Should You Post Cost on Your Procedure Pages?

February 26th, 2013 by studios4

Earlier this month Real Self’s MediBeauty Today explored the question, “Should cosmetic surgeons post their prices online?”  The post dove into the opinions of three doctors who had three very different opinions of the topic.  One felt that listing pricing on the site helped qualify patients, while another other argued that prices should not be the reason a patient selects a doctor (and rather be based off of the perceived value of what that doctor could do for a patient).  The third doctor expressed that because no two patients are alike, ultimately a realistic price cannot be provided.  But it didn’t really answer the question posed: Should a surgeon post his or her prices online?

Patients Want It

Even though the doctors in the Real Self article didn’t see eye to eye on whether or not prices should be posted online, it was clear that price would ultimately influence whether or not a patient would book a procedure with a doctor, regardless of if it was posted or not.  In our plastic surgery website study, cost was the second most sought-after piece of information patients wanted following before and after photos.  If you do a search in Google for nearly any procedure your practice offers, cost will most likely be the second, most popular search in Google’s suggested queries.  Finally, if you look at the Google trends for the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures worldwide (liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck, and rhinoplasty), you’ll see a growing trend in users searching for cost.

Plastic Surgery Cost Trends

As more patients look to empower themselves with the aid of the Internet, they look for more information to help make educated decisions about treatments and procedures they are considering.  But if you’re a doctor who doesn’t want to disclose prices…What can you do?

Give A Little

Even if you don’t disclose your full price list you can begin the dialogue on your website by meeting at least some of your patients’ needs by providing some of the information they may need to know as it pertains to price.

General Cost Guidelines

Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS uses this technique on his website.  Recognizing that more patients were interested in cost, we worked to include information about what patients can expect to pay for when it comes to surgery.  On his breast augmentation page he explains that a surgeon’s fees, operating room fees, implant fee, and anesthesia fees will all influence cost.  Additionally on his site, he explains that silicone implants cost more than saline and that breast revision surgeries typically cost more than initial breast augmentations.  While the doctor never discloses price to his patients on his procedure page, he does give patients a better understanding of what they can expect to pay for if they decide to have surgery performed by him.

Average Costs

If you’re willing to give up a little bit more cost information on your site, listing the average cost of a procedure may be the way to go.  This will give patients a ballpark idea of what the cost will be if they decide to choose you as their doctor, and help them decide if your procedure price range is within their budget. As noted in the Real Self article, this will help pre-qualify some of your patients and weed out the ones that wouldn’t be willing to pay your fees.  The average-cost approach can be combined with general cost guidelines, which can explain the particular factors that cause prices to fluctuate. This will help a patient understand why the cost of his or her desired procedure is much higher.

If You Aren’t, Someone Else Is

Ultimately whether you provide your price or not, the searching public who really wants to find it will do so one way or another.  Sites like RealSelf.com provide average costs as part of their “Worth It Ratings” and better yet each user who reviews the procedure can say where they are and how much they paid for their procedure.

Real Self tummy tuck worth it rating

Additional associations give average cost with their annual reporting. Portals like our very own iEnhance.com offer average costs on procedure pages. General health websites, such as Discovery Health and WebMD, also feature pricing information for patients looking into the matter.

The choice on whether or not you want to display procedure pricing information on your website is yours and yours alone. Still, it’s important to recognize that more patients are looking for details on cost; and if you choose not to answer their query, another surgeon eventually will.

Our best advice is give them some type of cost-related information, even if it’s just a general idea of what the procedure costs on average.  This may satisfy the prospective patient for the time-being, and hopefully encourage them to contact you.  Giving out general, yet pertinent, cost information also helps you attract traffic for queries related to cost, which is rare due to the fact that most practitioners refuse to disclose this data on their websites.

How To Choose a Medical Internet Marketing Company

November 8th, 2012 by studios4

Failure - SuccessWhen I was approached recently by a member of our sales team to do a post on how doctors can choose an SEO company, my first thought was, “They shouldn’t choose an SEO company.”  Instead, doctors should be looking to companies that offer comprehensive Internet marketing and not just SEO.  Doctors need to be looking to companies that are looking at Internet marketing as a whole, because these days SEO is just one piece of a much larger puzzle and it alone won’t produce the results you need.  So what should doctors be looking for, and what questions should they be asking?

Transparency

Oftentimes Internet marketing companies claim to have a magic formula to earn rankings, traffic, and exposure for your website.  The fact of the matter is, Internet marketing should include insight from you and your practice.  At no point should an Internet marketing company keep you in the dark about what they are doing.

What To Consider:

Speak with an Internet marketing company in detail before you sign on the dotted line and get a solid understanding of what it is they are going to offer you.  Some questions to start with:

  • What is your process for helping me achieve my goals? Do they run baselines? Do they perform an overall site audit? Do they analyze content?
  • How do you build links to my website?  If they are unable to share this information, it’s possible they are involved in some sort of link scheme that may hurt your website.  Link acquisition can come from outreach, PR, and content development if done naturally and ethically.
  • Will I have access to analytics and reporting? If they refuse to give you insight into the performance of your program, this too may be a sign that something fishy is going on.

One-Trick Ponies

We recently started working with a doctor who came to us on the tail end of an existing program with an SEO company that had been managing their efforts for a couple of years. As we transitioned the client and integrated them into our services the client was still in contact with the previous company during the transition due to some difficulties we were having with account access.  After speaking to the owner of the company the client was informed that the company was dropping out of the business because their SEO techniques were no longer working thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates.  The problem with companies that only do “SEO” is that they are only focused on rankings and backlinks, often ignoring the bigger picture when it comes to the needs of search engines and consumers.

What To Consider:

SEO is a foundation to build upon for all of your online marketing efforts.  If you are only looking at the search engines for traffic and are ignoring all other online channels you risk living and dying at the hand of the search engines.  You want to be as visible as possible and not rely solely on just one online channel for your efforts. When choosing an Internet marketing company find out if they are familiar with, or offer, services that can help you with the following:

  • Local Search
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing

These elements will not only help your SEO, but will help create safety nets in the event something does happen to your search engine presence, after all even a site doing things right can be unintentionally penalized.

Hundreds, Thousands…MILLIONS OF LINKS!!


If you’re familiar with SEO, you know that backlinks are definitely part of the overall equation when it comes to showing up in the search results for certain queries.  However with Google’s Penguin update the game changed a bit in that Google was cracking down even further on unnatural link schemes.  If an Internet marketing company promises you X number of links per month, run…run like the wind!  The only way a company can guarantee link acquisition numbers is if they control the sites they are posting them on or they are doing a mass distribution via directories, blog comments, forum spam, or the like.

Large automated link schemes can give you some short-term gains, and if you wind up on top you’ll be loving life. But here’s the catch: If Google’s algorithm catches you, the time spent trying to get back to the top can be devastating to your business.

What To Consider:

The search engines are looking at more and more signals to establish the value and quality of a website when it comes to rankings.  While links are still very important there are means of obtaining them through content marketing and other outreach efforts that can help you grow your online presence.  As with anything in Internet marketing, its key to focus on quality not quantity.  Three high-quality, relevant links can hold the same weight, if not more, than 1,000 spammy links.

Guarantees and Rankings

First of all, rankings are no longer the core metric you should be looking at for your SEO efforts.  Putting all your effort into that one term that you think is the most important to your practice won’t bring you half the benefits of having an extensive catalog of terms driving traffic to your website.  Second, no one can guarantee rankings.

What To Consider:

As I pointed out when I wrote about choosing an SEO a few years ago, Google specifically points out that no one can guarantee search engine placement and if an Internet marketing company offers you a guarantee in ranking, this should be a red flag.

Rankings are influenced by so many factors these days thanks to personalization, that what I see, versus what you see, versus what your best friend down the street sees can be drastically different.  Because of this they are a) an unreliable metric, and b) hard to effectively track.

While it’s definitely valuable to have some insight to how your site performs from a ranking standpoint, if top rankings is the only thing your SEO team is preaching, you may want to start asking questions about traffic, referrals, and conversions.  If rankings are the focal point, oftentimes link schemes and webspam are the only means of adding value to your website and more often than not these will not drive additional quality traffic to your website.

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At Plastic Surgery Studios we focus on the long-term goals of your practice and work to help educate you on the trends that are going to help grow your practice both online and offline.  We want your practice to stand the test of time online and in the search engines.  Our methods are not tailored for short term gains at the cost of long term benefit.

Oftentimes our doctors will get pitches from outside SEO companies claiming to get them better results for one or two hot ticket keywords, or promise them rankings for every term under the sun.  But what these companies fail to realize is that we are looking at the bigger picture for our doctors and recognize that SEO is just the foundation of a strong Internet marketing effort.  We take into consideration traditional marketing and PR, recognizing that the industry as a whole is moving in this direction and that the sooner our clients adopt these practices the longer they’ll stay on top.

Our goal is to help you achieve your goals by becoming an extension of your medical practice.  If you’d like to know how Plastic Surgery Studios can help your medical practice, please contact us for information on some of our various Internet marketing services.

7 Tips to Make Blogging Less Painful

September 18th, 2012 by studios4

someecards.com - May the blogs be EVER in your favor!

You’ve been told you need to blog. And not only do you need to blog, but it needs to be interesting, sharable, AND on a consistent basis! You’re tired of hearing it. You sweat over it, procrastinate, and make excuses. You may be thinking: How am I supposed to come up with so many things to write about that haven’t already been addressed by other physicians?

The following tips can help this task seem a little less painful, generate a few ideas, and get you excited about blogging.

1) Take Notes

One big struggle that marketers have is getting clients to understand that their blog or website is not purely an online entity. The biggest successes occur when the offline and online work together in harmony. Therefore, the main goal of enhancing your online presence should be to reflect who you are offline. An easy way to do this is via your blog. Think of all the notes that you take during consultations, post-operative appointments, and during phone calls with patients. Do you find that patients ask a particular question all the time? Use that and turn it into a post! Your patients will love that you’re taking the time to answer their questions, and likely return to your blog for the valuable information that you’re providing.

2) Your Opinion Matters

Patients come to you for advice. In other words, they want your opinion and professional insight. So you should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts on news topics, pop culture surgery trends, new plastic surgery products introduced to the market, the types of medications your prefer to prescribe post-surgery, the brand of breast implant you typically prefer to use, etc. Again, it’s simple: Patients want to know your opinion on the topics that matter to them. If they see that your thoughts and opinions align with their own, it’s likely that they will feel more comfortable calling you their surgeon.

3) Nice To Meet You

What do you talk about to people at parties when they ask what it’s like to be a plastic surgeon? Patients want to get to know you, and form a close relationship in order to feel comfortable trusting you. Think about what you would tell your friends’ wives at a dinner party or members of your Chamber of Commerce. Imagine that conversation in your head and transcribe it.

4) Make it Juicy

For the sake of those reading your blog, avoid boring procedural content. The word “procedure” by nature is cold, calculated, objective, and frankly…dry. Your readers want juicy content! The posts on your blog that are boring and procedural probably are not half as successful as the more in-depth, less technical, and unique posts are. Think less “Beverly Hills Breast Augmentation Surgery” and more “Cartoon Characters Speculated to Have Gone Under the Knife”. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

5) Let’s Get Together

As a doctor, it’s safe to say you probably have a few other doctor friends. Consider guest blogging on their website and/or invite them to post on yours. Have a staff member interview the two of you talking about the work you do, trends in your specific niche, or thoughts you share with a respected colleague. Again, remembering to connect the offline with online will make a world of difference. Is there a conversation you had with a colleague or staff member recently that you wish other people were eavesdropping on? Write about it!

6) Thumbs Up

Recommendations: Do you have a certain brand of scalpels, scrubs company, or surgical equipment provider that you love? Pay it forward! Review them, rave about them, tell everyone how much you value their product or service on your blog. It doesn’t necessarily have to be medical-related, either. Is there a sandwich shop down the street that you and your staff frequent? Your patients and potential patients will learn about the caliber of product you use, see the things that interest you, see your passion, gain insight to your practice culture, and the company or business will appreciate it more than you know. As a thank you, it is likely they will link back to your article from their website: win- win- win- win -win- win! BONUS: if your patients see you’re willing to review others, they might be more willing to review you.

7) Bookworm

Write about what you like to read in your spare time. List three to five things you’ve been reading, whether they’re online articles that you’ve found interesting or helpful, or a book that you like to read before bed. Don’t forget to talk about why you’re enjoying reading it. Bonus points if it’s something interesting that can help convey who you are. Again, the subject matter does not have to be about medicine/surgery/aesthetics. It can be an article from a fishing magazine! Unfortunately, surgeons can be stereotyped to be cold and heartless, so imagine potential patients researching you and finding out that you are a real person with genuine interests. BONUS: Help readers get to know your staff as well! Have them submit one thing they’ve been reading or something they’ve got bookmarked, and include a sentence or two from them about it.

All in all, blogging doesn’t have to be as painful as you may think. I hope you’ve gotten some actionable tips and thought up a few ideas you might like to write about. This is your profession — your passion. You eat, breathe, and sleep medicine. Who better to write about it? The next step is to write about it. Don’t forget to leverage your efforts to get the most out of your blog posts by promoting them on your social networks. For even more information on best practices when it comes to blogging, refer to the blogging category of the Plastic Surgery Studios blog.

 

6 Keys to Creating a Better Blog Post

April 25th, 2012 by studios4

6 KeysIn the past we’ve talked about effective blogging tactics and how to create, optimize and distribute content.  But this week we thought we’d share a successfully executed post and the elements that went into the construction of the post to make it successful.

In a post featured recently on the blog of Houston plastic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Patronella, the author explored the topic of patient satisfaction following tummy tuck and liposuction.  The post was well-written and featured a series of elements that can make a run-of-the-mill blog post even better.

It’s Current

The post itself piggybacks off of a recently published study featured in the April 2012 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  Having a current spin not only makes your blog look current and relevant, but it can also help the post show up for searches related to the current topic, event, or news story.

It’s Backed By Facts

Nothing says authority like hard data. Again, piggybacking off of the recent study, the post features a number of statistics from the report to support not only the topic, but the writer’s opinion.  Quoting data or statistics from a trusted source can help reflect expertise and identify the author as an authority.

It Gets Personal

Rather than spouting off opinion or regurgitating facts already published in the study, the post uses personal examples from one of the doctors to bring the post to life.  This tie-in not only gives a personal feel to the story, but it reflects real life experiences of one of the doctors patients.  Real life examples are a great means of making your content unique, and ultimately helping your readers connect with your topic.

It Uses Images

One of the biggest mistakes I see most doctors make when posting to their blog is the lack of imagery. Here are some core reasons to include imagery in your posts:

  1. Users tend to skim content, so an image can help the piece stand out.
  2. Facebook “shares” will include a photo with the share if it’s available, which can increase social click-throughs.
  3. It breaks up large blocks of content, ultimately enhancing the readability of the content.

Remember though, images should be relevant and support the textual content. If you don’t have an image of your own to use you can always user Flickr photos that support the topic.  Just make sure to follow the rules of creative commons. If you’re not familiar with Creative Commons, here is a nice guide on how to easily and legally use Flickr photos.

It Links Out

When it comes to search engine optimization, it’s easy to want to be greedy with your link juice, but at the end of the day linking to nothing but your own content isn’t really helping the natural link graph of the web. Linking out to other sources can not only help make your site more visible to other websites in your niche, but it can oftentimes help build relationships with other websites or bloggers.  These types of relationships can often lead to links to your website, social shares, or other mentions of your work online.  It also helps users who may want more information on the supporting content of your piece, making your content even more resourceful and authoritative.

It Speaks To Its Target Audience

Another mistake I often see on doctor blogs is the technical writing that you may see in a medical journal or publication.  In most cases your blog audience should be your patients or potential patients, so writing in a way that is tailored to a patient’s knowledge or reading level is key.

Patients aren’t always going to know what “severe grade 3 ptosis” is or what the “nipple areolar complex” is, so try your hardest to write in a way that will make sense to someone without your level of expertise.  It’s fine if you want your content to appeal to other members of the medical community, but it still needs to make sense to an everyday reader.

Our Continued Support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 26th, 2011 by studios4

This year Plastic Surgery Studios vowed to do it’s part to help spread the word about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the dangers of breast cancer.  From our in-house breast cancer awareness t-shirt competition, to our iEnhance exclusive interview with Sarah Budulica, a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 15, we have put forth a continued effort to make people aware of this life changing and oftentimes deadly disease both on and offline.

Last week we announced that we would be partnering with our New York City clients to help support Pink Pin.  Pink Pin is an initiative set forth by Google and Susan G. Komen that was designed to connect New York City businesses and consumers who support breast cancer awareness with each other through an initiative website and map.  Today the map was unveiled and we are excited to see our New York City doctors on the list.  If that weren’t enough, a handful of our doctors went above and beyond and made a monetary donation to the cause as well.  Dr. George Beraka, Dr. Sydney R. Coleman, and Dr. Alesia P. Saboeiro all made contributions to the effort and for that we are extremely grateful.

In addition to be listed on PinkPin.com, patients of our New York City doctors can now make donations via text message from the doctors practice location.  As stated on the Pink Pin website “Customers simply dial **PinkPin (**7465746) and reply ‘Yes’ to the text that appears on their phones, in order to donate $10 to Susan G. Komen.”

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds down we still have a few efforts we’re working on.  At noon today we will be announcing the winner of the staff breast cancer awareness t-shirt contest on Facebook.  Additionally, we will feature a new Real Story on iEnhance.com that chronicles the triumphant and emotional story of Erika, a breast cancer survivor who is now working through the reconstruction phase and is hoping to have her new breasts by Christmas.  We appreciate the efforts of everyone who has contributed to this months efforts and look forward to next years work, which is already in the planning stages. But remember, just because the commemorative month is ending, doesn’t mean you have to stop showing your support!