Doing cosmetic surgery on a cosmetic surgeon– what we learned in 2009

DavidVerebelyiTonight, I had dinner with Dr. David Verebelyi, Chief of Laser Surgery for the Colorado Center for PhotoMedicine.  They do liposuction in Denver, laser hair removal, and other laser-based skin procedures.  We’re doing cosmetic surgery on his website– not his face or butt!  We’ve celebrated one year with Dr. Verebelyi and he mentioned that in 2009, he drove 40% more business than in 2008, while paying 12% less in marketing cost.  

In fact, Internet marketing has been so effective, that he’s putting all his advertising dollars online– no print, radio, or TV. So before this blog post starts looking like a testimonial or marketing brochure, let’s talk about some interesting things we’ve learned this last year:

  • Legitimate doctors are having trouble competing with spammers promoting weight loss products. By spammers, I’m talking about the fake testimonials and “flogs” (fake blogs).  Dr. Verebelyi and his staff actually do have celebrity clients, so how can he yell over the noise created by the folks who aren’t real?  Having a phone number and contact information prominent on the page helps, but many consumers aren’t reading that far.
  • Social media is effective not for coupons, but when stuff is actually free.  Just like the above example, his office has offered small free services in the hopes that once a prospective patient comes in that they’ll sign up for other procedures. Twitter has been effective in promoting free services, driving folks into an email autoresponder process.
  • Negative keywords and targeting are key to effective advertising. The young women and teens who want to just get a prescription and get right out are not profitable. So we have to demographic target and also use a heavy negative keyword list.  You don’t want to be paying $5 a click on a teenage girl who just wants to buy Clearasil from the supermarket.
  • Before and after pictures are critical.  Patients want to see results and Dr. Verebelyi is one of the best in the nation based on his performance. He literally wrote the book on laser skincare techniques and trains surgeons nationally, as head of training for the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. The funny thing is while you’d think that patients would care most about finding the best doctor (this is your body, we’re talking about– no discount heart surgeon for me!), price is still the #1 consideration.

Looking forward to 2010, we’re going to take advantage of Google’s latest features for local– ad extensions, sitelinks, Google Favorite Places, Facebook integration, and so forth.  And look forward to a new site in January– it’s not just Denver Botox, you know.

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