Photos and reviews are the most ubiquitous marketing assets aesthetic practices use to show their work and attract new patients. But are you truly maxing out their potential to grow your bottom line?
Lacee J. Naik, Vice President of Marketing & PR at Sciton, helped us uncover why practices should make publishing great reviews and photos the centerpiece of their marketing strategy. The device maker just launched BBL HERO—the most powerful intense pulsed light device available on the market—built to produce superior treatment results, and set the stage for the photos and patient reviews that prove it.
Photos & Reviews: Proof Positive
It’s a core axiom of aesthetic marketing: patient photos and reviews are crucial, evidence of your work that potential patients must see to feel confident selecting you as their provider.
But wielding these assets to their greatest effect means understanding why they have special resonance with consumers, how they move the needle for your business, and ways you can unlock their full potential for amping your practice marketing to deliver more new patients.
“BBL HERO is unmatched among intense pulsed light devices, and we know that great reviews and show-stopping photos are the most effective ways for practices to prove it.”
– Lacee J. Naik, Vice President, Marketing at Sciton
“We definitely encourage practices that offer Sciton treatments like BBL HERO to actively gather and publish photos and reviews,” said Lacee J. Naik, VP of Marketing and PR at Sciton. “These assets really add up in terms of bringing more patients through their doors.”
Why They’re Such Powerful Proof
What are the trends that make these types of proof more important than ever in winning new patients?
It stands to reason that reviews from former patients, and photographic evidence of outcomes you’ve achieved for them, are essential for convincing new patients to book procedures with you.
“For BBL Hero, we have great hard evidence about what the device can do, and we encourage practices to use it in their marketing. Four times the speed, three times the peak power, and double the cooling are eye-popping figures that make a huge difference in the patient experience and outcomes,” Naik shared.
“But a patient conveying in a review that they were in and out of your office within a lunchtime, or that the procedure was super comfortable, or that results exceeded their expectations, just adds a different dimension to those figures that potential patients can truly relate to.”
Why is that? Let’s look at the bigger factors at work.
Consumers have moved beyond claims
Patients have educated themselves: they’re more technical, more discerning, and want to know what they can expect more than ever before. At their most effective, your reviews and photos help provide the proof these astute consumers require in a way that few other types of content can.
Consumers understand the mechanisms of marketing
There was a time when professional marketers groused that everyone seems to think they can do marketing. The innovations of the current era add a smidge of truth to that complaint.
Thanks to self-service marketing platforms, including Google and the major social networks, more people than ever have found themselves at the controls of marketing campaigns. Consumer savviness about marketing tactics has also increased, with more people understanding how and why they’re targeted and the effect certain messages are intended to have.
“Four times the speed, three times the peak power, and double the cooling are eye-popping figures [for BBL HERO]. Patient reviews and photos add a relatable dimension.”
That meta understanding—”I see what you’re trying to do there”—drives consumers to scrutinize your marketing like never before, like someone trying to uncover the turn in a magic trick.
“It’s why more than ever, marketing needs realness at its core in order to pass the smell test with consumers,” related Naik. Enter reviews and photos.
They’ve vested trust in peers and communities
According to McKinsey & Co., people’s buying choices are influenced by their social media connections and communities now more than ever. Aesthetics treatments that inspire great reviews, in particular, have a built-in advantage under this paradigm.
You practice is positioned to tap into these shifts
Your practice has a built-in advantage: the process of treating patients is overflowing with made-for-content moments, including photographic and testimonial proof that converts aesthetic shoppers into new patients.
How Proof Moves the Needle
We’re not talking soft power. The data shows that photos and reviews can have a real and outsize impact on business outcomes for your practice.
Now let’s take a look at the business implications.
Your practice’s direct interactions with potential patients happen close to home—on the phone or video chat, via email and direct messages.
“Photos and reviews deliver invaluable information about your practice and the outcomes you’ve achieved, but they also have a massive effect on your bottom line when they’re leveraged with intention.”
But before you ever have a chance to personally court new potential clientele, a much larger universe of them are evaluating and considering your practice based on content about your results they encounter online.
Think of your reviews and photos as the most effective avatars of your practice out on the web, digital staff tasked with convincing and converting potential patients by the multitudes: educating them, promoting your practice, and ushering them into your pipeline, all before you or a staff member ever gets the chance to make a direct pitch.
“If you’re not approaching reviews and photos this way, you’re missing a big opportunity to create a much more robust pipeline of potential patients,” said Naik.
“Take BBL HERO: being able to treat the face, back, arms, and legs in two to five minutes each is great for the consumer experience—but it also delivers a business benefit to the practice by helping them treat more patients in the same amount of time. It isn’t just about speed. Sciton’s motto is ‘Because Results Matter’, so for us, the patient experience and business benefit to practices are integral. However, this must be combined with outstanding and repeatable outcomes that patients are happy to spread the word about.”
She continued: “Think of your photos and reviews the same way. They deliver invaluable information about your practice and the outcomes you’ve achieved to potential patients, but they also have a massive effect on your bottom line when they’re used with intention.”
The opportunity, by the numbers
That’s because for most practices, there is a direct line from the number, recency, and quality of reviews and photos they publish to the amount of booked business they ultimately get.
- Increasing reviews from zero to ten increases contacts 8x.
- Getting up to 25 results in 20X more contacts.
- At 50 reviews, the multiple on contacts rises again, to 70x.
- Promotions with before-and-after photos get 3x the click rate.
- On average, consumers need to see at least 11 sets of photos about a treatment before choosing a provider.
Apply your conversion rates to those numbers, and you’ll get a feel for how much producing proof in the form of patient reviews and photos could increase revenue for your practice.
Consistently courting reviews and posting photos pays dividends. Developing processes that facilitate doing so smoothly and consistently will greatly minimize the operational overhead needed to realize the benefits.
Post your photos. They’re already part of the treatment process. Make sure you get permission to post them at the outset, and that you or your staff follow through. Get patients excited about sharing their positive experience. Work with your team to ensure consistent quality—having a process to pass along and post pictures and reviews will be instrumental. If you have a cache of unpublished photos, make publishing them a priority.
Ask everyone for a review. Take the time to train your staff to engage with patients. Reviews don’t just happen to you; the best way to get more of them is to ask. In the U.S., 76% of consumers who are asked to leave a review will do so, yet only 73% of aesthetic consumers report being asked for one by their doctor.
Amp their power
Add context to photos. “This 35-year-old mother of three wanted to rock out on the beach in her bikini.”
Paired with a mommy makeover before-and-after, a descriptive caption like this provides proof not just that a doctor can perform the procedure successfully, but that a 35-year-old mother of three who wanted to rock out on the beach got a result she’s thrilled with.
In only a few words, descriptive captions create a powerful case study that speaks to potential patients’ intentions and desires in seeking a procedure, amplifying the “proof power” of each photo.
Seek context in reviews. The primary motivator for aesthetic patients to leave a great review is to help others who, like they once were, are researching procedures and casting about for just the right doctor. Sixty-three percent of patients are motivated to leave reviews because they want to share the good news about a positive aesthetic experience, more than any other reason. On RealSelf, more than eight in ten reviews are five stars.
To tap into this community-minded motivation and inspire strong reviews, replace a question like “Will you leave me a review?” with something closer to “Have you read our reviews?” when requesting them for your patients. It creates the right mindset: they’ll be more inclined to provide the kind of detail that resonates with potential patients by diving deeper into their experience.
Now Get Creative
Consumer-convincing proof is highly portable, so don’t keep it parked in one place.
“One of the biggest marketing mistakes a practice can make is to not take these amazing assets—images of their work, data about results, people’s powerful words about how you’ve changed their lives—and use them in as many places as possible,” said Naik.
While your website and RealSelf are powerful places to showcase your reviews and photos, you should also be using them to reinforce your message wherever potential patients might encounter your brand. A few thought starters.
Make them move.
If a review is proof, then a conversation with a patient is living proof. A live or pre-recorded session with a patient who had a great experience with your practice, coupled with a detailed review, is an indelible experience for current and potential patients—proof that is about as real as it gets.
This type of exchange allows you to showcase your expertise and personality while making your patient the hero of the moment—someone other patients will believe and relate to.
“Dr. Grant Stevens recently did a live demo of BBL HERO with a patient on Instagram,” said Naik. “His live breakdown of the procedure was invaluable, but the real-time review of the procedure with the patient—she described her experience as he treated her—was a lean-forward moment. It was enlightening to see how the questions flooded in once viewers started hearing directly from the patient.”
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Convert them into social media posts
Identify the most compelling snippet from a review and convert it into social media art. Cite the full review in a caption. Here’s a one-minute primer on how to do it, perfect for non-designers.
Add reviews and B&As to cover images.
Social media, your website, and your RealSelf profile are all destinations that offer space to cite a portion of a review or show off a before-and-after photo in the large cover images that grace your profiles.
“Practices should use images of their work, data about results, and people’s powerful words about how you’ve changed their lives in as many places as possible.”
These are top-of-funnel moments—among the first places that will be visible to consumers who might not otherwise dive deeper. Placing your proof here is a way to use this valuable real estate effectively, and give consumers a reason to keep exploring your profile or feed, driving them closer to contacting your practice.
Cite reviews in your bio.
Your education and credentials belong in your bio, but in the moment when a potential patient is reading about you, a snippet from a patient review communicates what your credentials will ultimately mean for them personally. More people are influenced by reviews (78%) than credentials (65%) when evaluating whether they’ll shortlist you as their doctor.
Level up procedure descriptions & menus.
Hundreds of providers offer the same procedures and use the same treatment devices. “One of our objectives in engineering BBL HERO was consistency. Quite literally, the combination of technology advancements and improved cooling blend together for predictable and comfortable outcomes. But the true end result we’re going for is a happy patient.”
The difference is your application of those tools and the patient experience you’ve created at your practice. “Cite reviews or use before-and-after photos to relate your skill set and results when they’re reading the fine points about procedures you offer,” said Naik. “When patients know a provider offers BBL HERO, for example, we know the details about the device will be key, but that reviews and photos depicting their own work is what will ultimately get that provider selected.”
Photos and reviews play into a universal trend towards consumers requiring you to put your cards on the table when marketing to them. In marketing procedures, be mindful of why they’re so effective and take an intentional approach to sourcing and leveraging reviews and photos, and you’ll see the effort pay off for your patient pipeline.
Offering BBL Hero? Head to your RealSelf dashboard to post before-and-after photos, and grab your short link to request reviews from patients.
BBL® HERO™ by Sciton is the world’s most powerful IPL device on the market. It sets new standards in treating skin conditions associated with aging, active lifestyles, and sun damage. It is available on the newest compact platform, mJoule, as well as Sciton’s industry leading full sized Joule platform.
Its broad range of wavelengths coupled with the quick change Smart Filters allow targeted treatment for many skin conditions without the need for additional handpieces. While its flexible Finesse Adapters enable easy spot treatments. With its user-friendly features, superior results, and exceptional ROI, BBL HERO is the most complete and versatile broadband light system in its class. Ready to learn more?