If you are starting up an aesthetic business, it is just like any other company where the goal is to build up your client base so you can make a profit. This means that you’ll need a proper business plan, a full understanding of the aesthetic industry, and have completed certified BOTOX® Cosmetic training so you can provide this valuable service.
Beyond the basics, there are some important steps you’ll need to take so that your business has the best chance of success. Here are a few tips that will help you get started the right way so that you can avoid obvious issues and improve your chances at success.
Get Expert Help
One of the simplest, yet most important tasks you will need to perform is getting an expert or consultant to advise you on your aesthetic business. Ideally, they should have personal experience in creating and managing such a practice so they can relay their first-hand information to you. If experience is the best teacher, then having someone who is experienced teach you means avoiding many of the pitfalls that doom aesthetic practices. Having an expert means answering important questions like the following;
- What are the full startup costs?
- How the daily operations work, including hiring and training staff?
- What regulatory issues are present for aesthetic practices?
- Where is the best location to start my business?
- What marketing techniques have worked in the past?
- Creating a plan for growth?
- How to hire the right type of people for my staff?
- How malpractice insurance works?
An expert can answer all these questions, so you should start by hiring them as a consultant to your business and keep them around as long as they are needed. It’s the type of expense that pays for itself many times over as you learn effective strategies, understand the business model, and avoid making mistakes.
Finding the Best Place for Your Office
It’s all about location which means that you’ll need the perfect balance of accessibility, rental price, and space so you have the room to grow. You will need to consider several factors when choosing the right location.
- Visible & Accessible
- High Traffic Area
- Good Public Parking
- Safe, Secure Location
- Near Public Transportation
- Clean, Well Lit, and Attractive Building
- Near Similar Practices
Obviously, you may not check off all the requirements, but the place you choose will need to have most of these factors in place. Otherwise, your business will never get off the ground no matter your efforts.
Bright, Clean Office
Perhaps the most powerful impression that your patients will take away from your office is its cleanliness. There is something about a clean, tidy office and treatment areas that makes a potent impression that patients will appreciate and read into the efforts as your dedication to them.
Hire the Right Receptionist
The person you hire should be warm, receptive, understanding, and efficient in their work. It is a delicate balancing act, but the right person does so much to help invite new patients and keep your current cliental happy. You may have noticed other practices have the same receptionist for five, ten, twenty, or more years all because they create the right first impression that welcomes those new to your practice and keeps them coming back.
Create a Proper Traffic Flow
Now that you have your location, the next step is setting up your office. You’ll want to design it with foot traffic flow in mind sot that your patients can move from the reception area into the treatment areas and back as easily as possible. This means avoiding bottlenecks, sharp corners, and other obstacles so that people can get through. Keep in mind that you’ll also need enough space for wheelchairs and equipment to get through as well.
While you do not have to put on a show, your approach should strive to ensure that you engage and entertain those who you are treating. It’s putting on your best face even if it’s not your best day and the same should be true for your staff. Everyone in your office should be dedicated to engaging and listening to those who come in for your services so they feel comfortable and want to be there.
Aesthetics for your Aesthetic Business
The most powerful impression that your business will make on patients is when they first walk through the door. The appearance of your reception area is crucial to your success. This means that you’ll need to take special care to create a calm, positive atmosphere so that patients will feel comfortable. This means that soft music should be playing at a low volume, the color scheme should avoid colors like yellows and reds while emphasizing blues and greens, and the seating should be functional and provide a little personal space so there is no discomfort.
You don’t want to go overboard with the flowers or plants. Think about decorations as accents, enough to create a strong impression, but not so many that they cause the area to look cluttered. Clean lines should be your goal when designing your reception area.
As part of your aesthetic business, the importance of having Botox Training to learn the finer points of this popular cosmetic treatment should be known to your patients. The proper training in the use of Botox is key to its successful application.
How to Promote Your Aesthetic Business
With so many independent medical practices popping up in urban and even suburban areas, it is important for those in the aesthetic business to understand how to market their services effectively. Marketing itself is more than just placing ads, you will need to develop a comprehensive plan so that your aesthetic business not only takes off, but continues to build up your patient base.
As part of your overall promotional effort, you should promote Botox as part of your services which has proven to be quite popular. In addition, you will have learned a considerable amount in starting up your practice the right way.
You will need to use traditional media which includes television, print, and radio, along with online media channels to get the word out. However, you will also need to back up your marketing by providing excellent customer service and improving the overall quality of your aesthetic services so that you keep and grow the number of patients through word of mouth which is the most valuable of all marketing techniques.
Hiring a Marketing Firm
While a marketing firm will charge you a fee for their services, what they provide will bring in far more than what you pay. This is because few in your profession have the time to plan and execute a proper medical spa marketing plan, so hiring a marketing firm means they do the work of creating strategic goals, setting up your advertising on the right channels, and promote your business properly so that it reaches the most number of potential clients or patients in your community.
The right marketing firm will also provide sound advice on how you should handle the advertising aspect that you control through the internet and working with your patients.
Marketing on the Internet
You will need to have an attractive, easy-to-navigate website that offers more than just your services. The website should provide valuable information about your profession so that it becomes a place that your patients and those thinking of using your services will check out. A good website should include the following;
- List of Options & Treatments
- Office Hours & Contact Information
- Creating Interactive, On-Line Appointment Booking
- Good, Informative Content
- Record Tracking for Patients
You should also make the website Search Engine Optimized (SEO), especially for the local community, so those that have never heard of your practice can find it easily on the internet when searching for your services. Once you have built your website, you should look over how you approach marketing your practice. The key to being successful is the combination of effective advertising, building web traffic, and excellent customer service.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how people find your practice online. It is putting the keywords or key phrases that people use in searching for your services inside the content of your website. The use of keywords such as Botox training can bring people to your site, but that is only part of the marketing effort.
Think User Friendly: Your website needs to be as user-friendly as possible. This means that access to all information should be apparent and easy to find. This means creating a clear, concise, and informative site that skimps on the flash and instead offers a straightforward presentation that does not confuse the visitor. There are too many practices that lose potential patients because their websites were too confusing for visitors to understand.
Social Media: Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are essential for helping to spread the word about your practice and keeping current patients informed. It is, however, rather time-consuming, so you might want to hire a social media marketing team. This may be from the same firm that handles your overall marketing efforts.
Testimonials & Reviews: This is a common way to help promote your practice once visitors have reached your website. A few good reviews and solid testimonials provide additional emphasis on the quality of services your practice provides and helps people make the decision of whether to use your services.
You also will want to take full advantage of traditional media sources, such as television, radio, and newspapers. They are often the best ways to get the word out about your practice. Flyers, newsletters, and other forms of local advertising will also help establish your presence.
Excel at Customer Service
No matter the amount of advertising you purchase or exceptional marketing strategies that you employ, the success of your practice will come down to how you treat your patients and the success of the methods that are used. Customer satisfaction is the primary means of survival for your practice, so you will need to make sure that patients walk out the door feeling like they have been through a positive experience.
Keep in mind that even if they do not write a review or provide a testimonial, the results they experience from being in your practice will be noticed by others. This means that from the moment the patient walks in the door until they leave, your customer service efforts should keep them pleased and patient through the process.
Show Personal Interest: It’s important that you learn their name, a little about their family, and the interests that they have. You do not have to memorize everything, but you do want to get to know them because it demonstrates that you care. It’s the little things like remembering their name as they walk in the door or sending them a birthday card that keeps you in their mind.
Get Back to Them Quickly: If they express a concern, address it as soon as possible. You are not only providing valuable information, but also easing their mind by demonstrating your concern.
Be Kind & Respectful: Always show a high degree of concern and empathy for your patients. Remember, what is routine to you may be new to them, so treat them accordingly. This means not being judgmental, but instead showing concern for their wellbeing.
The better you are at working with your patients, the better your practice will flourish. Keep in mind that marketing is not just telling people about your practice, but treating your patients properly so that they will tell others as well.
How to Get Patient Reviews
Reviews written by your patients is one of the most effective means of establishing your reputation and earning new customers through this modified form of word-of-mouth advertising. While it may not be quite as good as hearing it from the patient’s own lips, their reviews speak volumes to those who are considering your services.
In fact, most people surveyed would not choose a new doctor unless they read at least one patient review to get a better idea of the practitioner, their office staff, the effectiveness of treatments, and the overall atmosphere to see if it makes a comfortable fit for their needs. In searching for a doctor or dentist, you might have done the same thing in reading over their reviews from patients.
Getting Patients to Write Reviews
Unfortunately, getting patients to write a testimonial for your website can be difficult at best. Most people simply do not leave reviews behind unless they had a really bad experience which is something that as a doctor you will have to address. Getting positive reviews is difficult for several reasons, one of which is trying to walk the fine line that lies between mentioning it to a patient and hoping they are inclined to write one on your behalf. Going a little over one way or another may mean not getting them to write a review at all.
Plus, there are the HIPAA regulations that govern just what doctors can and cannot do in terms of promoting their practice, so many refuse to do any prodding because they feel it might cross that line. However, there are proven methods you can use to help get patients who are satisfied with the results they receive to write a positive review without violating HIPAA regulations.
Gather Information for First Visit
If a patient is visiting you for the first time or you have not asked current patients for this information, ask them how they use the internet. As part of the questioning process, you can ask if they have participated in review websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List. And, you can add social media use, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It’s also helpful to know if they run their own blog as well.
Another question you can ask is whether your website was helpful in the research they used for your practice or the procedure that was performed.
The reason why you want to ask these questions is that when you are ready to ask them if they will share their experience with your practice online, you can refer to the answers that they gave. The more boxes they check off in the list of choices you gave them, the more likely they are to be socially active on the internet and thus more likely to post a review.
Make It a Favor
Instead of asking for a review, asked them for a favor which will make a better impact on the patient. You are appealing to their good will when asking them for a favor about posting a review. You should couple the favor with telling them that you value their feedback about the experience and to share that with others, so they can take heed of their words as well.
Make sure that your website allows them to post without using their name, so they can remain anonymous. That will help you get more reviews on your site and other review sites, such as Yelp if you see that they have checked that off on their questionnaire.
Add a Deadline
When people do not act quickly on the favor that you ask, they tend not to do it at all. It’s only human nature to be forgetful, so the sooner they post the review, the better. You can remind them of this when they accept your favor by telling them, “Great, I’ll be looking for it tonight.” That is a gentle reminder that can work wonders in pressing them to post a review without being harsh or critical.
If you inform patients through email about appointments, you can include a request for a review with the next email that you send. Whether you schedule another appointment or send them follow-up information, including a request or favor to post a review about their last experience with you is one more way to get them to write a review for you and your practice.
Keep in mind that putting the question in your email should not be obvious, but it needs to be visible so that they will see it. This means putting it near the bottom and couched as a favor so that they are more likely to respond.
Business Review Card
An easy way to remind the patient about posting a review is providing them with a simple business review card that is part of the package they leave your office with after the appointment. It can be a small business card or somewhat larger, but it needs to contain the URL or link that takes patients to the review site of your choice, whether it is your own website or an independent one like Yelp or Angie’s List.
The cards themselves are inexpensive and just like business cards you can order them in the hundreds so that you have plenty on hand. It’s one more reminder of their promise to post a review that is done in a friendly way. Plus, you can have contact information and even have their next appointment noted on the card as well.
By doing the little things in reminding patients about posting reviews, you can increase the number you have considerably which may make a big difference to your practice. Plus, it puts you and your staff on notice to improve areas of what you do to make an even better impression on your patients, so it is a win-win for everyone.