It’s Not About Aiming Your Gun, It’s About Pulling the F*$#ing Trigger!
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
― Peter F. Drucker
In my marketing book, I quote a joke about frogs:
Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump. How many are left?
Because there is a difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it.
When I speak to doctors who are considering buying professional services, they spend countless hours thinking about whether they should go through with a purchase or not.
Other times when I work with clients, they’re apprehensive about investing in a new advertising campaign or bringing on additional staff to move the practice forward. In the end it generally boils down to fear, and that fear usually comes in three limiting forms. You’re going to read about each of them and get some coping mechanisms to help you make decisions more effectively.
1. Fear of losing money; or getting ripped off, again.
2. Fear of failure.
3. Fear of the unknown.
Your fears usually paralyze you from taking action. And taking action is the only thing that matters in business. If you’re standing still, you’re nothing more than a sitting duck. Your competitors aren’t waiting till you’re good and ready to take them on. They’re coming for you right now. If you want to fend them off and take control, it’s not enough to take aim; you actually have to pull the trigger.
1. Fear of losing money; or getting ripped off, again.
If you haven’t been disappointed by at least one marketing/SEO/advertising company, it probably means you’re not trying hard enough. I love it when I come across a doctor that’s had a bad experience. It just means that my ability to make them money will be that much more valuable. The hard part is getting past the initial distrust and apprehension. In truth, it does make me sad when I hear about how you might have been steered in the wrong direction. One doctor I recently had a call with was advised by his marketing company to do movie theater ads. Really! Needless to say, they didn’t work at all. He lost money on the ads, and they made no perceivable difference to his practice. He was now, understandably, worried about making the same mistake again and getting nowhere fast. There are ways to gauge if you’re going down the same path twice, and there are ways to sense if one company smells the same as the last. More on that later.
Before we go any further, let’s get into the topic of money.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have, you’re always going to be afraid of losing it. You can’t help it. Not only have you been indoctrinated by your parents from the time you first held a dollar bill, but your psychology is hardwired to avoid loss. It’s a rational evolutionary byproduct of your survival instinct. You’re not as motivated to go after something as much as you are to keep from losing it.
The truth is that for the vast majority of human existence, we’ve been on the brink of starvation. It would only take one drought or fire or insect horde to wipe out an entire village’s prospects for surviving the following season.
Think about it like this. If you were living 5,000 years ago with no stable agriculture, disease and pest control, or a way to reliably store and preserve your food, what would motivate you more: Would it be the possibility of a huge harvest if you gambled and planted all your seed this spring? Or would it be the ability to sustain yourself and your family by saving half your seed over two seasons, just in case something happened? It would be the latter. The people that preferred the former are being dug up with little brushes by men and women in khaki shorts and wide-brimmed hats.
If you’re alive today, there’s a good chance that somewhere in your evolutionary past, your ancestors chose to be conservative and save seed. Those prudent genes were passed down to you over time. You can’t help but feel a sense of loss every time you spend money.
The one exception to this behavior is observed in people that have experienced an unstable childhood—people for whom change was a constant or inevitability. That could mean anything from extreme poverty, to abuse, or moving from one place to another repeatedly. Anything that caused flux and a perception of instability in your early childhood could make you more prone to taking risks.
I have good news for you. Money is the easiest thing in the world to get.
You may have been taught that money is hard to make. It’s not. Learning to play your kid’s favorite video game is hard. Making money is easy.
It doesn’t matter how destitute you become, you can always pick up a rag and a bucket of water and start making money. Any idiot can make money. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get. Pimple-faced teenage McDonald’s employees are making money for shaking salt on fries.
Find a way to be of use to another human being and you can get money. Stop and think about that for a minute. The actual getting of money is not a hard act. You, as a doctor, basically do the same thing but just get more of it. You found a way to be of use to others and they’re now paying you. Easy. The mechanics are not at all difficult. So if you spend some money, is it really a huge tragedy? It’s not. There is always more of it, and you’re smart enough to get it.
And I’m not, by any means, suggesting that money doesn’t matter. It matters a great deal. To a business, it’s the very lifeblood that keeps it going.
So if money is easy to make, why are you being stopped in your tracks by the fear of losing money? It’s because you’re not certain about your purchase. Certainty leads to action, and you need to get certain about your money. Either hire that staff member or don’t. The only thing you shouldn’t do is sit on the fence. You have to pull the trigger. Stop aiming and make a decision. It’s the only way forward.
When making your choice, the main thing you’ll need to learn is the difference between an investment and an expense. Expenses are things that you’ll get nothing from, not even a potential return on your investment. A useless employee who drags down the whole team with complaints is an expense. Your electricity bill is an expense. (Though in fairness to electricity, at least you get some light out of the deal. But it’s still an expense.)
An investment is something that has, at the very least, a potential for a return. Your marketing and advertising are an investment. Your courses and continuing education are an investment. It’s just that most people get it wrong. Read my article on branding to find out why.
So what about those pesky marketing companies that don’t deliver?
You deal with them by examining what went wrong with the last company, before you meet with them. You ask them what they plan to do for you. If it sounds like the last company you hired, they’re probably just as bad. Here are key trigger words and phrases you should look out for:
- Name recognition
- News coverage
- Web design
- It’s about you as the doctor
- Social media page
- Join the online conversation
- Inbound marketing
- Proprietary software
- Build you X number of links per month
- Write you X number of articles per month
- Facebook contests
- Viral videos
- Viral content
All those words should make you question them deeper, or better yet, just end the meeting and move on. If they’re going on about any of those topics, they probably don’t have a clue.
When you’re deciding who to contract, you need to make sure that you’re buying progress, not activity. If the company you’re talking to is handing you a long list of deliverables, run for the hills. Your success will not come about from activity. As I say in my book, Activity does NOT equal progress.
When you’re looking to hire a marketing firm, you need to make sure that their focus is not on you. Their focus should be on your prospective patients. Here are some general guidelines that should send off alarm bells.
- They work with multiple competitors in your city and pitch their “experience” as an asset. Your competitors should be dirt to you and to them. Unless you have a way to make money off of these competitors, your marketing company’s only interest should be in taking away 100% of their marketshare. How can you trust the marketing company not to take your proprietary discoveries and use them with your competitors as well? You can’t. And you shouldn’t hire a trojan horse.
- They’re generalist. They work in all industries and promise to help you get leads. Because converting traffic to leads is all about understanding the buyer well enough to target their psychology, the generalized tactics these companies use seldom work. Be weary of anyone that tells you about “best practices.” The truth is that nobody knows 100% what will work in YOUR market. It needs to be tested. Or they need to have a proven system that works for YOU.
- They’re designers, not marketers. Winning business out of the market is not about how pretty your site looks. It’s about sucking in the leads and converting them into paying clients. That’s the job of your marketing. Be weary of hiring a designer to do a marketer’s job. In general, designers want to make you pretty. Marketers want to make you money.
- They’ve never built up a successful cosmetic practice.There’s a lot to be said for experience. It’s all well and good to make you nice-looking ads, or get you to the top of Google. But what happens when you come across a problem that’s not related to that? Building a practice requires the expertise and intellect to overcome the roadblocks that arise as you grow. If your marketing company hasn’t built a successful cosmetic practice, they won’t know how to deal with the unexpected and industry-specific issues.
- They have a long-term contract. I learned long ago that if we do a great job, contracts are a formality. Clients don’t want to leave me when they see that I make them money. In the past, I’ve come across situations where clients were being held to year-long contracts they couldn’t get out of, and even cases where the supplier was holding their domain name hostage. These practices are despicable. If your marketing company doesn’t have the balls to stand on their own merits, they shouldn’t be hired. Anything beyond a three-month contract is unnecessary. You’ll be able to see progress in three months and know if something has the potential of working at the six-month mark. If they don’t have a simple termination clause in the contract, don’t sign it.
2. Fear of failure.
You’re a high achiever. You don’t like to make mistakes, and in your line of work, mistakes can cause lives. You expect a lot from yourself and so do the people around you. The pressure to be perfect is everywhere, and it’s daunting. It’s understandable that you don’t want to make mistakes. Thankfully, business is not medicine.
In business, and your practice IS a business, you NEED to make mistakes to learn. It’s not getting something right that’s of any value. In fact, always getting things right leads to arrogance, and that leads to complacency, which ultimately leads to failure.
If you never take the shot, you’ll never hit your target.
And yet that’s what you might be doing. You’re sitting there agonizing over every single detail of a proposal when you know in your gut if it’s right for you or not. You go over and over the options in your mind and are scared about looking the fool. You aim and you aim and you aim and you never pull that trigger. And that’s not good.
Nothing in business, and I mean nothing, ever happens without action. Well, almost nothing. The one thing that happens without action is defeat. The idea that the mountain will come to you is a myth. If you stand in one place long enough, the mountain will NOT come to you. The mountain will land on you so your competitors can climb over the rotting corpse of your practice on their way to success.
In business, inaction is the single most damaging variable to a practice. It keeps you from moving forward. It stops the implementation of great initiatives. It corrupts employee morale and keeps you from hiring great people. It’s a slow-acting poison that slowly brings your practice to its knees.
So how do you overcome the fear? You embrace it.
You take it upon yourself to understand that failure is good for you. You look at every opportunity to fail as an opportunity to learn. When you were in medical school, did every surgery go perfectly? In fact, has every surgery gone perfectly since you started your practice? Probably not. It’s normal to run into problems. But did you learn from your mistakes? Are you a better doctor because of them? I’m willing to bet that you are.
If you make a hundred mistakes, you’ve financed your own education. You got a master’s course in what works. Failing is not the problem. Failure to learn from your failure is. The reality is that if you never take the shot, you’ll never know anything; and you’ll never achieve anything that will contribute to your long-term growth and expansion.
“You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
3. Fear of the unknown.
This last fear is also genetically inherent. After all, the unknown has killed many an ancestor before us.
We carelessly repeat sayings like “Curiosity killed the cat” without a shred of examination to see if they are valid, and more important, relevant things to say. Sure, curiosity may have killed some cats, but who cares? Curiosity is also responsible for countless inventions that you enjoy today. The unknown is not bad, if you have a strategy.
And that’s the secret to overcoming the unknown. If you’re doing senseless things for senseless reasons, the unknown really will kill you. That new Google pay-per-click campaign will suck all your advertising money in under a week. But it won’t be because it was unknown or new. It was because you were lacking strategy and direction.
And here’s the worst part. You won’t know if your strategy is sound unless you pull the trigger and take the step into the unknown. Easy to say but hard to do, right? Well, there is a way to do it. Whenever I come across a situation where a client is afraid to take a step in what I know is the right direction, I do one simple thing:
Projecting likely scenarios into the future is the best way to overcome your fear of the unknown. It goes beyond the rudimentary “What’s the worst that could happen?”-type scenario. I try not to tempt Murphy’s Law too much in that respect.
Projection is the process of working out likely scenarios, both good and bad. In most cases, you’ll find that your mind blows up the unknown to epic proportions. It’s like hearing a mouse at night while camping, and your brain taking the noise and projecting an image of a grizzly bear in your mind. Business is no different. Everyone creates their own boogymen.
If you take your scenario and project into the future the possible spend, yield and overall risk, you will find that the unknown seems a lot less frightening. All of a sudden you look at a huge potential failure as a simple investment in your education at the cost of a few thousand dollars. Future projections give you the roadmap to plan a strategic approach.
I always try to combine projection with careful tests. Going into any venture with a realistic and safe test eliminates all the uncertainty from a scenario, and gives you real data to use for your bigger decisions. It takes the unknown and makes it known. Once you know a thing, you no longer fear it as much, which allows you to take action.
Whatever you’re struggling with, whatever you’re planning to do, do something! Pull the trigger before your competitor does!
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
—William B. Sprague
Botox Marketing Ideas
As I’m sure you’re well aware, Botox is the single most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure in the world, and it’s still growing.
As Baby Boomers and Generation X continue to age, more and more people will want to look better – younger.
And you can help them.
But you’ve got to reach them first.
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry clinic out there offers Botox treatments, so how’re you supposed to rise above the noise and get noticed?
Custom Botox branding is flashy, but you need to grab people’s attention with more than just flash before you can become even a local household name.
Should you go the digital route? Or make one of those terrible low-budget local TV ads?
Before you even start your marketing, you need that “Aha!” moment, and that comes directly from your target audience.
Consider your target audiences: who is using Botox most, and why?
For a lot of people, Botox goes hand in hand with starlets and celebutantes, but in the real world celebrities aren’t the typical users.
Soccer moms are.
According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, most Botox users are working mothers in their 40s and 50s, juggling their careers and their families. Most of these women are in long-term, committed relationships, and have a huge variety jobs ranging from homemakers to business owners, from secretaries to professionals.
The second biggest demographic for Botox is, surprisingly, Millennials who are trying to nip any developing wrinkles in the bud.
And the number one most cited reason for using Botox?
“To look more relaxed and less stressed.”
Focusing your efforts on these demographics has the best chance of generating new leads.
Positioning is everything.
Another way to stand out from the crowd is to make your positioning different from everyone else. Botox has been around long enough that most people know the basics of what it does and what it’s for. And way too many people have gotten the wrong idea.
That’s because too many physicians take the wrong positioning and end up playing on their potential clients’ insecurities and fears.
You don’t need to tell women that their lives will be better and that they’ll be more beautiful if they use Botox.
Consider makeup and hair dye. Most women use makeup on a daily basis, and dyed hair is just a fact of life. These products change appearances and help give confidence, but they aren’t looked down on as “vain.”
Position your Botox treatments as just another tool, not really any different from the other cosmetic products women use every day.
Remind them of how beautiful they already are.
Or rather, how beautiful they were, maybe 5 or 10 years ago.
There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t look back at their old photos from just a few years ago and think, “Damn, look how smooth my skin used to be!” or, “I looked so young!”
You can’t help but feel nostalgic for the skin you used to have. For the way you used to look.
Botox, unlike anything you can get in the beauty section, is like turning back the clock. In an instant, your skin snaps back to the smooth, wrinkle-free look it had just a few short years ago. With those kinds of results, Botox doesn’t need to be playing on fears. It should be showing women that it can give them their smooth skin back.
That it can give them back what time has stolen from them, and what is rightfully theirs.
Don’t try to sell Botox as perfection, or even as a product. It shouldn’t be sold as a way to look better, implying that the way women look isn’t “good enough.”
No, instead, Botox should be sold to women as themselves.
Tell them that they are amazing and wonderful and beautiful, but that maybe they were a little more so about five years ago…And Botox can bring that “you” back.
Instead of selling them Botox, you’re really just selling them themselves, and that’s a lot easier to do.
This idea is a lot different than showing women the beautiful results of other beautiful women. Rather than wrinkle-free faces flashing smiles full of pearly whites, you should be trying to get women to look at pictures of themselves from five or six years ago, then get them thinking about Botox.
An interesting idea to target these groups that has worked very well for some clinics is cross promotion. Teaming up with another industry in your immediate area can help both of you build your businesses and attract new clients.
Of course, in order for it to work, you’ve got to choose who you team up with very carefully.
Let me give you an example.
A clinic in Southern California (read: Beverley Hills) teamed up with a real estate agent. The agent raffled off hundreds of dollars in Botox services to attract potential home buyers to one of her open house events. Since this real estate agent was used to dealing with high-end properties, she assumed that the kinds of people she wanted to attract would be interested in that kind of a prize.
She was right, and some smart Botox provider made a nice name for themselves, and probably even picked up a new client or two in the process.
Maybe real estate isn’t the way to go for you, but think about those target audiences.
Instead, consider talking to people involved in weddings. Wedding planners, clothing rentals, maybe even venues themselves. Brides and wedding parties might be interested, and even if they’re not, some of the older guests might.
If not the wedding industry, maybe gyms or fitness programs for that complete “new you.” Maybe offer that one as part a “New Years Resolution” promotion.
Get creative with your cross promotions. And make sure you’re targeting the right audiences.
As a very “in-the-moment” media, and with the potential to reach a much broader audience, it’s no surprise that online marketing has become more popular with cosmetic clinics.
And with good reason, after all, the internet is the #1 place potential patients go to make surgical decisions.
Nowadays women look up everything. From researching the actual procedures to finding doctor reviews, your audience is on the internet.
Because of this, your online marketing efforts, which includes your website, needs to both educate and entertain.
For every 100 people who try Botox for the first time, there are thousands who wonder if it’s right for them. Try a two pronged attack, targeting the group that’s still on the fence, trying to figure out if it’s for them.
Entice them with a web-based coupon or offer that gives them an excuse to linger a bit longer.
Significant savings often works as the best carrot.
Make sure this offer is on its own landing page on your site. And for God’s sake, make sure that your offer says “Botox” and your clinic’s name and/or logo. Clinics sometimes forget these important details, and their marketing suffers. Remember, you always want any potential clients to remember your name and what you do.
Once they’ve taken this bait, set the hook with good, relevant information.
One way might be a free seminar. This give prospective patients a chance to learn about the procedure, meet you and your staff, and talk with others considering the treatment in a casual, non-threatening, no obligation situation.
You inform them on what they need and want to know, dispelling any common myths along the way (like the dreaded frozen face). From there, they convince themselves through chatting with like minded people, and a more personal connection to both you and your staff.
A few words on content marketing
A great way to both educate and entertain at the same time that is often overlooked by clinics in their marketing efforts is content marketing.
This suggestion takes longer, takes a fair amount of effort, and requires the nerve to keep going.
In a nutshell, content marketing is creating, curating, and sharing content that is relevant to you, or in this case, Botox.
And it works!
Marketers who make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to get a positive return on their money.
On top of that, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing, and costs less than half.
But the trick is, it only works if you care enough to do whatever it takes to gain your audience’s trust.
You do this by forging a relationship with them, and becoming their one-stop-shop for all things Botox.
But remember, you can’t just share other people’s content. Content curation is a great tool for extending your own site and social media, but sharing other people’s content should never replace your own entirely.
Try to keep in mind that creating everything on your site is demanding, but automation doesn’t engage with your target audience. It’s that engagement that builds trust and a relationship with your potential patients. That leads to more business for you.
Here’s a few tips on what to share, and what to create.
Types of content to share:
- Content written or created by people who are influential to your audience. We know who the target is, so who speaks directly to them? Martha Stewart uses Botox, maybe she’s written something about her experience. And YouTube is full of younger Botox advocates.
- Powerful or provocative industry news. For example, did you know there’s been a recent trend of lawyers and politicians getting Botox done? They say it helps hide their nerves, shock, and how much they’re judging others.
- The internet loves infographics. They’re easy and fun to read, and offer a ton of information at a glance. They are the ultimate “educate & entertain” tool. And they’re 30 times more likely to be read than any wordy article. You can make your own, but it can be really time consuming if you aren’t a graphic design hobbyist.
- Botox-industry specific newsletters.
- Botox statistics.
- New and compelling research. For example some researchers are testing Botox to treat anxiety.
- Industry white papers, ebooks, and case studies on Botox.
- Articles you or your staff have written about Botox for other sites or publications.
Types of content to create:
- Tips. All kinds of tips. Tips on getting ready for the Botox treatment. Tips on how to recover comfortably. Tips on making the most out of each session.
- How-to and best practice guides. Maybe a little more detailed than just tips.
- Videos are a great way to build a more personal relationship with your audience. They require a little more effort, since you have to set the time aside to actually make them, but your audience gets to know you, your staff, and your practice. This is an amazing way to build trust. Video subjects can be tips, how-tos, procedure walk-throughs, or simply introducing yourself.
Above all else, when you’re deciding on what to share, remember: emotion drives decisions; data rationalizes them.
Let me tell you a story about my Aunt Stephanie.
She’d been thinking about Botox treatments for a while, but she was having a really hard time getting over the idea of cheating the natural process of aging. She had it in her head that that was somehow wrong, or worse, unacceptable.
Then one night she read an article about how women with deep forehead wrinkles, just like her, were often seen as always angry or upset by those around them.
My family was always asking her what was wrong and if she was sleeping alright, so this article really spoke to her fears. Now, this being the 21st century and all, she Googled “forehead winkle solutions,” and can you guess what popped up at the top of her results?
Aunt Steph did a little reading and learned that Botox is the most popular injectable of all time, and it’s helped millions of middle-aged women, just like her.
Now, my Aunt Steph’s a pretty savvy lady, so she took her search a little deeper, and looked for “safe Botox” where she lived. She happened to stumble across a local clinic’s blog post that took the time and effort to not only list Botox’s benefits, but to also directly address the very fears and misconceptions that were making Steph so anxious.
For weeks she was reading that doctor’s blog, and over time she started to think, “Maybe Botox isn’t so bad after all.”
The friendly and informative articles helped Stephanie to feel less afraid and more comfortable about the idea of getting the treatment. She even found a video on how the procedure itself is done, and read an ebook on aftercare that she had downloaded from the same surgeon’s website.
A couple of weeks later, she went in for her first Botox treatment.
She took her time, learned all she could, and made an informed decision.
But if we go way back to the beginning, we can see that her final decision to actually undergo Botox treatments stemmed from her fear that her loved ones would think she was always upset. The informative content she was able to find with the help of that doctor’s blog and website directly addressed that fear, putting it to bed. Then she rationalized the decision with the help of all that data she found earlier: the stuff about how Botox has helped millions of women just like her, and how happy they are with their results.
That doctor earned my aunt’s trust with helpful, friendly, and relevant information. Once she trusted them, she gave them her business. And she’s never looked back.
Okay, my Aunt Stephanie doesn’t really exist.
But she is the perfect example of how decisions are made in today’s internet-connected world. With all the world’s knowledge accessible in an instant with that little device in your pocket, people naturally want to look up information for themselves. It helps us feel more in control.
In fact, 73% of modern consumers prefer to get information about the organizations they’re interested in through articles and content, instead of traditional advertising. 90% find custom content useful. And most importantly, 77% of people today think that companies that put in the effort to create custom content are interested in building good relationships with them, the consumer.
You’ve got plenty of options for places to publish all your curated content too. Create content for a company blog. Include infographics with your e-mail newsletters. Offer that ebook you wrote as a free download on your website. Upload videos to your website and YouTube channel. And by all means, if you haven’t set up social media channels for your clinic yet, do it now, and share your content there too.