One of life’s cruelest realities is that customers are a necessary ingredient in any successful business.
Life would be so much less stressful if you could skip all that faff, and spend your days doing team bonding exercises and going out for pub lunches.
But alas, that’s not the hand we’ve been dealt.
It’s not as simple as just ‘getting customers’, though. You need to find them, and then persuade them to give you money in exchange for products or services.
This process is called marketing, and it’s not as easy as overconfident white men on the internet make out.
That’s not to say it’s impossible, though. There are plenty of ways to market your clinic and in this blog, we’ll go through 11 effective methods.
- Create a Loyalty Program
- Referral Program
- Gift Vouchers
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Local Search
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- SMS Marketing
- Surveys and Reviews
1. Create a Loyalty Program
“Repeat business or behaviour can be bribed. Loyalty has to be earned.”
- Janet Robinson—President & CEO of The New York Times
A lot of the marketing methods we’ll talk about in this article focus on bringing customers in to make their first purchase. But you’ve also got to think about the second, tenth, or even hundredth transaction.
This is important for the longevity of your business, but also it’s more cost-effective. This is because it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to attract new customers.
There are a number of factors that contribute to customer loyalty, such as customer service, quality of service, etc, but an effective loyalty program can go a long way!
A loyalty program rewards your customers the more they spend and encourages repeat bookings with larger purchases.
Starbucks Rewards is a great example, where the more coffee you drink, the more free coffee you get. It encourages more spending while giving its customers savings.
2. Referral Program
“A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising”
- Mark Zuckerberg—Founder of Facebook (and ruiner of Instagram)
No advert, landing page, or logo will ever do better than a good old-fashioned referral. You could make all the promises in the world, but if someone’s best mate says your competitor is better, you won’t see a penny of their money.
This is why referral programmes can be really handy.
By offering incentives for people to recommend you (such as a voucher or a discount), you can encourage people to refer friends and family to your business.
It’s a very low-risk strategy, too, because you only need to pay out on incentives after their referral has used your services.
This will increase word-of-mouth for your business, without having to pay a penny upfront.
You can even sweeten the pot further by giving both parties an incentive, making it easier for the referrer to sell on your behalf.
3. Gift Vouchers
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”
- Oscar Wilde—Poet, playwright, and all-round witty fellow
Once you’ve built loyalty with your customers, they will want to share you with their friends and family. This is often done in the form of word-of-mouth, telling people how great you are and why they should go to your clinic.
But they also might want to gift people the experience of being your customer, which is where gift vouchers come in.
With gift vouchers, you can make it really easy for your customers to market your business for you. And if you give your customers the option to buy them digitally, they can buy gift vouchers whenever and wherever they are.
Which—if they’re anything like me–is probably when they’re on their way to the party.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
“A website is a 24/7 salesperson that can work for you even when you’re asleep.”
- Jeff Bullas—top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers (according to Forbes)
I’m not going to patronise you here. You already know what a website is, and you almost certainly have one of your own.
But there is a huge difference between a website, and a website people can actually find.
Look at it this way—the people who know your web address already know your clinic exists. They’re probably already a customer, or have walked past and wanted to check it out.
That’s great, but it’s not enough.
You also need to think about the people who haven’t heard of you. The people who would buy your services, but only if they knew you exist.
And the way you let them know you exist is with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
If you haven’t dealt with SEO before, this can be quite an intimidating term, but it can be defined quite easily:
Get as high as possible in the Google search results. (Bing too, if you’re into that sort of thing)
I’m not going to pretend this is a simple task. SEO is a full-time job for a lot of marketers, and it takes years to master.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do now which can make a big difference:
- Create high-quality content
- Optimise your titles and meta descriptions
- Use keywords throughout your content that are relevant to your services
- Build backlinks to your website
- Keep your website up-to-date
For those seeking to explore the topic further, we recommend diving into our Beginner’s Guide to SEO for Aesthetic Clinics.
5. Local Search
“About 89 percent of people search for local businesses on their phones at least once per week, and 58 percent are searching daily.”
- Neil Patel—SEO expert and New York Times Bestselling author
It’s not just your website you want people to find, though. It’s just as important for people to be able to find your clinic, especially if those people are local.
Imagine your ideal customer lives nearby, and needs your service, but hasn’t heard of you. What do they do? They search on Google, Apple Maps, etc.
This is where Local Search becomes so important. You don’t want them going to those hacks down the street when they should be coming to you. So you need to get yourself to the top of those lists.
There are a variety of things you can do to improve this, including things like claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing, including your local address on your website, and including local keywords in your content. Learn more in our Beginner’s Guide to Local SEO for Aesthetic Clinics.
6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
“Advertising is based on one thing—Happiness”
- Don Draper—fictional character and terrible husband
On the other side of the coin is paid advertising. Where instead of designing your website to organically get more eyes on your clinic, you jump the queue, so to speak.
You pay money (sometimes a set fee, sometimes based on the number of views or clicks), in exchange for your ad being targeted towards your desired demographic.
Traditionally this would be in the newspaper, on the radio, or on TV, but nowadays this is more commonly on search engines or social media with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
It’s not as simple as just paying money and getting customers, but with the right copy, and the right targeting, it can have a big impact.
Learn more in our Beginner’s Guide to PPC for Aesthetic Clinics.
7. Social Media
“It’s a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don’t understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television.”
- Amy Jo Martin—Author of ‘Renegades Write the Rules: How the Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate’
To some, social media is a place for political debate. To others, it’s for sharing beautiful artwork and expressive poetry. And to my aunty, it’s somewhere to repost five-year-old memes with overtly xenophobic undertones.
Whatever you think of social media, it’s impossible to deny its huge influence.
But most brands get social media marketing all wrong. It’s not about broadcasting “HEY LOOK, WE’RE AWESOME, COME TO OUR CLINIC”, it’s actually about building a relationship with your customers (and potential customers).
Social media gives you a way to have conversations with your client-base, and show them you’re not a faceless organisation. You can follow people, comment on their posts, and not take yourselves too seriously.
Basically, just be human.
8. Email Marketing
“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”
- David Newman—Author of “DO IT!” book series
Despite being over 50 years old, email is still one of the most effective marketing channels available to you.
In fact, with a return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing is more effective than any other type of marketing.
This is why it’s important to capture existing customers’ emails and utilise lead magnets.
You can use this email list in a number of ways that will benefit your clinic:
- Welcome emails
- Appointment reminders
- News and update
- Promotional emails
- Educational emails
Similar to social media, email is a great opportunity to build a connection with your customers. You can tell stories, make jokes, or give valuable advice. You can also use them to request feedback or invite suggestions.
You should avoid bombarding them with emails, but you should try to send them frequently and consistently.
9. SMS Marketing
“According to the Pew Research Center, 97% of adult Americans have a cell phone capable of receiving text messages.”
- Business News Daily
Like emails, text messages are a great way to communicate with your customers, and promote your business.
In fact, open rates for SMS messages are far higher than that of emails, which makes it a great tool if done right. The key is to provide value before using it for your own means.
By using SMS messages for things like booking confirmations and appointment reminders, you are making your customers’ lives easier. This buys you goodwill, which you’ll cash in when you send strategic text promotions.
For example, you might have a sale coming up, so you can text your existing customers with offers and deals.
Try to keep the texts short, though. If you start sending essays to your customers, you’ll quickly run out of goodwill.
10. Surveys and Reviews
“The principle of social proof. It states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.”
- Robert Cialdini—Author of ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
To provide the best service we can, we need to know what people think of our business. Afterall, what people think will have a huge impact on word-of-mouth, referrals, and recommendations.
Two of the best ways to get this feedback are with surveys and reviews.
The great thing about surveys is that you can choose what questions to ask. This is especially useful for making informed decisions that will move you in the right direction.
You can ask people to fill them in after a transaction, or you can contact all your customers to ask for their feedback.
Another great way to get feedback is with customer reviews.
You don’t have the same control over what kind of feedback you’ll get, but you do get the benefits of social proof.
Social proof is where potential customers make a decision based on what other people say. This is why reviews are such a key part of shopping sites, and why testimonials are often posted on company websites.
By encouraging (happy) customers to leave reviews on sites like Google and TrustPilot, you make it much easier for people to choose your clinic in the future.
“Good things come to those who wait”
- Guinness (they probably weren’t the first to say this, but the adverts were cool)
Any of the previous ten marketing methods stand a great chance of finding new customers, and growing your business.
But none of them will do it overnight.
I’m sorry—I know that’s not what you want to read—but it’s true. Patience and consistency are essential for any of these marketing techniques to fully take effect.
If you’re not patient, you’ll find yourself chopping and changing your strategy constantly, and not seeing the benefits. You’ll also likely be wasting both your time and money by not sticking with an approach long-term.
The best approach is to pick one or two of these methods, commit to them for at least a year, and try your best to be consistent, and constantly improving.
Not only will it get easier the longer you do it, but you’ll also see better and better results.