There comes a time in every aesthetic consumer’s decision journey where they take a deep breath, determine they’re ready to proceed and decide which doctor they’re going to entrust with their care.
It’s called the “moment of truth” and it’s easy to see why many doctors believe that people at that particular point represent their best prospects for new business. Truth is, if you’re among them, there’s a good chance you’re already too late.
If you’re only looking for people who are ready to make a decision at ‘the moment of truth,’ then you’re casting too small a net, says Maureen Ezekwugo, vice president of the doctor community at RealSelf. The key is to build a relationship with them beforehand and to brand yourself as the trusted expert when they’re ‘thinking about it’ so when they get to their moment of truth they know you as the one to call.
Traditionally, the solution to the problem was to prime the pump with advertising, direct-mail or other scattershot techniques. But in today’s cluttered media environment, such efforts are not just imprecise, but potentially costly.
Doctors will drop a couple of thousand dollars to send out a couple of thousand postcards and will be lucky to get a 1% conversion on them, says Ezekwugo. They can’t measure how many people actually read the message and to constantly keep in touch with that same group of people to ‘brand’ themselves as a trusted expert can be extremely expensive.
In that regard, social media occupies the middle ground, offering a way to connect with a highly motivated audience before they reach their moment of truth yet without incurring high upfront costs. That’s not to say social media is free because it clearly isn’t. It takes time, effort and, depending on how you deploy your resources, money for staff or outside partners.
But it does offer a cost-effective way to reach aesthetic consumers and, increasingly, a measurable return on the investment. How that ROI pencils out will be different for every practice but for doctors, the true ROI of social media equates to a more complete understanding of aesthetic consumers’ needs and concerns and an opportunity to address them before they reach their moment of truth.
1. Social media facilitates the new moment of truth
The Internet has created a new moment of truth, aka, the Zero Moment of Truth, which Google defines as “the moment when a shopper goes online to research a product and decides whether to make a purchase.” Considering that 42% of patients now receive most of their information about plastic surgery from social media, that window represents a huge opportunity for doctors hoping to establish brand identity.
2. Social media makes marketing more efficient
If you don’t have the time or resources to calculate the return on your marketing efforts, consider the other side of the equation, i.e., the costs involved in engaging with and ultimately acquiring new customers. “Marketing, including social media marketing, is about efficiency,” says Sean Jackson of Copyblogger Media. “It’s a process of decreasing the time, money, and resources required to communicate with customers and make it easy for them to buy products and services.” Compared to traditional efforts, social is about as cost-effective as it gets.