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Practice Building and Marketing in Aesthetics

Traditionally word of mouth
was the only way to develop medical
practice. Networking for referral of a
prospective new patient by an old
patient or other physician was the
only way of marketing. In recent
years because of rapid technological
advancement and increment in
investment of medical practice and
non emergency nature of aesthetic
procedures, need for marketing has

Essentials of building of
an Aesthetic Practice
1. Marketing Plan
2. Accreditations
3. Develop portfolio
4. Office appearance
5. External marketing
6. Internet marketing
7. Staffing
8. Internal marketing

Develop a marketing plan:
What sets your practice apart from
others? Consistent message & logo:

How do you want to project
yourself? As an individual expert
doctor or as an Institute? If you
are planning a large investment
in multiple location with many
doctors involved, brand yourself
as Institute rather an individual.A
consistent logo and catch line
spreading the primary motive of
your organization goes a long way.

Understand Your Market

Aesthetic Practice being intensive
in investment, it is absolutely
essential to survey the market for
the services you are providing.

Who is your customer?Whether
you are catering to metro or nonmetro
clients, young or middle
aged, computer literate and netsavy
or non -techy, middle class or affluent class

How does your customer think
and gather information? Once
you know who are your clients, then
get to know how they gather their
information. It may be television,
newspaper, internet, clubs, panel
displays of bigger hospitals.
Who are their opinion leaders?
Politicians, celebrities, religious
personalities, beauticians?

Define goals for the practice
What do you expect out of your
aesthetic practice over time? Set
the goals in term of clear and
achievable tangential parameters.
How many patients per month,
how much of revenue per month,
how many presentations or
publications, how many clinics, in
how many years.

Create budget, timeline, and
measurement criteria: Accreditation means approval of
your quality from any body that is
perceived by people as an authority
in that field. Some examples
include ISO, JACO, NABH for
hospitals. MD, DNB degrees itself
is an Accreditation perceived
rightfully as a benchmark of quality.
• It is necessary as it is a visible sign
of Public recognition, benchmark
of professional achievement,
quality of care and demonstrates
self confidence and commitment to
• It is a useful tool of marketing
• Regulatory compliance for these
accreditations actually elevates the
level of your practice. Consultative
guidance from these agencies
is a great source of learning and
Quality Improvement.
• Memberships of professional
organizations in related field will
indirectly highlight your excellence
in the field. Moreover inputs from
the memberships in journals,
conferences, courses, opportunity
for interaction with the Masters is an
invaluable source of professional
development. Examples include
AAD, EADV, etc.
• Accreditation need not be
academic alone. Association with
other bodies publicly perceived
as quality makes a useful
accreditation. Being appointed
as the Official Dermatologist of a
opinion leader, beauty contest,
column writer in a magazine or
news paper, Consultant Post in
a reputed hospital help to win
confidence of a prospective client.

Develop a Portfolio of your
good results The best way of winning confidence
of a prospective client is to share
good results of your treatment. It is
fortunate that in Aesthetic Practice, it
is easy to document the outcome of
our expertise that can easily be shared
with other patients

Accumulate your own Beforeand-After
photos: Treat staff
members, family and close
friends and get them to be a part
of the portfolio. Get permission to
use treatment photos for patient
consultation, presentations and
Review photos prior to treating.
Take good “before” photos Often
staff members are unaware the
photos are of poor quality and
if you don’t check them prior to
treating your patient, you’ve lost
a great opportunity to show your
skills to future patients.There are
many opportunities to get good
“after” photos but only one chance
to get the actual “before” photo.

In Photography Remember the
Distance, Detail and Development.
Distance should be appropriate to
the problem. If the distance is too
far – photographs of peri-ocular
tretaed by CO2 would not show
well in a full face photograph .If
too close – A facelift photograph
would not show well if you can not
see the full lower third of the face
and neck.
Detail : Show the lumps, bumps,
lines, creases, hills, and valleys.
This is achieved by adjusting
Focus, Change the angle
• Development : Look at the
photographs in the imaging
program.What looks like a good
photograph immediately after it’s
taken may actually be out of focus
when seen on the full screen.
Remember only one chance to get
“before” photos
Factors influencing patients decision to chose YOU for aesthetic

55% Visual
38% Communication with staff
7% Consultation with physician
The decision to choose you has almost
been made (93%) before you even
meet with the client.

Office Appearance
In an interesting survey conducted in
USA on patients seeking aesthetic
procedure, it was highlighted that 55%
of their decision was influenced by
what the client actually sees in your
clinic. Remember, cosmetic surgery
is an emotional decision. The patient
should feel like they’ve made the right
choice as soon as they walk in the
door. Everything should be “high-class”
and authentic be it the Office décor,
Displays, Forms, Warm reception.
Displaying your credentials,
certificates, trophies, membership
will help in winning confidence of the
patient. A screen constantly displaying
your pre and post result portfolio and
credentials at the most visible location is a useful tool.

Print Media Marketing
In India, print media is still an influential
media. Which media to choose
depends upon your market and who
your customers are. Media marketing
involves two important segments,
namely advertisement and media PR
(public relation) management. Regular
advertisements help registering the
brand but authenticity is created when
editorial coverage highlights your
product. Print advertisements budget
should be spared for small sized
but repetitive ads instead of bigger
sized infrequent ads. Local woman’s
magazine or other community papers

Networking with other physicians
is traditional but still very effective
way getting new patient leads. Keep
other doctors aware of what you
do. It is surprising to know that very
few physicians know of your newly
acquired skill or newly owned laser
machine than you expected. Periodic
newsletters, “email blasts”, practice
announcement SMS (texts) will keep
them in touch. You may request your
friend physician to post information
and brochures in their offices. If you
are attached as a consultant in any
multispecialty hospital, be particular
that your name is displayed on wall
panel with your correct credentials
like Dermatologist and cosmetic laser
surgeon, hair transplant surgeon,
allergologist etc. Your business card
should proudly mention all your
credentials and affiliations. Don’t
hesitate to introduce yourself to your
college or anyone as ‘Myself Dr ABC,
Dermatologist and Vitiligo surgeon.’
Take interest in knowing similar skills
your other colleague have acquired.
Networking through
Community involvement
Participating in community works
like Rotary clubs help networking
with opinion leaders in other fields.
Participating in interactive shows
on channels as an expert, writing a
column in a news paper, donating
for a community cause opens many
channels of networking.
Seminars: Organizing seminars for
general public, prospective clients or
CME activities for other doctors help
to spread the awareness of what you
are doing.

Internet Marketing
Internet marketing is the Best value,
High source of new cosmetic patients.
Good website, search engine
connections and social media
marketing is the triad of successful
internet marketing. It supplies
“Educated” patients those know much
of the things already. Your job is then
rather easy. You can refer caller to
your web site for information and
pictures. Some of the features of a
good website are right content keys,
Easy to read,Easy to navigate,Contact
information on every page. Updating
the contents regularly is essential.
Design of website should classy and
user friendly

Search Engine Optimization with
leading search engines like Google,
Yahoo, Bing with appropriate
keywords is must to make your
website available in first few results for
a specific keywords. Keywords should
be derived by putting yourself in the
shoes of the client and imagining how
a new client will seek information

Social Media Marketing
In current days, social media
marketing has become more important
than website and search engine
optimization. People allover world are
now more on Facebook and twitter
than Google. Few important tips for
social media marketing are as follows:
create your practice’s profile and
pages on Facebook, twitter and other
social networking sites. Give link to
these pages on your every stationary
like business card, prescription, email
signatures. Request every patient to
FOLLOW or LIKE your pages. Offer
updates and discount announcements
of facebook pages.
Request your happy patients to write
favorable reviews about your services
on blogs. Make your happy patients
your brand ambassadors.

Staffing Your Practice
Marketing Plans, Accreditation, and
Beautiful Office settings make no
difference in building your practice if
you don’t have the right staff. Hire the
right people to make the perfect team.
Maximize employees skills, strengths,
and weakness
Encourage employee education and
advancement.All employees contribute to patient
relationships and comfort. They should
be cross-trained. They should be given
motivation to take initiative in patient
comfort. Build A Team Along with Your
Practice. Most important employee
in your practice should be front desk
staff. Whenever you plan to hire a new
employee, don’t take a decision on
your own. Other staff working directly
with the new hire should be consulted.
This help build a team spirit.
If you want your employee to handle
your patient well, you handle the
employee well. Treat the employee
as if they are your clients. These
quotations from management
textbooks underline the importance of
staff management. 75% to 90%times,
Patient’s first contact to the practice is
by telephone. Staff answering phone
must be friendly, knowledgeable and
not rushed. Ultimate aim should be
smooth patient flow. It is observed
that 68% times, patient’s that decide
to seek treatment elsewhere did so
because of staff discourtesy.

Typical Staff designations
Front Receptionist
Patient Coordinator
Internal Marketing Director
Business Manager
Houseman or assistant doctors
Positive Telephone Image
Answer phone on the first or second
Acknowledge a request
Show interest and care
Be considerate
Follow through on all promises
Apologize for errors or delays
Don’t leave people on hold
Internal marketing:
Retaining your clients
It costs much more to attract a new
patient than to retain an existing one.
Best and cheapest way to get a new
patient is a Happy patient referring his
friend to you. How much percentage
of patients comes for second and
third treatments in multiple session
treatments must be tracked. Any
patient not continuing treatment
must be assessed for the reason of
discontinuation. Appropriate measures
to be taken to make the old patient a
happy and regular one.
• Keep them informed: patients
must be made aware of what
services your catering to.
o Display of pre and post treatment
photographs in waiting hall
o Posters of practice
announcements and special
discount offers
o Periodic news letters
o SMS alerts of new
o Brochures and leaflets – easily
• Cross selling: Patients consulting
for one indication are softly and
indirectly promoted with other
service or treatment. In author’s
experience, patients coming for
body shaping are easily converted
to neurotoxin injections and
laser hair removal. Doctor, nurse
executing treatment are to be
trained in cross selling.
• Loyalty appreciation: old patients
of one treatment seeking second
treatment must be discounted.
Offer launches of new treatments
at concessional charges.
• Cross referrals: patients referring
his or her friend as a new patient
must be appreciated and given
discounts if possible.
Ethical and legal issues in marketing
While open advertising is legally
allowed in some western countries,
there are some restrictions on
advertisements in India. Remember
the following principles
A doctor can not advertise himself but
a clinic or hospital or a business can
Advertisement highlighting credentials
of a doctors to sell a service is not
Doctors can write in editorials to
answer the queries
Sponsored editorial intended to inform
the public are allowed and are called
Any claim made in black and whiteis
subject to verification in future also. So
be cautious about the claims made in advertisment

About The Author

Skin Specialist in Pune

Dr Niteen Dhepe is a Board Certified Dermatologist and has developed himself as a pioneer in field of Cosmetic Dermatology and Lasers in India. He is the biggest entrepreneur in contemporary dermatology world of India.

Number of Entries : 151

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