Patient reviews on websites like ZocDoc, Vitals, Healthgrades and others can have a major impact on the growth of your business. In an age where patients are informed consumers, positive reviews can bring them to your door. So, what is your practice doing to get people talking?
At The Spiegel Center, they don’t leave it to chance. The plastic surgery practice in Boston, which has served thousands of patients worldwide, takes a serious approach to business development, emphasizing targeted, data-driven strategies that can be measured and improved. For example, they are very deliberate about soliciting reviews from Spiegel’s clientele.
Each member of the business development team—three full-time and one part-time employee—is assigned weekly and monthly goals for generating reviews. The team then tracks how it meets those goals and adjusts accordingly. Brian Miller, Spiegel’s director of operations and business development, says the practice puts more time into patient testimonials and promotion than it does into physician referral.
“This is a much more lucrative scenario, because we are actively going to get business, as opposed to the business being referred,” Miller said. “We are promoting, ‘hey, we do this thing. We do it well. And this patient says we do it well.’ That drives interest in the organization, and people will inquire.”
When patients do inquire, The Spiegel Center is ready with real-time response. The team’s goal is to reply within 15 minutes, whether questions come via phone call, email, social media or any other channel. The reasons are rooted in what patients want and how they go about conducting research, Miller said, and understanding that process is integral to generating new business.
“They're researching healthcare providers in the aesthetics field and the plastic surgery field,” Miller said. “So you're one of maybe five people that they've chosen to reach out to. They sat down at a computer or with their phone, and they typed something up to send to you. That means they're interested right now. And that means that, in 15 minutes, they're going to find somebody else.”
He added: “if you respond right now, you're going to keep the lead warm. If you wait two days, and they've had a chance to talk to one or two or three other providers, now you're one of many.”
When it comes to marketing, The Spiegel Center looks to data to identify effective strategies that are based on the bottom-line goal: attracting new patients.
For example, the practice tracks impressions, likes, shares and other common metrics on channels like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. Then, the team looks at the number of patient inquiries that come from those channels; the number of consultations that result from those inquiries; and how much revenue is generated by those consultations. Adding in the amount of activity and spending on those channels yields a complete picture.
“Direct marketing is much more effective than broad marketing,” Miller said. “It’s money better spent. We spend less than other organizations by being more analytical with our data, and doing direct marketing initiatives.”
By adding in market-specific knowledge, the team can optimize ever further. For example, they know that 40-something women will be interested in belly tightening, fat freezing and similar procedures in order to get in shape for summer. By reaching out with highly visual content about those procedures on its most effective social channels, it can attract prospects who are ready to act.
“The trick with any practice or any business is understanding the data,” Miller said. “If you don't do that, then you can't make a strategy for your path forward.”
The business development team is not the only reason The Spiegel Center attracts new patients. The practice is run by husband-and-wife team Jeffrey and Onir Spiegel. He is an expert in head and neck surgery and a specialist in facial feminization surgery, helping thousands of transgender women make the transition. She is a national expert in facial aesthetics. Both are well-recognized specialists who draw patient interest.
For example, Spiegel is active in his specialty, chairing medical meetings and committees, and serving as Professor and Chief of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University’s medical school. With more than 100 medical publications to date, Spiegel continues to be active in cutting-edge research and publish his work.
He also communicates with a large community of would-be patients, creating blog posts, appearing in videos on the practice’s social channels and writing for outside publications. When Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transgender woman, Spiegel wrote a series of articles in The Daily Beast explaining the physical transformation and some of the concepts behind gender recognition.
To Miller, it is all part of reaching The Spiegel Center’s target audience. “My bottom-line goal is double-digit growth, year-over-year,” he said. “I want lots of money coming in the door, and I want to do that based upon audience interest.”
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