No content can demonstrate your work quite like before-and-after photos. Their presence translates into more opportunities to book patients: doctors who post more before-and-after photos on RealSelf get more contacts overall, and Spotlight doctors with photos see a nearly 3x higher clickthrough rate than those who have none.
Meanwhile, their absence suggests something truly damaging about your practice and your brand: that you’re not furnishing evidence of your work because you can’t. That’s definitely not the implication you want to make about your practice.
As you think about reopening your doors, it’s a good time to refresh your photo gallery and put a plan in place to consistently publish great before-and-after photos when you start seeing patients face-to-face again. Here’s how.
Step 1. Set a Target.
If you only have a handful of photos—or none at all—then your first target should be to post 10 before-and-after photos for each of your high-priority procedures. Once you reach that baseline, or if you have already, then two or three additional photos per top procedure each month is our recommended cadence.
But don’t stop there. Even if you have accumulated hundreds of before-and-after photos over time, avoid being lulled into thinking that your body of work doesn’t need to be fresh. Recency = relevance for consumers, and you too should continue posting new photos monthly.
Step 2. Reach Out to Previous Patients
Your patient flow is likely light-to-nonexistent in this time of transition, so use this time to get current.
You should already have consent to publish their photos, but if you don’t, reach out personally and ask. To make “yes” easier, resend the photos you’d like to post so they can easily reference what you’re asking for, and reassure them that their identity will be protected.
As we highlighted in our guide to getting more reviews during this time, make sure that you spell out to patients that you’re asking to post photos in order to help others like them who are currently searching for the right doctor. Here’s an email template to get you started.
Were my previous patients’ before-and-after photos helpful when you were deciding whether to work with me?
If so, then I’d love your help giving people who are currently searching for a doctor get a clear idea of what my results look like on real patients like you. Would you mind if my staff publishes the before-and-after photos from your [procedure] on our website, social media and RealSelf profile?
I’ve reattached your photos here so that you can see how they’d be presented. We’ll publish some demographic information (like age range) to give potential patients context, but to protect our identity we won’t publish your name [for body procedures: and as you’ll see, the photos only show you from the neck down].
Thanks so much for considering!
Step 3. Add Helpful Context to Photos.
People are always looking for themselves in photos. Help them make better sense of the photos in your gallery with thoughtful captions that add context to what they’re seeing.
To achieve this, tell a story they can identify with—”This mom of three wanted to feel great in her swimsuit again”—so that potential patients can relate to results in the context of why your patient sought their surgery and what changes the result affected in their life.
This is also a great time to review your existing gallery and freshen up your captions to add this type of context if it’s missing.
Step 4. Nail the Categorization.
If a patient’s before & after photos depict a combined outcome from two or more procedures, as with a mommy makeover, then publish those photos in that procedure only. Publishing photos depicting results from combined procedures elsewhere—like standalone breast lift or tummy tuck categories—can come off manipulative and give consumers an unfair appreciation of what their outcome for a standalone procedure might look like.
Step 5. Prepare to Ramp Back Up.
Take another look at your workflow to make sure you’re positioned to post all of your work moving forward. This ensures that building a photo gallery that is both voluminous and recent will be a standard output of treating your patients.
The quality of your before-and-after photos matters. Even though they’re extremely important to consumers, only 27% of them described patient photos posted by doctors as “very trusted.” Our on-demand-webinar, “The 10 Most Costly Before & After Photo Fails,” outlines best practices for doctors and staff to make the photos themselves more convincing, trusted and effective.
Take the next step. Log into your dashboard to assess the current state of your gallery and identify the procedures you’ll build out first.