Create A Valuable Experience
Whatever your need state is at Starbucks, if you ask a customer, I just want to get the coffee and get out, but do you want to be treated with respect? 100% of the time, yes. So the equity of the brand is defined by the quality of the coffee, but most importantly, the relationship that the barista has with the customer, and whether or not the customer feels valued, appreciated, and respected…
… there is a level of trust and confidence in the brand name and the reputation of the company. But unlike almost any other product or consumer brand, it has not been built through traditional marketing or advertising. It has been built by the experience that I’ve just described.
— Howard Schultz, at the time, Starbucks CEO (Harvard Business Review, Jul-Aug 2010)
To help justify premium pricing, every Starbucks location is purposefully designed to provide an ‘experience’ for their consumers. A carefully selected musical playlist piping through speakers at just the right volume. A wifi-enabled seating area offering a peaceful office-away-from-the-office. A tried and true formula for crafting each beverage. Asking your name when you order. This consistent formula makes every visit feel personal, creates a higher perception of value, and has helped Starbucks stand well apart from other coffee and cafe chains.
Takeaway: Consider adopting a similar philosophy when it comes to your aesthetics practice. Audit all standard interaction points with current and potential clients, including outbound marketing and collateral materials, office decor, correspondence and communications, and web presence, and review if any touchpoints could be adjusted to help enhance the overall experience. And remember, the experience shouldn’t end after the client receives the service and goes home. Delighting your clients with friendly, thoughtful post-treatment follow-up could be that extra experiential touch that sparks a glowing referral.
Demonstrate Expertise Through Communications
Consumers seeking an aesthetics provider are savvy. They will typically research between two and five doctors before making a decision. Creating a memorable and comfortable experience from the very first touchpoint can be one way to differentiate your practice from others, but communicating the inherent value of the services you provide might take more than that.
One way brands that follow a premium pricing model accomplish this is to provide extensive details about the expertise and quality that goes into a particular product or service. Marketing guru Neil Patel points to vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson as a company that does this particularly well. Patel believes that by integrating visual representations of the unique engineering and design into their marketing and highlighting patents and other technical details on their website, consumers become more comfortable with a higher price point. “Once you know what’s really inside a Dyson,” he suggests, “that $499.99 price tag seems more manageable.”
Takeaway: While price may be a factor for consumers deciding which aesthetics provider to choose, outcomes are more important than cost. Detailing your knowledge and experience can help consumers view your practice as one that will deliver safe, complication-free outcomes. Consider updating descriptive marketing materials to emphasize the deep knowledge and expertise that your practice and practitioner possesses about certain procedures. Proactively addressing common questions, fears, or misconceptions about a particular service or procedure can also demonstrate to potential clients that your practice is well-informed and empathetic to their concerns. These are all actions which can help increase your practice’s perceived value, helping make the prices of your services and procedures seem, as Patel put it, “more manageable.”
Demonstrate Value Through Social Media
It’s hard to tell a story without an image of the piece, so Instagram and Pinterest are the two platforms we focus on heavily. We want to allow customers to see those pieces in lifestyle settings so they can start envisioning how the brand might fit with their personality and lifestyle.
— Brooke Brinkman, VP of Marketing and Communications at Simon G. Jewelry at SXSW 2017
Social media should be a vital part of any aesthetics practice’s marketing strategy, and visual-heavy platforms like Instagram can be particularly effective for this field. Before-and-after photos, and other photos and videos that highlight or educate about certain procedures, behind-the-scenes footage, all can help increase your practice’s visibility and allow current and potential clients an opportunity to see what you’re all about. As such, this is another important area where your practice must work to demonstrate the value that your pricing suggests.
Takeaway: Spend some time scanning high-end fashion and beauty brands’ Instagram feeds for inspiration. Note the quality of photographs and videos and different types of content (product shots vs. customer shots, informative posts vs. promotional posts, and other content types like inspirational quotes and holiday greetings). Note which hashtags are being used — proper hashtag use can help increase post visibility and target relevant viewers. Build on these examples while examining your practice’s unique characteristics and the experience you are working to deliver, and use them to guide your own social media philosophy.