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Medical Spa Marketing: 5 Essential Promotional Strategies

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Don't start without at least one of these or your "Medi-Spa" may go down the drain.

girlThe cross-over blending of a medical practice and a day spa continues to grow in popularity.

The public finds value and authority in medically directed services to improve personal appearance, and many physicians recognize how a "medi-spa" can add new revenue to their businesses - with their staff doing much of the work.

That's not to say that everything is rosy for would-be medi-spa entrepreneurs. Competition can be fierce, and cautionary tales abound about doctors who didn't realize that they needed to market their new businesses.

Our experience in working with many medi-spa practitioners tells us that there are five key strategies that you need to have working for you for a good shot at success. In fact, you absolutely must have at least one of the first four strategies or you should head back to the drawing board.

(Keep in mind that a strategy is a long-term plan of action that supports your overall goal, and it's not the same as tactics which are the specific action steps to make the strategy work.)

1. Leverage an Existing, Large Female Practice Base - Having potential clientele is a fundamental ingredient. Women are the core target audience for most medical spa services. Practices who can leverage positive relationships with thousands of loyal women patients have a tremendous leg up.

2. Retail Storefront - Unlike a traditional medical practice location, a medi-spa ideally should be highly visible to the general public. Being on "the third floor, down the hall and around the corner" puts you out of sight, out of the public eye and out of mind. Out-front-and-public retail locations are usually more expensive than simple, interior office space. However, you can count that additional rent as part of your marketing budget. In fact, if you are serious about creating a successful medical spa, there is simply no substitute for great space.

3. Cooperative Programs with Like-Minded Businesses - Establish a working relationship with nearby businesses that serve the same target audience. For example, work with one or more hair salons, wedding photographers, cosmetic dentists or local gyms. To make it a win-win arrangement, create an offer/incentive. For example, your offer extended by the wedding photographer to his clients might be: "A certificate for a chemical peel from this leading medi-spa is included when you purchase a Picture Package (of $-value or more)".

(More about cooperative programs in our E-newsletter next week.)

4. Medical Spa Advertising - Paid advertising, such as newspaper, magazine, radio, etc., is likely to be the most expensive of these strategies. But, for one reason or another, many practices may not have the option to do #1, #2 or #3 above, thus leaving #4 as their only option. Done right, advertising works well to reach and attract the public to the medi-spa...especially needed if you don't have one or more of the other strategies working for you. You'll have to watch your return on investment carefully here, but don't be too short-sighted. Remember, even when you make only a small profit directly from your advertising in the short run, your goal is to create a large patient base which will provide you long term revenues and patient referrals.

Medical spa advertising is a whole new world for most doctors, so make sure you get competent help. It is easy to waste a truck load of money if you don't know what you are doing. And the alternative - doing nothing - is a prescription for failure.

REALITY CHECKPOINT - Review strategies one-through-four above. You must have at least one of these first four strategies - and more is better - working for you or there is no hope for the medi-spa. Now, when you're ready - move on to strategy #5.

5. Market to your medi-spa patient base. Once you have built your medi-spa patient base, leverage it to the hilt. Ongoing monthly internal promotions will create new revenues and referrals.

There are many variables to creating and marketing a medical spa, and if you're considering this concept for your practice situation, you'll want to examine all the details. These, however, are the four-plus-one strategic issues that you'll need to answer before you get started.

Let us know how you're doing. We've helped launch many medi-spa programs, and we'd be happy to work with you and your planning process. Reach out to us today at (800) 656-0907.

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