Frank Olivo

Frank Olivo is the founder of Sagapixel. He writes on a number of topics related to digital marketing, but focuses mostly on web design and SEO.

The Medical Spa Marketing Playbook

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After working with medical spas in markets across the US, we’ve learned a few things about what works in medical spa marketing… and what doesn’t.

In this article, I will open the playbook and share with you the marketing tactics that have worked for medical spas we’ve worked with. From search engine optimization, to Google Ads, to social media, to what you can do to turn more of your website traffic into appointments, I’m going to share insights that can help you to ensure your medical spa marketing efforts deliver results.

The Medical Spa Marketing Funnel

Marketers often refer to the process someone goes through before making a purchase as the marketing funnel. In the case of marketing a medical spa, different marketing channels will target different parts of this funnel.

medical spa marketing funnel

The first takeaway is that the marketing funnel has three parts: the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.

Different marketing channels can target each part of this funnel, but it is very rare for one marketing channel to completely drive a patient through all three.

In addition, relying entirely on one channel is often the reason why marketing efforts fail for medical spas; they attempt to advertise on one channel for a short amount of time, get frustrated at the lack of results, and give up.

The key is to understand that there are three phases someone goes through before visiting a medical spa:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Action.

Each of these, respectively, corresponds with the:

  1. Top of funnel
  2. Middle of funnel
  3. Bottom of funnel

It is important for a medical spa marketing mix to have a plan for addressing each of these three phases.

Awareness can be created through PPC on Google ads, just as it can be created through search engine optimization or social media.

The consideration phase almost always involves checking reviews on third-party websites such as Yelp, but it often involves social media as well.

The action phase usually involves SEO and a visit to the website, but it occasionally happens on 3rd party websites such as Yelp or a medical spa’s Google Business Profile.

Build a Brand for Your MedSpa

Branding is much more than logos, colors, and fonts.

Those are simply tools used in the process of branding.

Branding is the practice of creating a mental association between your medical spa and the services you provide in the minds of potential clients.

In other words, when someone thinks of fillers, they think of your medical spa.

When someone thinks of “the high end” medical spa, they think of you.

It also works the other way; when someone thinks of your med spa, what are the feelings it conjures? What is the first thing that comes to mind?

How to Build a Brand for Your Med Spa

This is far from a comprehensive guide on brand building for a medical spa, but here’s a checklist of activities you should undertake:

  • Build a website that evokes the intended response. If you offer a luxury experience, your website needs to be luxurious. If you are positioned as the inexpensive medical spa in your market, prominently feature your specials and pricing.
  • Focus on delivering an experience that aligns with the brand you want to build. If you want to be positioned as the high-end medical spa in your market, the facility must be second to none.
  • Select a name for your medical spa that is congruent with your brand and positioning. Is it sexy? Clever? Soothing?
  • Use consistent fonts, photography, tag lines, collars, and logos in all of your collaterals. Whether it is on the Internet, on a billboard, or in your waiting room, maintaining stylistic consistency in your marketing materials is key to building a memorable brand. Failing to do this makes you look amateurish.

Simply put, branding is all of the little pieces that go into creating your medical spa’s reputation. When done effectively, it can be the most cost effective way to create awareness and generate leads for your med spa.

The downside to relying on branding and word-of-mouth is that it takes a while to work. That’s where channels such as SEO, PPC, and social media can step in.

PPC Ads Will Quickly Generate Leads

Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC for short, is an advertising channel where the advertiser pays when someone clicks on the ad. The Google ads platform is the dominant platform used for medical spa PPC advertising.

There are several advantages to generating business through PPC ads:

  1. There is no long-term commitment to advertising on Google Ads. You can turn them on and off as you please.
  2. PPC ads are incredibly measurable. You will know when your medical spa’s Google Ads account drives leads to your business.
  3. Paid search ads start working immediately. Unlike SEO or social media, which take time to deliver results, PPC should start driving leads the first month you begin (assuming you have someone who knows what they’re doing to run the campaign).
  4. PPC ads allow for split testing. Other media, such as billboards, don’t allow you to make changes once they’ve been implemented. The science behind PPC involves running a/b tests of all kinds of aspects of your account. Through split testing, you can improve the performance of your campaign while it is live. This is not possible with traditional advertising.

There are a few downsides to PPC as well:

  1. There are many landmines to avoid when running a PPC campaign for a medical spa. You will likely have to go through somewhat of an involved process if you want to run ads for Botox, for example. Google also has a three strike system in which you can be banned from the platform following repeated violations. To make things even more complicated, violations are determined through artificial intelligence which tends to deliver a lot of false positives.
  2. While PPC ads can start driving business almost immediately, over the lifetime of your medical spa they will be more expensive than SEO or social media on a per lead basis.
  3. As soon as you stop spending money on PPC ads for your medical spa marketing, the leads will stop. Unlike SEO or social media, both of which can continue to deliver results even after a business stops investing in them, don’t expect much new business to come in if you’ve relied entirely on PPC over the years and decided to stop.

I advise investing in PPC ads, SEO, and social media simultaneously. Tests have shown that even when people see but do not click on a PPC ad, it makes them more likely to click on the organic result for a business when it appears after an ad.

This can help your SEO and organic visibility.

SEO can drive the discoverability of your medical spa

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the “other” way clients can find your med spa in the Google search results.

While PPC ads carry a cost whenever someone clicks on them, there is no such cost when your medical spa’s website appears in the organic search results.

With this, high rankings on Google can drive a tremendous amount of traffic and awareness for your medical spa, resulting in a steady stream of new patients at a relatively low cost.

However, a major downside to investing in SEO is that it’s not something you can simply pay for one time and get immediately. SEO usually takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months in order to drive results, and sometimes longer for a brand new website.

In addition, I would go as far as to say there are way more bad SEO services out there than good ones. We often get phone calls from medical spas that hired bad SEO companies that wasted both time and budget and accomplished nothing.

Claim Your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)

The first step is to verify your medical spa’s Google Business Profile.

Once it is verified, be sure to completely fill out and optimize your listing, including all of your services and photos.

Your Google business profile will allow you to show up in the map results when clients search for services like yours:

medical spa map results

It’s also what they will see if they Google your medical spa by name:

gmb for medical spa

You can also use Google posts on your Google business profile. This feature works particularly well for medical spas; it allows you to place announcements, specials, and feature your staff and services right on the search results:

coolsculting Google Posts

Finally, encourage your clients to leave reviews for you on Google. In addition to creating trust in the eyes of potential clients, Google uses reviews as part of its ranking algorithm. Getting reviews from trusted Google users will help you to rank in the Google Maps results:

google business profile reviews

Sidenote: please do not leave reviews for yourself. Fake reviews are an FTC violation and unethical.

Build “Location Pages” to Rank in Nearby Locations

Following the map results are the organic “blue links”

the organic results

While the map results usually limit your medical spa from appearing in the search results outside of a specific geographic area, your medical spa can rank in the blue link results for any location from where a potential clients may be searching..

A common practice is to build individual location pages for each city or location from where you would like to attract clients. This video goes over it in a little bit more detail:

The gist is that you want to have dedicated pages relevant to searches in every location where you would like to rank in the search engine results.

The content on these pages needs to be entirely unique; don’t copy the same page over and over and switch out the city.

I also recommend against using artificial intelligence tools such as Jarvis to write AI-generated content. Some day this is likely to be a problem and I expect Google to crack down on AI-generated content in the upcoming years.

Build dedicated service pages for your individual treatments

In addition to targeting general “medical spa + city” queries, You should have dedicated pages targeting “treatment + city.”

A common SEO mistake I see is for a medical spa to have a generic “our treatments” page but not dedicated pages for each treatment.

If someone performs a search such as “microneedling Philadelphia,” the medical spa with an individual page optimized around this keyword is likely to be the top result.

Social Media Can Drive Awareness and Consideration for a Medical Spa

Educational content about beauty is one of the top-performing content formats on Instagram and TikTok.

Social media presents a tremendous opportunity to not only drive awareness and trust but also nurture clients that first discovered a medical spa through channels such as SEO or PPC.

Countless plastic surgeons and medical spas have created enormous followings on both Instagram and TikTok. While many of these followers are likely to live too far from your clinic to ever become a client, having a large following can establish trust and social proof for your medical spa during the consideration phase. It creates trust to know that millions of people listen to your medical spa for skin treatment advice, for example.

This can be a tremendous differentiator for your med spa.

What are the best social media channels for medical spa social media marketing?

From a raw discoverability standpoint, TikTok is the best channel for the social media marketing of a medical spa.

Instagram lags behind TikTok in its ability to detect when someone may be interested in the sort of video content you produce. It does a much worse job of getting you in front of your potential audience.

Just take a look at the difference in visibility for the same exact videos on these two platforms:

Instagram:

example of instagram's video reach for cosmetic surgeon

TikTok:

example of tiktok's video reach for cosmetic surgeon

Social Media Can Help Your Medical Spa’s SEO

That’s not to say that there are no benefits to having followers outside of the geographic market you serve.

Branded searches (people Googling you by name) are a large part of Google’s ranking algorithms, so the simple act of your followers searching for your name on Google can help your medical spa’s search rank and overall SEO efforts.

Patients Will Check Your Social Media Feed and Reviews

It is very common for patients to check a medical spa’s social media accounts during the consideration phase. A potential client that discovered your medspa on Google or Yelp is likely to look at your Instagram profile before booking an appointment—take advantage of this to put your best foot forward.

For this reason, you should put forth an effort to collect reviews on your social media accounts (Facebook, in particular).

The Challenges of Monetizing Social Media Marketing for a Med Spa

There are, however, two unfortunate challenges when it comes to medical spa social media marketing:

  1. Most your following will likely reside too far from your medical spa to ever visit it.
  2. TikTok, in particular, has very strict rules about posting. Your account can be suspended seemingly without reason for even the most minor infraction.

Your Medical Spas Website Should be Optimized to Convert

A med spa’s website is the primary touchpoint during the action phase of the marketing funnel.

A potential client is going to contact you in one of three ways:

  1. Your website
  2. A directory such as Yelp
  3. Your Google Business Profile

While there is not much you can do to increase the likelihood of someone contacting you through Yelp or once they’ve landed on your Google Business Profile, there is plenty you can do to get them to take some sort of action once they are on your website.

Your Medical Spas Website Must Be Fast to Load

Studies have shown that most Internet users will not wait more than 3 seconds for a website to load before pressing the back arrow in their browser.

By not optimizing your website for speed, you may miss out on potential clients worth thousands of dollars.

From having properly optimized images, to using good hosting, to properly configuring caching and a CDN, there’s a lot that can be done to increase the speed of your website without incurring much cost.

A Med Spa’s Website Must Have Clear Calls-to-Action

Make your website as easy to navigate as possible. Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure visitors do what you want them to do on your website:

  1. Include a tap to dial. All of the websites we design include a little green button that follows you regardless of where you are on the website.
  2. Set up online booking. A sizable number of people (including me) don’t want to talk to anyone. They find it more convenient to pick a time and pay online. Booking systems such as these can also double to send out review requests after the appointment, which can greatly help with your reputation management and local SEO.
  3. Don’t bury your contact form. It is quite common to see contact forms placed at the bottom of pages, a practice that often doesn’t make any sense. At the very least, include a button next to the tap to call and tap to book a time that has an anchor link that links to your contact form (this is how the contact form works on the homepage of our website).

Get Your Medical Spa’s Website Design Right

There are a few things you can do to make sure you get your website saying what you want to say about your med spa:

  1. Do not use any photos of people getting injections. People don’t want needles; they want to look younger. Feature images of models that are reflective of your target audience.
  2. If possible, use real photos instead of stock photos. People can spot stock photography from a mile away, which doesn’t convey trust. Get a professional photographer to take a picture of your clinic and staff. Even though the photography may not be as polished as stock photography, it is almost certain to be more effective in getting people to want to visit.
  3. Get the colors and feel right. If you want to come across as dark and mysterious, a dark, heavy color palette might work. In virtually every other case, you want to use soothing, bright colors in your layout with few large sections with solid colors. It is quite difficult to get a dark feeling website to work well for a medical spa — I highly encourage you to go the bright route.

Effective Medical Spa Marketing is Integrative Marketing

Medical spa marketing that depends on one or two channels is missing out.

First, it is susceptible to a change on one platform that could choke off an entire lead generation channel.

Second, successful branding, SEO, PPC, and social media marketing can help one another. A medical spa marketing plan that relies on just one or two of these channels is missing out on benefits they can deliver to other channels. Combining all of them gives you the best results possible.

Figure out how your medical spas marketing team can integrate all of the different channels so you can create a lead generation fly wheel that drives growth for your clinic.