What Is A New Cosmetic Patient Worth and What Are You Willing To Do To Get Your Next One?

“People will pay for what they want more often than they are willing to pay for what they need


New cosmetic patients are part of a healthy practice.  Normal attrition occurs when patients move or complete care and move to maintenance therapy out of the reconstruction phase.
Marketing can be expensive and unfortunately, most practices don’t monitor their return on investment.   With goals and controls, marketing can be a productive means for capturing new cosmetic patients.  
But without monitors and accountability, marketing can be a money pit never to return what you spent!
Here’s two real scenarios to illustrate that:
1.  Dr. X in a suburb of Chicago spent $17,000/month on cosmetic surgery marketing.  He believed the investment to be ‘the best in his area’ was necessary and was committed to the expense. He used commercials on the area’s major network television, internet and local radio advertisement. He got 22 new cosmetic patients to call his office for a consultation that month and 17 of them showed for the appointment.  His average new case was worth $5000 in his office.  Of the 17 people who presented for the consultation, zero accepted treatment.
2.  Dr. Y lives in a small town in the Southwest and spends a $1500 a month on cosmetic dentistry marketing.  She uses direct response mail for a targeted niche by only mailing to households that meet her age and income qualifications based on her data of who her ideal patient is. She was looking for patients for elective cosmetic dentistry services.  She offers a reduced fee initial examination/consultation if they take quick action and are one of the first 17 people to call.  She also gives an information 24/7 hotline phone number that is available for those who request information but aren’t ready to call the office directly.  She gets 8 new cosmetic patients a month that schedule for the examination and 2-3 more who call the hotline and want information.  Of the 8 that come in, 6 accept treatment and schedule.  Her average new case is $2750.

Now the million dollar question is “Who’s marketing is working?”

The answer is “Both of them!”

But their outcomes are very different!

Dr. X got 17 cosmetic patients to come in at a cost of $1000 each.  His new patient value is $5000.  Tracking shows what doctor didn’t do is convert these prospects and that is an internal systems issues-not a marketing problem.
How were these cosmetic patients handled on the phone and once them came in? 
  • Was the office not consistent with the message the advertising was promoting? 
  • How was their customer service? 
  • Were these people pushed into big cases they weren’t ready to do or was there a “retreat option,” something smaller to get them going forward even if it isn’t the entire care right now?
Dr. Y spent 1500 well planned dollars.  Unlike Dr. X, she was after a specific cosmetic patient.  She spent time building an “avatar” or model cosmetic patient and researched where this person lived and what they did. Then she found an organization that her group would belong to and marketed to that list. (That’s a technique is a lengthy conversation that we will share for another day!)
Dr. X could have spent less by targeting a selective list of potential cosmetic patients as opposed to his shotgun approach of costing media. Unfortunately, Dr. X didn’t take the time to identify his ideal patient and his marketing showed that.
Dr. Y spent $250 per patient with the new case value of $2750.  Her cosmetic patients accepted different level of their care, 60% all now and the other 40% over time (a piece at a time). 
PLUS, Dr. Y has 2-3 more a month that have ‘raised their hand as being interested, but not ready to buy’ when they requested their free information Dr. Y can continue to stay in contact with these people through soft follow-up mailings, placing them on her newsletter list, and make occasional phone contact if they left a number.  These patients need more information and time, but the relationship – THE MOST IMPORTANT PART- has been started and will be nurtured.
Dr. Y got $9625 worth of treatment off her $1500 investment for a return on investment (ROI) of 6.4.  What Dr. Y needs to be doing to spending MORE per new cosmetic patient since she has a system that is working and continue with it.
***Biggest error in cosmetic marketing is stopping the marketing because a practice got busy and waiting there is a slump before starting up again.  That causes the loss of momentum and loss of potential production.

ABM “Always Be Marketing!”