DERMASCOPE

Using Conversational Marketing to Build and Maintain Client Relationships

By Bob Fabbio

Successful skin care professionals have begun to leverage automated conversations into their marketing to more deeply engage clients, improve loyalty and increase revenue. If a professional’s marketing is one-way, they are missing an important opportunity to be a better provider and grow their business.

Flourishing skin care professionals build their reputation on relationships and understand what it takes to maintain them. Two-way communication is one essential way to nurture and grow any healthy relationship. While conversations are standard practice for in-person client interactions, it is important to evaluate whether conversations continue when it comes to marketing communications.

Conversations help professionals to understand client’s needs and provide services and recommendations that solidify trust, confidence, and loyalty. It is this understanding and intelligence that makes good providers even better. It only makes sense for professionals to extend those valuable conversations to their marketing communications.

Successful dermatologists and aestheticians have begun to leverage conversational marketing to more deeply engage clients, improve loyalty, and increase revenue. If marketing campaigns rely exclusively on one-way channels, like e-mail, professionals are missing these important opportunities for growth.

HOW THE CONVERSATION FLOWS
Most traditional marketing channels flow in one direction. If professionals only send e-mails, mail postcards, or buy online or print advertisements, they are doing all the talking and learning very little. One-way communication would not work in a client consultation and it is not effective marketing.

Conversational marketing is an emerging digital marketing channel that goes beyond e-mail and even social media. The technology uses one-on-one automated conversations that are personalized to learn about and remember client preferences. The information collected is used to identify and remember the client’s interests and deliver the information and special offers that are most relevant to-and desired by-them. When professionals know what their clients want, they can offer discounts, special events, and information in their marketing campaigns that resonate, are more likely to convert into appointment requests, and ultimately generate more business.

Conversational marketing is perfectly suited for skin care practices because it leverages the trusted client-professional relationship. It is about listening, not just talking, to secure lasting connections.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Conversational mobile apps effectively bring the latest two-way communication channel to marketing for skin care practices and med spas. They create
interactions that feel like personal, uninterrupted, real conversations.

The mobile apps can identify the clients’ interests in products and services, glean their hobbies and personal interests to deepen connections, and engage them on topics of their choice, with appropriate responses throughout the conversation. These automated conversations can progressively become more personalized and the technology can remember and cue interests or other information from prior interactions.

The client data collected can be used to enhance other in-office interactions, as well as segment communications though other digital channels.

CONVERSATIONS DELIVER CONVERSIONS
Leads from conversational channels tend to convert at higher rates than other digital marketing methods because they are the truest form of permission-based marketing. Clients are choosing to engage in bi-directional interaction around topics of interest.

The personalized information collected through conversations also allows professionals to remain above the consumer marketing noise. When fighting for client mindshare, it is easy for messages to get lost in the shuffle. A key to breaking through the clutter is to deliver personalized and relevant communications. In fact, 90 percent of marketers see individualization as the future of marketing, moving beyond segmentation to true one-to-one personalization in a real-time context.

RESULTS IN PRACTICE
Dr. Jeffry Rocker and Selena Rocker own and run Skinology, an Orlando-area medical spa. In February 2016, the Rockers began leveraging data collected from a conversational mobile application to generate more business from patients during office appointments. In less than 100 days after using the application as part of a multi-channel marketing approach, the practice grew revenue by 15 percent.

“If we see (from the conversational app) that they wanted to know more about Latisse, for example, we can use the time we have with them during a Botox appointment to answer their questions about Latisse,” Rocker says. “We’ve seen this result in more business.”

THE MULTI-CHANNEL APPROACH
The addition of a conversational channel should be part of a fully integrated marketing program, not stand alone. No single channel can reach everyone in this online and offline world. Consumers expect choices and want to communicate and have conversations on their terms.

Clients have communication preferences, so professionals will reach the most targets, at the most opportune times, when they are not dependent on a single channel.

For Hurricane, West Virginia-based Paul A. Blair Facial Plastic Surgery and Alex Alexa Medical spa, a multi-channel approach is fueling growth by capturing the attention and wallets of its clients. Since early 2016, the practice has been executing integrated campaigns through six digital marketing channels: branded e-mail, text messages, push notifications, targeted Facebook advertisements, internet landing pages, and automated conversational content. By the end of the first month, the multi-channel campaigns generated 29 appointments. Because the practice previously used only e-mail, the multi-channel campaigns are reaching far more people. About 40 percent of the total appointment requests from the multi-channel campaigns have come from the conversational mobile application, targeted Facebook advertisements and text messages.

Conversational marketing supplements and reinforces other digital marketing efforts, including e-mail, internet, and social media. The beauty of conversational marketing is that it fits well into a multi-channel approach while delivering benefits other channels cannot.

Implementing automated conversations into a digital marketing campaign will likely require the help of an expert, but aesthetic practices and spas making the investment are reaping big rewards. Professionals may have to overcome some initial technology and resource challenges to get started, but it is worth taking the leap.

 

Bob Fabbio is the CEO and co-founder of Austin, Texas-based eRelevance Corp, a technology-powered marketing automation service providing small- to medium-size aesthetic practices with affordable internal marketing that reduces workload and generates more business (www.erelevancecorp.com). Bob can be reached at bob@erelevancecorp.com.

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In The Media