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waiting too long and need to review the methods used for scheduling follow-up appointments and treatments. If your rooms are constantly filled, it may be owing to the fact that too much time is being devoted to each patient, or you need more rooms. You may need additional staff, a larger facility, or perhaps a satellite clinic in another location to manage the additional patient flow. The reverse may also be that your fees

are set too low so that you are seeing too many patients, but not generating enough profit. Patient flow or the number of treatments performed is not the best indicator of success. It is less important than the average revenue generated by each treatment, and the profit margin. No clinic can ever be too busy to take

on new patients. Patients move, lose their jobs and/or homes, and switch to another practitioner for reasons beyond anyone’s control. Therefore, every business is always in need of new customers and more revenue.

Failing to keep good staff An experienced and qualified clinic manager, nurse, medical aesthetician, or receptionist, are always in high demand. If your clinic is fortunate to have been able to attract good people who are talented, p r o f e s s i o n a l , ethical,


committed, it is imperative to keep them happy and on board. Turnover is not only expensive and stressful, but it also tarnishes the reputation of the clinic.

It takes

and their passion for gardening or horses. This continuum of care speaks to the culture of the clinic. As a result, the next time your receptionist asks for an extra day off or a pay-rise, think twice before saying ‘no’: she may be harder to replace than you realise.

Underestimating the competition One of the first tasks a marketer is trained to undertake is to assess the competition. For example, ask any medical device company executive who their top competitors are and they should be able to respond — without hesitation — with an overview of what companies are selling similar systems to aesthetic practitioners at a comparable price point, and what bells and whistles each of them has to offer. They will also be able to recite chapter and verse on what their device’s unique selling points (USP) are to differentiate them from the competition. The same should apply to an aesthetic

If your clinic is fortunate to have been

able to attract good people who are talented,

professional, ethical, and

valuable time away from the business of managing and growing a clinic to frequently recruit, interview, and train new staff. Additionally, losing someone good to your competition can hurt financially and damage staff morale. Aesthetic medicine is a highly

on board.Turnover is not only expensive and stressful, but it also

tarnishes the reputation of the clinic.

committed, it is imperative to keep them happy and

clinic in theory. Consider it this way; if a consumer comes into your clinic interested in having a wrinkle filler treatment and does not book in to have it done, where is it most likely that he or she ends up having it done, if not with you? It could be the n e i g h b o u r i n g clinic, where the same treatment is offered for a lower price; or it could be a larger clinic in the nearest city, where a wider selection of


treatments are available; or it could be a practitioner in the next town, who has a growing following as a result of a hefty

advert campaign. How well do you know your

personalised form of medicine. Patients like to see a familiar face when they come into your clinic.They appreciate someone who calls them by name and remembers their children, the name of their dog,

competition? You need to know how your practice is different or better than other specialists, and in particular, other clinics in your geographic region. To identify the internal and external factors that affect your clinic, take a moment to perform a simple analysis — known as a SWOT analysis — of your strengths and weaknesses (Table 2). The next step

would then be to identify potential opportunities and threats.

Conclusions Investing in a comprehensive, expertly designed and well-executed clinic marketing programme is like stacking the deck in your favour. Doing some research to arm yourself with the information you need to make decisions can deliver a powerful advantage and maximise results. In this competitive market, it is mandatory to maintain your clinic’s reputation and to keep your patients coming back and referring their friends and family. | November/December 2012 ❚

Table 1 Suggested frequency for communication

n Eblasts: monthly n Print newsletters: 2–4 times per year n Open-house seminars: every 2 months n Blog: 2–3 times per week n Facebook page: daily n Twitter: daily

Table 2 SWOT analysis Strengths

n What advantages does your clinic have over all the others? Patient loyalty, good reputation, well trained practitioners, etc.

n What are your core competencies (i.e. the things you do best)? Injectables, surgeries, skincare services, laser therapy, etc.

n What keeps patients coming back? Friendly staff, superior service, affordable fees, etc.


n What factors are responsible for failing patient retention? Disinterested staff, limited hours, high fees, inconvenient location, not enough parking, etc.

n What do your competitors do better? Superior outcomes, greater range of services offered, consistent marketing, etc.

n Where does your clinic fall short? Older appearance of facility, not enough staff, limited service offering, outdated website, etc.


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