When it comes to growing a successful dermatology practice, one of the greatest limiting factors is time. Some dermatologists adopt a strategy of continuously scheduling new patients, but it’s rarely sustainable — again, there are only so many hours in a day.
We’ve found that a more effective (and scalable) strategy is to focus on the potential value of each patient, finding ways to improve long-term revenue with new patients through a variety of methods.
The following guide provides an overview of how you can measure and improve per-patient value at your dermatology practice using pricing adjustments, bundling options, and retention/reactivation marketing.
How to measure the potential value of each patient
So, what is the potential value of a dermatology patient? For our example, we’ll consider it to be the average amount a new patient will spend with your practice in the first 12 months. You can extrapolate this amount to find what your 3-year revenue could potentially be (lifetime patients are always the goal, but we find it’s easiest to consider a 3-year period).
You’ll find that your per-patient value depends on several factors, including but not limited to:
- Geography & location
- Treatments offered (e.g., plastic surgery, non-surgical procedures, or both)
We’ve found that fat reduction and skin tightening likely drive the highest spend per patient, followed by skin resurfacing. Aesthetician treatments likely drive the lowest spend per patient, followed by laser hair removal. For a new patient, we have found that revenue usually sits around $500 for the first visit and $1,000-1,500 for the first year.
For non-surgical practices, average daily revenue is generally $5,000 for new practitioners, up to $20,000 for well-established fully cosmetic providers, and $35,000 for the top 1% of cosmetic providers.
Trends & ROI
Reviewing monthly, quarterly, annual, and year-over-year trends can help reveal how patient spending changes over time. In particular, look at how changes occur over a 3-year period. When patients have been with your practice for 3 or more years, does their average annual spending increase each year or stay about the same? Around $5,000-10,000 is ideal for a 3-year period, but the higher, the better.
With these trends in mind, you can start calculating your ROI to see where you should (or shouldn’t) invest. First, look at your different referral sources — internet, patients, professionals, etc. — to see where your revenue stems from and adjust your resources accordingly. Next, take a look at your marketing-related numbers, including:
- How much each lead costs
- How many leads turn into consultations
- How many consultations lead to treatment
- How much patients spend on treatment
- How many patients return
Where is your marketing helping you achieve an ideal 3-year per-patient revenue? Are some sources more effective than others? Do you want to drive more new patients from Google or other internet sources? Do you want to spend your money on efforts to support your referring physicians or invest in your existing patients to drive word of mouth? These questions can help you decide where to start investing.
How can you positively impact the average value per patient?
You can influence your average per-patient value using three simple methods: pricing adjustments, bundled services, and retention/reactivation marketing.
There are several factors to consider when pricing your services:
- Paid vs. free consultations: Paid consultations can convert patients at a much higher rate than free ones, and they also remove less motivated patients. However, they can be also an obstacle to bringing in new patients, resulting in lost revenue. Consider designating at least one provider who can offer complimentary consultations. Remember: The consultation fee should typically be applied toward the treatment if performed within 3-6 months.
- Price increases: Inflation is spurring price increases throughout the country, and many aesthetic providers have raised prices by 5-10% over the last few years. Interestingly, most increased prices without any formal announcement, as the public is now used to things being more expensive in general. Note: When adjusting pricing, always round up to the nearest whole number (i.e., $550 instead of $547). We also suggest considering keeping your price for Botox the same, as that is often what patients use to judge your overall pricing.
- Promotion frequency: Limit promotions and discounts as much as possible. You may think they can help improve conversion rates, but there is a point where these deals actually lower your perceived value, not to mention your average per-patient value. If you do run promotions, limit them to those supported by vendors or focus on cross-marketing. Cross-marketing is when you create an offer such as “buy X item and get Y item free” instead of offering a flat discount on a product. You can also create discount incentives for patients who let you use their before/after photos, or patients who refer a friend.
Creating financial incentives for your team can also help upsell or increase the number of treatments you provide. You can track each staff member’s conversion rate (from lead to consultation to treatment), provide bonuses for meeting certain sales thresholds, or even offer a commission structure to encourage your team to go above and beyond. However, if you go this route, you’ll want to monitor patient/team satisfaction to ensure quality doesn’t suffer as a result of conversion tactics.
At its simplest, “bundling” means selling services as a package. Instead of selling one laser treatment, you might offer a package of 3 or 6 treatments to be claimed throughout the year. Bundling can help increase retention and boost average per-client value in any industry, but it’s especially beneficial in the cosmetic dermatology sphere. Results often improve with continued treatments, meaning bundling can inherently create happier patients — patients who will be more likely to let others know how great your services are!
We’ve found that creating a 12-month, all-encompassing treatment plan is a highly effective bundling strategy for dermatologists. With this plan, you help set up-front expectations about what their year-long treatment plan will entail and how often they will return for follow-up neuromodulator, filler, laser, and related skincare treatments. Patients are more likely to be comfortable spending when they understand the bigger picture and how it will maintain and improve their results. A 12-month plan can also help increase patient retention, consultation conversion rate, and your average per-patient spend.
Retention strategies help guide patients back to your practice throughout the future. The most common retention tactics are simple but effective, such as:
- Sending reminders of when patients are due for an appointment
- Scheduling follow-up visits during an appointment
- Using email/content marketing to follow up with patients about areas the original treatment plan didn’t address
- Utilizing patient intake forms to remind patients of secondary concerns
Remember: It’s far easier to upsell a current patient than to bring in a new one. These strategies can keep your existing patients coming in regularly and choosing treatments they otherwise may not have considered.
Reactivation goes hand in hand with retention. When a patient hasn’t scheduled a routine skin treatment in a while, you can create simple incentives that convince them to return. For example, you might send a soft reminder after 12 months or a discount on the next treatment a patient receives after 24 months. You can also send a survey to ask if anything made the patient not want to return, which can help you prevent similar issues for other patients going forward.
Grow Your Dermatology Practice With Goldman Marketing Group
As a healthcare-driven consulting firm and marketing agency, Goldman Marketing Group specializes in helping medical organizations of all sizes improve the way they do business. We offer everything you need under one (virtual) roof, with multi-channel marketing services that include:
- Website development
- Lead generation
- Social media marketing
- Online reputation management
- Practice management
- Email marketing
- Key messaging
- Brand development
With a clientele of private medical practices, PE-backed groups, surgery centers/hospitals, behavioral health clinics, medical billing services, and pharmaceutical, skincare, and device companies, we have the expertise and experience necessary to help your dermatology clinic thrive. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.