are good ideas, and each of them has a place in the growth strategy. As a serial entrepreneur with success in scaling multiple businesses, I have learned the most well intended strategies fail for one of two reasons:
Deficiency of knowledge: You just didn't know what to do.
Deficiency of execution: You just didn't follow through and DO IT.
Following are five simple tips that you can use today to get organized for growth in 2015.
1. We live in a digital age. Embrace it, don't disgrace it.
Research shows that more than 80% of new and existing medical spa patients use a search engine to choose a treatment or a provider. If that's true, then we have to accept that all roads go through your website. When was the last time you upgraded your content, images, navigation or videos? At an absolute minimum, you must have a mobile responsive website that automatically formats to every desktop, laptop and mobile device.
2. Incorporate online optimization (SEO).
Simply stated, this is how you can drive visitors to your website. You often hear people talk about keywords. Think of it this way: What are the five or six most profitable treatments or procedures that you offer, and who (age, gender, location) would most likely be willing to pay for them? This should form the basis for your optimization strategy. It is very difficult to be all things to all people. This is a good place to start.
3. Increase per-patient revenue.
In addition to new patients, you can't ignore the potential growth from increasing per-patient revenue. So the big questions are:
Who do you have in your database?
Do you have ALL their updated contact information, including valid e-mail addresses?
What treatments and procedures are they currently utilizing? WHY? You offer many products and procedures to complement patients' existing beauty regimens, and you have a responsibility to help them understand their value. This is often referred to as cross-selling. The key is finding the right software tool to manage and automate the right communication from you to your new and existing patients.
Who is responsible for the process of gathering emails and updating the database?
4. Set a social media strategy.
Today's is a digitally-connected, social world and social media sites are a great way to increase your medical spa's visibility. Caution: An occasional post on Facebook does not qualify as an effective social media strategy. Don't believe the hype. Success with social media is about consistency and frequency. As a medical spa marketer, you should be thinking about Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus - and if you have time, Instagram. I know it seems like a lot. That is why most successful practices outsource this function to folks who know what to say, when to say it AND have tools to automate the process to make sure it gets done right. This is more about hard work than it is glitz and glamour, although the latter does have a place in your strategy.
5. Learn from your analytics.
Like I said at the beginning, your medical spa is a business first and foremost. Someone must be paying attention to what is working and what needs to improve. Put a system in place to receive regular monthly reports on ALL revenue-generating activity. If you're like me and hate looking at reports, THAT'S A PROBLEM. Learn to embrace the process of constant improvement. You will learn to accept the reports and love the story they are telling you. After a while, you will love the feeling of liberation you get from no longer having to guess about how to improve your business. You will KNOW.
I know that to some this list will feel like an oversimplification, and to others the list will feel overwhelming. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, this list assumes that you love your clients and want to provide them with a superior medical spa experience. If that's not happening, you won't need to worry about this or any other list for very long.
The start of a new year is always an exciting time for passionate medical spa owners to continue marketing practices from the previous year that drove significant growth, as well as an opportunity to evaluate and make adjustments to strategies that could use some attention. Remember: As the owner/manager, you alone have the capacity to grow your medical spa in 2015. Your medical spa can only be as profitable as you envision it.—Tim Sawyer
Sawyer is cofounder and president of Crystal Clear Digital Marketing and has more than a decade of digital marketing experience.