Archive for the ‘Powerful Thoughts’ Category

No-Fluff, Aesthetically Smart Marketing

Friday, June 17th, 2011

“I NEVER THOUGHT MUCH OF MARKETING. Practices do it in my area: billboards, magazines and things like that, but I’ve never had to. I’m not sure what good it would do me or where I should start – if I decide to – and how much is “fluff”? When is good, good enough? Do I really need great design? What do I need, and what is best for my practice? I’ve had a fairly busy practice until 2008. Things are a little slow now, but we’re making it. It would be nice to have a few more bookings, but I’m hesitant to start marketing.”

These are questions and concerns I hear weekly. For an industry that historically has believed marketing is wrong, these are legitimate concerns. “Everybody’s doing it” just doesn’t fly with me. And as you’d imagine, just average design doesn’t either.

My industry, the advertising and marketing industry, still really doesn’t know the plastic surgery industry deeply enough to always do you the best good. It is even more difficult because each practice is so unique. For some, you’ve found that a cable TV buy generates calls. For others, your website is your top dollar producer, and for yet others, your patients are your best advocates.

The most important thing I can tell you is that your marketing needs to resonate with your target audience. PATIENTS ARE ATTRACTED TO PHYSICIANS AND STAFF WHO COMMUNICATE VALUES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS SIMILAR TO THEIR OWN. Any marketing effort you engage in needs to be a trust builder, a genuine relationship builder. It’s got to be emotionally beautiful, respectful, just right for the personality of the practice, and the very best quality you can afford.

SO, WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR MARKETING, WHAT IS FLUFF? FLUFF IS A WASTE OF MONEY. Fluff happens when you don’t know what your goals are for each particular marketing effort. Fluff is not having an emotionally engaging and beautiful brand. Fluff happens when you have to do a project over, you don’t use vendors you can trust – or you don’t take time to understand your contract and what you’ve purchased. Fluff is spending too much money on external marketing when you already have a good-sized database of loyal patients who love your practice. Fluff is not looking at your consultation process through the eyes of a patient. Fluff, to me, is marketing efforts that don’t produce. Fluff is a waste of money.

Let me encourage you not to be afraid of marketing but to be purposeful about your brand, and especially, to be aesthetically smart. Give me a call, I’d love to hear what you think is fluff.

Candace – 877 884 7676

Is Marketing a “Dirty Word”?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Historically, marketing has been somewhat of a dirty word to the medical field. Traditional marketing didn’t address medicine’s specific needs and seemed ingenuous and self-seeking. Practitioners relied on word of mouth referrals to generate business for themselves and eschewed advertising.

Times have changed and today’s marketplace requires frequent and genuine communication with patients. There is much more competition, and it’s tough. Additionally, aesthetic services are intangible. Patients cannot experience or sample what you have to offer until they have already made the decision to have a procedure.

How do you determine the quality of something you cannot see, touch or feel before you buy it? Take for instance, choosing one airline over another. How do you know if the engines are in good working order and well maintained? How do you know that the pilot is trustworthy and will get you to your destination safely?

Similar to airlines, patients use proxy items to determine the quality of your aesthetic services. Patients judge your practice based on what they can see and how their interactions with your practice make them feel. What serves as a substitute sample for you? What are patient perceptions of your practice? You must build a tangible means to show evidence of quality.

The way my industry refers to communicating this perception is called marketing. Marketing at its most basic is just that — all the methods you use to communicate your message to your desired audience. Marketing presents a public image and lets people know what services you offer, your credentials, and your level of experience. As much as people like to think otherwise, it doesn’t matter how highly educated, how experienced, how state-of-the-art your facility is if it isn’t communicated and perceived as such by your patients. How you do that communicating can make all the difference in the world. Great patient education is the key to effectively communicating your practice’s message.

Wishing you great weekend,

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director
Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.

www.CandaceCrowe.com

Your practice through the eyes of a patient…

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Each one of you is uniquely different. Yet to most patients you look the same. You all wear suits, you all are highly educated and professional, and you all are passionate about your work. You know your differences and what makes you unique, but how can a patient know that?

How are you going to set yourself apart from all the rest? In the marketing world we call it your unique selling point or USP. It could be you’re the absolute best at a certain procedure, something specific about your experience, a certain area of expertise, the quality of your staff, the attributes of your facility, or who knows what — you do though!

What is your USP (unique selling point)? The wife of one of our client’s was wise enough to say to her husband, “Honey, there are eight other board-certified plastic surgeons in our city just like you. Let’s make a list of what’s different and unique about you and our practice – so we can give patients an idea of why they should choose you.”

This is an essential exercise to do so that you can tell potential patients know why they should choose you:

What is your point of differentiation from your competitors?
List three to five complaints patients share with you.
Who are you? What services do you provide?
How does what you do benefit your patients?
Why do patients pick you?
What problems do you solve for your patients?
What problems cause your patients the most concern?

Once you’ve identified what’s truly unique about you, put it in 50 words or less. This may take some time to really wordsmith the sentences and make them truly represent you, but the end result will be more effective marketing communications coming from your practice.

Wishing you aesthetic beauty in all you do!

Candace Crowe

SO MANY OPTIONS

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Marketing is fundamentally a conversation between your patients/potential patients and your practice. All marketing whether it is internal or external needs to have the heart of great customer service and guide, educate, and encourage your patients. External marketing tells your target audience you have a service that can help them reach their goals. Internal marketing’s goal is to create and retain loyal patients who will recommend you.

Your website is a great example of external marketing. At its basic level, it can help new patients find you – but it can be much more than that. A great, patient-focused website will project an image that inspires confidence in your services.

Loyalty programs, keeping in touch with consults and patients through email, personal notes, phone calls, seminars, great patient education, a video loop that features all of your services for your waiting area, are all great examples of internal marketing. Internal marketing generally costs less and produces a higher return.

LONG-TERM SUCCESS. THE RIGHT MOTIVATION.

Did you know that fear motivates 400% more than pleasure? Do you really want fear to motivate your marketing decisions? It’s better to stick with your well thought out plan. While you may see immediate results from your marketing activities, achieving a balance in your marketing is really a long-term investment and like most investments, it requires patience, determination, consistency and commitment if you want to realize your desired goals. Let me encourage you to work towards creating a strategic, integrated marketing plan based on measurable goals that are right for your practice. Especially in today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is well worth your time.


Wishing you a superb plan,

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director
Candace Crowe Design

Educating Patients. Marketing You.
www.CandaceCrowe.com

A COLOR FOR ALL SEASONS

Friday, February 18th, 2011

The color style prognosticators at Pantone® have named the color of the year as honeysuckle – a confident shade of pink that is said to be energizing and uplifting. Just what the country and the world need with all the challenges we have been facing lately.

Colors have indeed been proven to influence emotion and behavior. Deciding to have cosmetic surgery is an experience packed with all kinds of emotions – anticipation, excitement, trepidation, and happiness. So, you might want to consider the emotion messages you are sending through the colors in your marketing materials. Or at least consider using a color you’ve never considered before, like honeysuckle!

Wishing you aesthetic beauty in all you do!

Candace Crowe

Just recently lights went on…

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

“I am so excited, I want to make all our materials coordinate and look like the quality my husband’s years of education and experience deserve.”

This week Linda received a call from a client who has known us for a very long time. Over the course of our relationship, they have been slow to respond when trying to complete their work. Just recently lights went on when the wife needed to take over as patient coordinator / office manager.

Here’s how the story goes… “I was giving a consultation and toward the end when we started talking about scheduling, the consult proudly states that she was shopping around. So I handed her the Office Depot folder with all sorts of brochures and papers for her to take home to show her husband to sit at the kitchen table with the other consultation packets she had received from shopping other physicians. That’s when my gut hurt. This packet represented all the hard years of work my husband has put into his skill and experience, and she was taking it home to compare to the other packets from her shopping. I felt horrible. Right then I understood how important a complete beautiful personal brand is and committed to doing it right.”

I’m so very glad when a client really understands the importance of all the messages a consult is hearing. Each touch point makes an impression good or bad. Here’s my Wednesday afternoon question to ponder… are each of your touch points working for you, or are they working against you?

Wishing you aesthetic beauty in all you do!

Candace

Time Waits for No One. Take Time…

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Time Waits for No One. Take Time to Attract New Patients.

Face it. Time and resources are limited, so use Franklin Covey’s big rock principle. This jar, depending on what order you put them in, will hold three large rocks and several small ones without overflowing. The large rocks represent my three most important goals or tasks (for the day, week or year). The little ones represent smaller goals, tasks and interruptions-the urgent, but not always important. You see, I have to protect my three most important goals and make room for them first. If I do that, they all can fit.

Plastic surgeons are some of the busiest people I know, so you aren’t just simply going to “find time”. Schedule regular time in your appointment software to focus on your marketing efforts. If you can’t do it, delegate one person who can. They become your designated “keeper of your brand”, keeper of deadlines, reorders, marketing files… That way your brand will be stronger and you’ll be sure to make every dollar of your marketing budget bring a big return.

Time is our great equalizer. You can’t add to it. You can only manage it better. So choose your efforts wisely.

Wishing you (if you celebrate it) a very Merry Christmas! Peace, Hope & Joy.

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.

www.CandaceCrowe.com
Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved

I did it. I took down my Facebook pages…

Monday, December 13th, 2010

I did it. I took down my Facebook pages, both personal and business. Managing who I am through social media has taken more time than I have to give it. I will miss seeing all your photos and faces. My decision is largely because I am passionate about doing things the best I can, and I never gave Facebook the time it needs to be done well.

I feel the pressure of “doing it all” but I really can’t do it all well, so Facebook has to go. I am practicing what I preach; if you’re going to do something make it the best you can.

Another mistake I made was to let my business and my personal listings get mixed up. If I should ever decide to come back, I will separate the two from the start.

For now I have kept my blog, LinkedIn and Twitter. I am going to work at making them something I’m proud of and that lives up to my perfectionistic standards :) If I find they still take to much time, we’ll see. I hope to make more phone calls, post more interesting and relevant blogs, do a better job on LinkedIn, and send interesting Tweets.

I would enjoy hearing your responses. Don’t hesitate to call, email or text me!

A big smile for each of you!

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director
Candace Crowe Design

Educating Patients. Marketing You.
www.CandaceCrowe.com

Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved

Is Your Marketing a Disconnect?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Too many times the quality of surgeons’ marketing materials does not match their surgical abilities. This disconnect is then carried over to what their patients think about the quality of work they do. You dress for success; you hire an interior designer to make your facilities look warm, inviting and comfortable; you purchase the finest quality of instruments; and you attend premier industry conferences to learn and better your skills. The design of your website should demand professional time and energy, with the same commitment to excellence as other areas of your practice.

You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Often your marketing materials serve as the front door for a patient. With competition for patients at an all time high, you cannot afford to lose a potential patient with a poor first impression.

Wishing you marketing that reflects your true ability,

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director
Candace Crowe Design

Educating Patients. Marketing You.
www.CandaceCrowe.com

Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved

Appearance Counts for Your Practice, Too

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Be purposeful about the image you project.

Plastic surgeons know, perhaps better than anyone, that image matters. People care about their own looks, and they care about the appearance of what they buy. Appearance counts not only to your patients but for your practice as well. (Just ask companies like Apple or Nike).

Change is difficult to many people. Making the jump to a new doctor or the decision to have a plastic surgery procedure can be stressful. One way to help prospective patients to feel more confident is by projecting a purposeful image, also known as a brand. A brand helps consumers to know exactly what they’ll get for the time and money they spend. Take Starbucks coffee for example. When you purchase a cup of coffee from Starbucks, do you know precisely what you can expect? Of course you do, because the Starbucks brand cares about their appearance – they add personalization, great graphics, and a well thought out experience to every cup of coffee. You see, a good brand adds trust, an emotional connection, and increases confidence in knowing what you’ll get.

Wishing you a week full of profitable work, joy, and laughter,
Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.

www.CandaceCrowe.com
Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved