3 Tips to Turn Today’s Plastic Surgery Shopper Into Tomorrow’s Patient

The average plastic surgery consumer may not be a shop until you drop type, but she/he is definitely shopping around. In fact, most people now start their search online to browse, get ideas, and compare options when it comes to aesthetic choices.

Make no mistake, if these online shoppers don’t find your practice along the way, they won’t be coming to your door when they’re ready for a consultation. The key to “closing the deal” is to meet prospective patients early, make the online experience enjoyable, and be patient and available if they’re not quite ready to buy.

It’s never too early

The path to major purchases is no longer linear. Potential patients can discover new options at any time during their research process.

While that’s true, new research from McKinsey suggests that being in the initial consideration round sets a significant advantage: 87% of consumers shop around for products and services, vs. just 13% who can be considered loyal to a brand by making repeat purchases. McKinsey found that brands initially considered were more than two times as likely to be purchased vs. those discovered later.

How do you get into that group? Implement a marketing strategy that embraces diversity via effective search marketing, regular activity on social channels, and a practice website that captures — and keeps — visitors’ interest.

Make your mobile experience seamless 

Do you know how your site looks on mobile devices? Now’s the time to eliminate slow load times, poor navigation, incompatible layouts, or anything else that is a poor mobile user experience.

Why? According to a recent report by comScore, people spend an average of almost three hours per day on mobile devices. Mobile accounts for about half of Google searches (some reports say it’s even 60%). Google’s “mobile-first” approach to content means that this trend will only accelerate.

At RealSelf, we’ve found that about 75% of our people visit our site via a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). While you may need to tap mobile- and user-friendly content developers to get your site up to speed, taking a hands-off approach is never a good idea. This Merkle whitepaper provides a good overview to SEO and can help get you off to a good start.

Respond fast

So, you’ve made it into a patient’s consideration set. Congrats but don’t assume you’ve closed the deal. This patient will likely reach out to several medical providers, and the practice’s response time will affect that person’s decision to book.

The fact remains that many patient contacts, aka “leads,” go cold fast. According to a landmark MIT study, potential patients who receive a response to their consultation request within five minutes are 30 times more likely to book than those who are contacted an hour after submitting their inquiry.

Respond quickly to all inquiries, qualify them to determine where each individual is in their aesthetic journey, and develop a system to nurture those who aren’t ready to commit. Factor in the weeks, months, and years that many people take to research their aesthetic options, and it becomes increasingly clear that you not only have to make it into their initial consideration set, you have to stay there.

Doctor Takeaway

To get picked, you have to be considered

According to RealSelf data, more than two-thirds (68%) of aesthetic patients limit their consideration sets to just two to five doctors.

With so few spots available, the competition is tough. Medical providers must be present, active, and willing to commit for the long haul online. After all, potential patients wouldn’t be shopping in the first place if they weren’t interested in making a purchase.

Reviews are crucial to booking new patients. Don’t miss our latest webinar, “How to Ask for Reviews.”

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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