Even established, successful practices can have a hard time introducing and selling new products in today’s information-saturated world. Consumers are bombarded with services, discounts, offers and promotions for things they may or may not need everywhere they look. So, how do you get through to them? What will make them choose your product or service over the rest? What if you tried giving it away for free?
A well-tried model to spark potential patients’ interest is to offer a large discount. While this will likely bring in a few people, perhaps even a lot, rarely will it have any real impact on your sales in the long run, and most practices cannot afford to consistently offer steep discounts.
What you have instead is a lot of traffic for little to no profit and less time on your calendar for the profit-making appointments.
Think of the 70% off Groupon promotion – sure, the clients will come in, but probably only once. They will likely go and find another Groupon deal for their next visit, which means you are left with time and effort spent, and no money to show for it. Needless to say, this is not a sustainable model.
It is time you turn your focus towards a different model: the cross-promotion. A cross-promotion, or gift with purchase, allows you to give people what they want for free, but as a reward for trying something new that you want to sell them.
This strategy has proven profitable, especially with women, who make up about 90% of the aesthetic industry’s patient base. The model is a great way to build ancillary services, promote new services and get patients to try products they may not have otherwise tried.
The most successful way to utilize this strategy is to integrate it as part of your Annual Marketing Plan (AMP). It should be combined with the two other essential AMP strategies – Social Media Integration and Quarterly Sales Events – and you should aim to do a cross-promotion special every month to keep your dedicated clients coming back on a consistent basis.
To get the response you desire, your value-added offer needs to value at least a 20% savings, which is enough to make it worthwhile for your patients, while not economically devastating for you.
When deciding which products to give away, consider making it a service that the non-physician staff can do, such as neurotoxin and fillers. You can also choose what is most profitable; a physician, staff or patient favorite; or simply something you want to sell more of. However, make sure to take into consideration the seasonal appeal of the product, and if it is a product that is already popular with your patients.
Another overlooked, but significant, effect of the cross-promotion strategy is that it will give you two talking points per month throughout the year, whereas a regular discount offer will give you one.
Cross-promotions create twice as many opportunities to inform and educate your current and future patients. That is twice as many ways to start a conversation and generate leads, twice as many blog subjects, twice as many potential ways to grab people’s attention.
So, start by looking at your AMP. Then ask yourself, which services do you really want to grow? What areas are most profitable for you? The answers to these questions will determine which procedures, treatments and/or products will be the best for your company’s next 12 cross-promotions.
About the Author:
Ms. Smith has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, day spa owner, medical spa CFO, business consultant and national speaker. She is currently the founder and CFO of Projected Growth Consulting, a team of industry professionals who understand every challenge facing medspas and plastic surgery practices.