Now more than ever, creating and maintaining strong, well-curated online before-and-after (B&A) galleries is a pivotal part of any aesthetic practice’s marketing plan. Practice marketing on the visually rich and dynamic Internet requires B&A images that are as clear and compelling as the quality of the practice’s overall marketing message. This first of a three-part series of articles dedicated to the importance of patient photos, explores the reasons why good quality B&A photo documentation is crucial to practice success. The second and third installments will discuss best practices for taking patient photos, as well as HIPAA and related legalities attached to the use of patient photos in marketing materials, presentations, publications and/or online.
“From a sales and practice building perspective, an online treatment photo gallery is extremely valuable especially for practitioners that are just starting out,” said Gregory Mueller, M.D., F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., and inventor of the oVio360 system, which takes 360° patient photos. “It is the most popular page on your website.”
According to Claire Webb, senior manager of content strategy and operations at PatientPop (Santa Monica, Calif.), which specializes in practice growth solutions, online galleries have become essential, particularly in the aesthetic, beauty and health and wellness industries, as well as on social media.
“While aesthetic service providers have long been using before-and-after photos in their offices to demonstrate the kinds of results patients could expect, they’re now sharing those photos online to attract more new patients,” she said.
If physicians are to succeed with their B&A galleries as marketing tools, they must employ images and videos that tell patient stories, stated Candace Crowe, owner of Candace Crowe Design (Orlando, Fla.), and practice marketing expert.
“For my first plastic surgery client, I had to go into the practice and sit down with the patient care coordinator, and she went through a photo album with me. She was full of stories about these plastic surgery patients. I didn’t just see photographs, I heard captivating stories. In that way, it is so important that your photo gallery show that you honor and respect the patient first. The patients are the heroes of these stories. The practitioner is the guide and the hero of the practice.”
As noted by Ms. Webb, “Consumers love to learn the story behind drastic transformations, especially if they’re hoping for similar results for themselves.”
A physician’s skill level is often judged by the quality of his or her online gallery.
“From day one, even in my training at university, it was drilled into our heads – always have good photo documentation,” stated Dr. Mueller. “That was 20 years ago when all we had were 35 mm cameras. Today, many physicians use their phone. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it is critical in these hyper-competitive times to post more photos, and the more prominent they are on your website the better.”