Smart management of your online marketing and presence can support both greater awareness of your practice and new patient acquisition.
But these aren’t set-it-and-forget-it tactics, and that presents an opportunity. If the results you’re getting from online marketing aren’t hitting your goals, there are knobs you can turn to create more favorable outcomes.
Most online marketing channels provide information that lets you quantify the interaction and engagement you’re getting. Here are some common problem areas that may be affecting the value you get from your online marketing and presence, and some ways to improve them.
Problem Area #1: Low Social Media Follower Count
Recognizing the factors that could be causing social media follower counts to stagnate will help attract new followers to your practices’ social media accounts. Remember, you want your followers to include a critical mass of people in your general locale who are at least curious about getting the type of treatments you provide—increasing the likelihood that they stay connected, become engaged, and are eligible to become patients.
Low Social Media Follower Count Fixes:
1. Post More Consistently. When strategizing how to increase follower counts, one thing to consider is whether or not you’re posting enough. A 2018 RealSelf analysis of cosmetic accounts revealed that accounts with 10 or more posts per month saw higher follower growth.
To help you stay active, develop a content calendar. Spending time planning out posts for the upcoming weeks using a spreadsheet or similar tool can ease the day-to-day work of staying consistent, since deciding what to post has already been done. (And if you need any additional motivation, consider a LucidPress report which determined that consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by an average of 23%.)
2. Promote Your Profiles. One guaranteed way to limit the amount of people who follow and engage with your social media content is to keep them in the dark about it. Simply highlighting your social media accounts on your other marketing materials (brochures, snail mail, invoices, business cards, appointment cards, email signatures) can be an easy, effective way to increase interaction. RealSelf recently rolled out an Instagram integration for RealSelf Network Members, meaning all profile visitors can not only see the provider’s Instagram content, they can also easily follow the account.
Problem Area #2: Low Social Media Engagement
Populating your social media account with quality followers is your initial baseline for a successful social media strategy. From there, growing engagement is the next knob you can turn to generate activity that can promote a stronger profile and brand recognition for your practice. And while we’ve included these tips in the part of this discussion that deals with fixing low social media engagement, many of these same principles can also help grow your overall follower.
Low Social Media Engagement Fixes:
1. Become a Social Media User. Social media rewards not just action, but interaction, and the most successful accounts don’t operate on a one-way street.
Don’t be afraid to engage with a platform like Instagram as a “user,” not just a “page.” Engaging with followers who comment on your posts is the kind of human touch that others will notice. By interacting on other users’ accounts—following, liking and commenting on posts—users that might not otherwise have fallen into your orbit can become aware of your practice.
Following and posting with relevant hashtags is another great method for attracting new, like-minded individuals and organizations. Be mindful though. Overtagging or flooding accounts with overly self-promotional comments can be an irritating turnoff to social media users, so exercise moderation. For more helpful social media strategies, watch our on-demand webinar featuring RealSelf Social Media Manager Mark Sandritter.
2. Make Sure Content is Relevant. Speaking of “irritating,” according to a recent study by Smart Insights, 51% of people said they would unfollow brands with “irritating” posts. And 27% said they would actually report the account as spam and block them.
“Irritating” can mean many things, but lean on data to decide what it means for your followers. It is vital that your practice pays attention to how posts perform, limiting the kinds of posts that receive little to no interaction, and increasing the types of posts that the metrics say are more engaging. The results from any one post aren’t necessarily indicative of a trend (social media algorithms can be finicky), but over time you should be able to see which types of content resonate best with the kinds of people you’re trying to attract and inform.
Above all, remember that the real goal of your social media activity should be to provide value to your followers. Providing helpful information about aesthetics procedures, examples of previous work, and even a supportive message from time to time goes a long way to avoid looking like you’re just going through the social media motions.
Problem Area #3: Low Email Open Rate
Email continues to be one of the most effective means of communicating with consumers—a Campaign Monitor report cites that an average of $38 in revenue is generated for every $1 spent on email marketing—so it certainly can feel disheartening if your email statistics aren’t quite where you want them to be.
The first consumer action that needs to happen for your email to make an impact is for your recipients to actually open it. If the percentage of people who open your email—your “open rate”—is low, here are two knobs you can turn to increase this metric.
Low Email Open Rate Fixes:
1. Write Compelling Subject Lines. It may be the last thing we do when crafting an email, but the subject line is probably the most important piece of your email open rate puzzle. After all, according to lead generation software company OptInMonster, 47% of people open emails based solely on the subject line. Give the subject line a good amount of thought. Some email software will even automate the subject line testing process for you, showing different variations to a subset of your recipients before sending the best-performing email subject to the rest.
2. Test the Timing of Your Sends. The time when you send your emails can have a significant impact on open rates as well. If you think about your own habits, you’ll likely recognize that when you receive emails can affect what messages are more likely to get your time and attention.
You may notice that you get most of your emails from other businesses midweek, and especially on Tuesdays. That’s because Tuesdays are widely acknowledged as the best day of the week to send business emails. As for times, a study by Campaign Monitor revealed that 10 a.m., 8 p.m., 2 p.m., and 6 a.m., respectively, are the best times to send email. You can see how these times might track to an adult’s workday: 10 a.m. for the lull after a burst of early morning work and organizing; 8 p.m. for the last email check before bed; 2 p.m. for the lull after post-lunch fires have been put out; and 6 a.m. to catch first-thing-in-the-morning email checkers.
While these data-driven recommendations are good starting points, play around with sending at different times for your own audience to see which times most resonate. Some email software will also recommend optimal send times based on previous email sends. Consider trying this option to see if their algorithm gives you an open rate lift.
Problem Area #4. Low Email Click-Through Rates
The purpose of your emails will often be to prompt contacts and patients to take an action: booking a consultation, booking an appointment, or even buying a product or attending an event. If they’re opening your emails but not clicking through on the offers and actions highlighted in them, try these tweaks to increase the number of contacts who take the next step.
Low Email Click-Through Rate Fixes:
1. Segment Your Emails. Separating your email recipient list into segments, based on whatever information you have collected on them, can raise both open and click-through rates. According to Mailchimp, segmentation alone can lead to an average 14.31% higher email open rate and almost 10% fewer unsubscribes. And the impact on clicks is even more dramatic: segmentation can more than double the amount of clicks from an email.
For practices, some simple segmentation could entail splitting your list based on desired treatment, or new contacts vs. consulted contacts vs. patients. Splitting your contacts along these lines can help you tailor relevant messages to specific audiences, increasing the likelihood of action.
2. Optimize for Mobile. A poorly organized, badly designed email can be a turn-off for old and new customers alike. And since upwards of half of all emails are opened on a mobile device, it’s helpful to send a couple of test emails to people with different phones and tablets before unleashing a mailing to the masses. Modern email software will typically work fine on mobile phones off the shelf, but opt for single-column templates; use headings and short paragraphs to break up text; implement strategically placed bold text to make your email scannable; and consider using bold-colored buttons to make your calls-to-action obvious.
Problem Area #5. Not Enough Reviews
For practices, more reviews generally means more contacts: practices with between 10 and 24 reviews receive an average of eight times more inquiries than those that have less than 10. That goes up to 20 times more for practices with 25 to 49 reviews, and a whopping 70 times more for those with more than 50 reviews. Here are some tips to raise the number of reviews on your RealSelf profile.
Not Enough Reviews? Fixes:
1. Ask. It may sound simple, and that’s because it is. RealSelf reports that 68% of people will write a review if you simply ask.
2. Ask The Right Way. What’s the best way to ask? One recommended approach is to ask your clients if they themselves have read your reviews. In cases where they have, they already understand how valuable reviews can be when making a decision, and could very well be eager to “pay it forward.”
3. Ask At The Right Time. While getting reviews on the spot is great, there’s no need to hold a patient hostage at the time of the procedure, when they won’t even have a great handle on their results. Consider other opportunities to ask for a review, including post-op follow-up (“All’s going well? I’m sure you’re happy about that!”) and future appointments (“You came back, you must be happy with us!”).
4. Show, Don’t Tell. If you have a patient who is willing to write a review while they are in the office, feel free to show them how it’s done, right then and there. With the patient on their own phone, have someone on staff walk through the process using that staff member’s phone at the same time. While the review process is fairly simple, this will help eliminate any potential confusion along the way that might stop a patient from finishing the review. Plus, it’s another chance to show your patient how caring and helpful your staff is.
For more insight on getting more reviews, sign up for our upcoming webinar (July 16th at 12pm Pacific), which includes bonus material about how to get reviews in more challenging situations.