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Medical Spa Medspa Advertising Marketing > What's Working Now In Marketing & Advertising

I'm the marketing director for a medical spa in Tennessee (my wife is the owner) and would like to start a new thread about what's working now in marketing and advertising. We've had some pretty great success this past year and I want to continue to expand our marketing. I'm hoping that if I share my experience, others will chime in because I have an idea of what we need to do next, but would like to hear from others. I know that this topic is played pretty close to the vest most of the time ... no one wants to give away their secrets ... but hopefully we can collaborate here.

Here's what's working for us:

1 - Search Engine Optimization

It took a little while for me to become a believer in this because I kept hearing that it takes several months to start seeing results. Not my idea of a smart marketing spend. My goal in marketing is to spend money on marketing at the beginning of the month, and have it return back to me in the form of higher revenues and profits by the end of the month. The idea of investing in a long term marketing strategy like this turned my stomach ... but I kept hearing that it could be a game changer if you actually started getting all that free traffic by ranking on the top of the search engines.

So I dug in and read everything I could about SEO after normal work hours and set up a second website (not the primary business site) to test some of the things I'd been reading. There's so many contrary opinions about SEO that I didn't want to risk getting our corporate site penalized by doing something untested.

Some of the things that I tried worked ... others didn't. But over time, I was able to start implementing the "safe" SEO tactics to our medical spa site and we started getting a steady increase in traffic and search engine rankings every month. It's now been ten months since this little experiment began and we are not getting close to 1500 visitors a month from SEO. We get another 500 from advertising on Google (I'll tell you about that next).

Here's an interesting finding that I've never heard anyone talk about ...

The SEO traffic converts into leads twice as well as the paid advertising traffic. (Paid traffic converts at 2 to 2.5%, SEO traffic converts at 4 to 5% ... it varies a little from month to month)

2 - PPC Advertising on Google

This one was a no-brainer because of the "instant gratification" available from paid advertising on Google. Unlike SEO, we got this set up in about a week and it started generating traffic immediately.

I actually set all of this up myself, because unlike SEO, I have been doing PPC advertising for many years in various businesses.

But here's what I learned about this that made the difference between "okay" results and " really good" results (I won't say great because SEO has proven to be so much more profitable).

When I first set up the campaign and wrote all of the advertisements, we were paying about $90 to get a new customer. We knew that our first year break-even point on new customers was $225 (Average first year revenue per customer minus all costs and expenses ... in other words ... bottom line profit per customer per year) So I felt good about acquiring new customers for $90 each.

The whole time we were doing this, I was split testing my ads to discover more profitable ones and each month, I would be able to find little changes that made some ads more profitable than others.

The other day, I was looking at our Google adwords account and noticed that our cost per lead had dropped from $90 ... down to $35. In other words, we are making $6.43 in profit for every $1.00 we spend in advertising.

And we're advertising the full spectrum of treatments from injections and fillers, to laser treatments, facials, etc.

Now here's something interesting that I recently learned. Several companies are popping up that claim to set up and manage your ppc advertising for you. I met with one of them a few weeks ago to see if it would be worth it to outsource our PPC advertising, since I have to manage it every month, but what I learned was shocking. When I met with the rep, he gave me three price estimates that included how many ad impressions we are going to get and total cost. I compared this to our current statistics and determined that they were going to spend half of our budget on advertising and the other half for their management expenses. Based on their proposal, we would have to pay between $750/month to $2000/month for their management costs.

Here's why this is important if you're considering PPC advertising...

A typical PPC management company isn't going to have hardly any experience working with a medical spa. So you can probably expect to pay the same amount that I did at first to get a new customer ... about $90. But the PPC management company is going to charge you their management fees which will double your cost per new customer acquisition ... and suddenly ... PPC advertising isn't going to profitable for you.

I can tell you that PPC advertising does work. But you're either going to have to become an expert yourself, or find someone who does this for medical spas if you want it to work for you.

3 - Google Places Optimization

This has been another biggie for us over the last year, although the landscape has changed because Google isn't ranking local businesses the same way they were when we first started, but we're still getting plenty of customers from it, I've just had to tweak our strategy.

If you're not familiar with Google Places, it's Google's local business search engine. You can sign up for a free account in about 10 minutes and they'll call you on your business phone to verify that you're the owner.

Just like SEO, I wasn't too familiar with how to get our listing to the top of the search engines so I had to do a lot of reading and testing before I figured this one out.

Initially, this brought in a lot of traffic and customers after setting it up and optimizing to rank on the first page. But then Google changed how they show local business listings and now they show a mix of Google Places listings, and a new kind of listing called a "merged listing" that is ranked using a combination of Google Places data and traditional SEO data.

Fortunately, our SEO was getting pretty strong when they started showing "merged listings" and our traffic actually increased.

Here's why I bring that up ...

Because if you're going to do Google Places optimization, you now have to also do SEO to get the best results. And I can tell you that from experience at our medical spa, and also because I have a couple of friends that own businesses in different niches that I've been helping with their online marketing and I found the same thing.

So now we get over 100 new customers a month from these three marketing activities and I feel like we need to move on and start working on building customer retention, increasing average lifetime customer value, and getting more referrals from all these new people.

I'm considering things like customer loyalty programs, using Facebook and Twitter to generate viral word of mouth referrals, doing a monthly newsletter, implementing a "lost customer revival" program with direct mail, creating a formal customer referral program (we have one now, but it doesn't work very well).

Would anyone be willing to share what they are doing AFTER they get a new customer to improve the value of that customer and generate more referrals?

I think it would be pretty cool to get to know a few medical spa owners/marketers who are thinking outside the box with their marketing and share what's working and what's not working.

You can email me at skincaretn@gmail.com

04.20 | Unregistered CommenterTNSkinCare

There is so much work that can go into Google Places / Google+ Local optimization that I'm surprised isn't done! You have to remember that, when people are searching for you, they're not searching FOR YOU, they're searching for WHAT YOU PROVIDE.

Knowing that goes a long way in optimizing your listings online.

Have you tried any display marketing and re-targeting to go along with your PPC and SEO? We've found that boosts PPC conversions and you can reach a really specific audience in your local market on both desktop and mobile.

Brian
brian@townsquaremedia.com

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