Using discount websites to grow your aesthetic business

by Guest Blogger Dr. Vincent Wong, La Maison de l’Esthetique (www.lesthetique.co.uk)

Starting up an aesthetic business can be challenging. After spending a huge amount of hard-earned money on courses, hiring a clinic room, ordering injectables, needles and other supplies, you’re still missing the most important ingredient for a successful business – the clients. From my experience, getting clients was the most difficult part of the entire process, especially when you’re new and often tagged ‘inexperienced’. In recent years, many discount sites have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain. From groupon to wowcher, the options are endless. However, the key question is: can these discount sites help you grow your business?

Choosing a good discount site that will work for you is the key step. Although all of them work in a similar way, some are better than others. Featuring an aesthetics discount isn’t like other features you see on these websites. They have to package your deal in a way that would help you attract customers. Remember, people are coming to you for treatments to their faces without meeting you or knowing anything about you – it’s all based on the advert and packaging. A website (if you have one) will be very helpful in giving your potential clients some information about yourself and your services.

The good:
It gives you a good client base to start your business with – Client database is very important for future promotions. Given the current economic climate, a discount will appear very attractive to many. Even if you’re not making a big profit, this will be good for experience. After all, we are all learning as we go along.

Some discount sites will give you important statistics and feedback information, for example, rating and reviews from those who have bought your deal (good for future advertising!) and demographics of your clients (area, sex, age, average income etc)

The bad:
You will be pressurised to give a big discount for your service (some sites ask for at least 50% off). So, make sure you calculate properly to come up with a margin that you are comfortable with.

Of the price you ‘sell’ your service for, the website takes a big cut (usually 30% to 50%). Beware, some may even add VAT on top of their cut!

The necessary preparations:
Before I started, many people have advised me against it. I’ve been told that I would only attract people who are constantly searching for the cheapest treatments. However, if you do the necessary preparations, this might not be the case. The following are crucial:

  1. Communication skills – both verbal and body language are equally important
  2. Appear confident – know your facts
  3. Tell them about yourself and other services you offer – have a website, leaflet or namecard. Offer a discount for other treatments to keep them coming back.
  4. Be professional – make sure you greet them from the waiting room, dress appropriately and turn up on time.

Once a good rapport has been built and your clients have gained some confidence in you, you will start building a group of very loyal clients. Not only will they come back to you for further treatments, they will also recommend you to their friends and family.

Conclusion:
If you plan it properly and think about what you can achieve long-term, discount sites can be a useful tool in helping you build your client base.

My experience? Here you go:


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The pitfalls of assessing patients for cosmetic procedures

Assessing Clients: Our new guest blogger, Clara Russell, discusses how she assess clients that come in to her clinic .…

The Aesthetic Industry is under the microscope more than ever and faces an increasing call for tougher regulation. Therefore, even more so than before, one must be thorough, safe and circumspect in history taking and accompanying assessment of patients before they become clients.

Initial presentation of the patient as they arrive in the clinic is useful. Observe the patient for possible signs of high anxiety such as restlessness and agitated behavior. Checking the patients details are correct and opening up the discussion about what their concerns are, what they are thinking about in terms of treatments and what they already know about the possible treatment is a good starting point. What they imagine the physical outcome might be from any proposed treatment as well as ensuring they understand timescales for results, side effects and appropriate follow up is essential. It can be revealing to enquire about any previous experiences of aesthetic treatments. If they have had any previous aesthetic treatments-it might be important to understand why the patient is not returning to a previous clinician.

Ask what has prompted their attendance now as a way of trying to understand if the patient has external pressure or is internally motivated to proceed with the treatment.

Medical history is important-don’t forget to check for history of depression, significant mental health history and all current medications.

On examination of the area of concern-can you see what the patient is concerned about and does this appearance seem roughly in parallel with the patient’s level of concern? Before concluding on treatment decision, it is helpful to ask the patient how concerns around their appearance currently affect them. If they give any signs of severe distress, social avoidance or use extreme measures to cope with any cosmetic irregularities your internal red flag may indeed be raised for evidence of body dysmorphia. If there are any concerns about this it may be advisable to refer the patient back to their own GP for further psychological assessment.

The dangers of treating a patient with significant psychological illness or distress are plentiful and must be avoided at all costs. Ultimately the patient is unlikely to be unhappy with the result and may look to complain, look for financial refund or attend yourself or another clinician seeking further treatment to ‘correct’ the result they are unhappy with.

In summary, the following steps are helpful as a reminder to conducting a safe, thorough interview prior to commencing any treatment.

“COSMETIC”

C – Client – the most important person in your practice. Their interests are paramount and any concern that doing the treatment may not be in their best interest must be further explored before continuing the treatment and ultimately causing further distress for the patient and you.

O – Observational- both of patient’s manner and of the problem they are presenting with. Are you satisfied that the problem is visible and can you see how the patient has been bothered by it?

S – pSychiatric history and Social setting- including medications and occupation.

M – Motivations- what has brought them to you now? Internally or externally motivated

E – Expectations- procedure, costs, follow up, need for further treatment, risks, benefits, is the patient being realistic?

T – Treatment- what is actually involved, downtime, when could be done

I – Impulsive/instincts- has the patient presented impulsively or have they thought this through? Trust your instincts if there are any concerns about how the patient is behaving.

C – Consent, clear documentation of all of the above and clinical evidence in the taking of photographs is vital.

Clara Russell – Aesthetic Practitioner

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Medics Direct News

Dr. Goldie at IMCAS, Paris 2012

Dr. Kate Goldie, founder of Medics Direct (Europe) Ltd has been invited to be a speaker at IMCAS Paris, Europe’s number one Medical Aesthetics Conference in January 2012. We hope we’ll see as many of you there as possible. More details to follow….

New course!

We have launched a new Dental Block and Lip Augmentation Course. The first course is on the 4th of February 2012. Whilst our Foundation Dermal Fillers course provides delegates with the knowledge to carry out a treatment to the vermillion boarder of the lip, many practitioners feel that they would like to take this a step further and fulfill their client’s desire for a full lip enhancement. We understand that the discomfort experienced by the client during a lip treatment is the primary concern of many practitioners, and can make them hesitant to administer these treatments. This course is therefore designed to give practitioners the confidence and knowledge to administer a full lip augmentation, along with specific training in administering nerve blocks.

Nurse Prescribing Course

More and more Aesthetic Nurses are going for their own completely independent practice by undertaking a V300 Nurse Prescribing Course in the UK. From the beginning of January some kind bloggers will be keeping you up to date on their progress through this course. We’ll be following them on their journey to becoming one of the many nurse prescribers in the aesthetics industry.

Posted in Anti-Ageing Aesthetic Procedures, Dr Kate Goldie, Medics Direct Training, Nurse Prescribing | Leave a comment

Using Microdermabrasion to Grow Your Aesthetics Clinic

Microdermabrasion: Have you been thinking about new avenues to grow your aesthetics clinic? Our new guest blogger, Victoria Ellender, discusses her decision to build her clinic with the addition of MDA treatments. Victoria has been an aesthetic practitioner since March 2008. She started with Botox and dermal fillers then skin peels and quickly progressed to the advanced aesthetic practitioner course with Medics Direct. Victoria has also been a trainer for Medics Direct and has her own local aesthetics clinic…

You’re providing dermal fillers and wrinkle relaxing injections and you may have considered offering new treatments that compliment your aesthetic business but are not sure which ones to offer. Your clients trust you and your results are being noticed. Where do you go now?

Offering less invasive treatments that are affordable such as skin peels and microdermabrasion (MDA) deliver fast and proven results and may help to attract new clients who may be considering injectable treatments. It could also help to keep clients attending for treatments between injectable treatments and still give a high quality medical result.

Skin peels are relatively easy to set up once you have the appropriate training and support but microdermabrasion can be a little more confusing. Once you are offering skin peels and have built up your confidence in delivering them it would be worthwhile offering MDA treatments that are affordable to you and your business, your clients and that are attractive and acceptable. It would also be useful to look at current positive media stories and what the celebrities are using.

When offering any new treatments consider:
– How much time you have to offer in delivering it.
– Is there a market in the places that you are delivering your aesthetic treatments?
– What is the competition offering in beauty salons, at what cost and how could you be different as an aesthetic practitioner?

I started to think about Microdermabrasion many months before setting it up. I looked at local beauty salons and what their aesthetic practitioners are offering. The majority of local salons in my area seem to offer only injectable treatments from their practitioners and not MDA. Instead it seems that some of the salons are offering MDA as a salon cosmetic treatment and thus delivered by their beauty therapists. I had to think about how I would be different and what would attract a client to an aesthetic practitioner rather than a beauty salon. The difference I believe is that as an aesthetic practitioner you can potentially offer a more aggressive treatment and the medical grade products provided by Agera Rx which when combined with MDA are considered to be more effective.

MDA is becoming more and more popular. Lots of celebrities are talking about it and the media has published articles on its benefits, which celebrities are using it and even the Men’s Health Magazine has promoted it.
When you type Microdermabrasion machine, benefits or equipment into Google you will notice that there are a lot of different websites and options for the machine, different financial options for purchase or lease, crystal or diamond tips and a whole range of companies and practitioners offering treatments, training and discounts and even MDA at home kits.

I started to make some general enquiries and research about MDA to a few companies who offer the machines and service, I thought about what the best option may be for me, what would be most attractive to my clients, what training I would need, and whether I believed the local client population would be interested in MDA.

I checked the price of the machines as a basic unit on eBay to see what the minimal cost may be. This is when it started to become more confusing. On eBay machines start at under £200 for a diamond tip machine and can cost over £3500 for crystal. The diamond tip machines have reusable tips which are passed over the surface of the skin. My concerns with the diamond tips with reusable heads were of hygiene and cross infection. I started to question what the difference between diamond and crystal may be, and ask myself would the clients visiting an aesthetic practitioner, with high expectations of treatment success and safety really be happy with diamond reusable tips – or would they expect a disposable tip and would they prefer crystal or diamond? Would the more expensive crystal machines have a more dramatic and stronger result?

My particular concerns are that I treat a lot of people with acne, in particular teenagers. Clearly with some of these I could not guarantee that the risk of cross infection did not exist, I felt I needed to use a machine with disposable tips. I started looking at other aesthetic businesses on the internet to see what they were offering and it seemed that most aestheticians and salons are using Crystal machines. I found a few articles on the internet comparing diamond to crystal tips and the consensus seemed to be that diamond tips were considered possibly too hard (diamond being the hardest mineral) and may result in erythema and surface skin damage, and although I could find no research to back this up I felt it important to bear this in mind.

I decided the best option was to book myself on a course. I investigated these and decided to attend one with Medics Direct. The course started with a presentation in what MDA is, how it works, the benefits, contraindications and then a demonstration of MDA. The results were visible immediately – but the machine used was a diamond tip and I wasn’t sure that this would be suitable for my clients or acceptable to me. I researched some more and wanted to attend a demonstration of a machine I found on Google which was offering ‘medical’ microdermabrasion and signed up for a training day with Eden aesthetics.

The day was very informative and presented very well. The machine used for the demonstration was the M1. The crystals used were medical grade, the tip of the probe is made to a 45° angle for ease of use and the vacuum and crystal amount was controlled by the practitioner in order to obtain the desired delivery of crystal and vacuum on the skin surface. The tip is disposable which met my cross infection risk fear. The training was excellent and I was feeling happy and confident with the machine, its applicability and its use. I was feeling confident it would be a great treatment for many of my clients. However the machine worked out too expensive to buy as a one off for me, so I enquired about leasing. After several phone calls and emails I realised that for my level of use the machine was not financially viable and that I would need to find a cheaper option. The training was second to none but I could not muster the funds and still felt I needed to be sure of the market before investing in this particular MDA machine.

I had almost given up when I performed another internet search and saw Skinbase offering a lease machine on a pay as you go basis. I emailed the company, the next day I received a telephone call and was given information on a two week trial that was available to trial the machine. I was given an appointment for training and sent an information pack. I received a marketing pack, training booklet and test paper which I completed and after meeting the necessary criteria I have received the machine and am currently using it on a two week trial.

I have performed a number of treatments and though the first was a little nerve racking subsequent treatments were easy to perform taking around 30min in total treatment time. The results have all been good and the client satisfaction so far is high. For acne sufferers the results have been most dramatic showing a reduction in inflammation and size of the spots, reduction in the size of pores and comedones and the clients have been highly satisfied with cost, comfort of treatment and results.

Trying to pitch a cost for the treatments has been difficult. One local salon is offering crystal MDA at only £23 for 20 minutes. I am using Agera products, giving a full skin consultation and aftercare with follow up advice on products to use and I also discuss diet, exercise, sun and skin protection and general health factors. The clinic is exclusive and private and all treatments are of course confidential. Other aestheticians in East Anglia are charging up to £60 per treatment for MDA and £80 for combined MDA and peels. So to put a price on it is what I am finding most difficult and have chosen to keep cost lower than other aestheticians initially.

Now is the test to find out how much interest is out there for the treatment as a stand-alone option or in conjunction with skin peels. This will help me to make a decision about whether to invest in the machine as a purchase or to keep it on a pay as you go basis. Since I have this machine on a two week trial I organized a local pamper day and interest in peels and MDA was highest when compared to injectable treatments, most likely because of the affordability.

The next two weeks will show whether or not there is interest out there and how successful a treatment it is in the short term. I am offering a discount for the first month on MDA to see how happy or dissatisfied clients are with the cost and this is further supported by Skinbase in their promotional literature which has been very helpful in promoting the new treatment.

I am hopeful that MDA and peels will bring in more clients, as it is more affordable and less invasive than injectable treatments, while still delivering dramatic results which improves the confidence and feel good factor my clients expect. It is a short but effective treatment with minimal down time and with regular use should give lasting results. With the right promotion and marketing I believe it could be successful and available for most clients.

The main benefits for my business would appear to be client retention, that it may attract new clients, and that they should have great results with an affordable treatment that delivers a fresher, more youthful look and a feeling of confidence with their appearance without using more invasive techniques.

When deciding on your MDA machine Beautytech’s comparison between diamond and crystal machines may be helpful in choosing your machine, you can access the site here.

You can also access the following excellent resources for training, service and support for MDA:

SkinBase PAYG machine, training, service, marketing and support

Medics Direct For advice, training and ongoing support for your whole aesthetic business

Victoria Ellender RN(A)
Advanced Aesthetic Practitioner

Posted in Anti-Ageing Aesthetic Procedures, Micro Dermabrasion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Artistry of Facial Aesthetics

We are happy to publish our first guest blog by Aileen Murray, Clinic Manager and Aesthetic Practitioner at the Advanced Rejuvenation Clinic in Glasgow.  Aileen discusses her love and personal journey into facial artistry… 

When I first trained in aesthetics in early 2010 I was generally ignorant of most of the fundamentals of the business and certainly had no inkling of how it would satisfy my creative leanings. I am now beginning to realise just how much I enjoy certain aspects of my job.

I must admit that I trained in aesthetics as a means of supplementing my income. I wanted something pleasant which didn’t involve working unsocial hours in a nursing home. The principal thing I was going to learn was how to inject BotulinumToxin and I thought I might as well go the whole way and learn about fillers too.

I thoroughly enjoyed the foundation course at Medics Direct Training and, after witnessing the instantaneous and fabulous results achieved with the dermal fillers, I was hooked.

I realised that, for me, there was a definite satisfaction to be had from delivering these treatments and it was a feeling I had not felt throughout my years as a theatre nurse. I am probably someone who took the wrong career direction many years ago but here was a job which actually satisfied me.

Since my beginnings on the foundation Botox and Dermal Fillers course at Medics Direct Training, I have had the privilege to work extensively with Dr Kate Goldie, founder of Medics Direct.

I find Kate’s passion for facial artistry and her innovative approach to injection inspiring. Kate has instilled in me a desire to deliver the most natural looking treatments possible and has trained me in how to achieve this.

Her advice is simple:

1. Try to see the client as they were in their younger days
2. Aim to recreate volume where it has been lost and do not overfill
3. Strive to achieve smooth and even contours from all angles and constantly assess, as you are delivering the treatment, that you are achieving this
4. You must stand back and look at the face as a whole and try to judge where any adjustments are needed… try hard not to just fill the lines

Kate taught me that by removing depressions and restoring volume to where it has been lost we can massively improve the impression of youthfulness and in doing so restore confidence and improve self-esteem in our clients.

We want our client’s friends to notice how well they look but not to be able to pinpoint what is different! That is what facial artistry is to me and I love having the knowledge and skill to be able to provide this service to my clients.

I hope you share my love of fillers and would love your input on how you work towards excellent facial artistry on your clients! I’m also looking forward to seeing some contributions from others on this site regarding this and other aesthetic topics.

Posted in Aesthetic Network Opinion Pieces, Anti-Ageing Aesthetic Procedures, Botox, Dermal Fillers, Medics Direct Training | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Better Your Online Marketing Strategy with Google Places


I think we probably all know by now that online marketing is important in establishing and promoting your aesthetics clinic but are you using all the tools available to you?

When we began developing The Aesthetic Network we carried out quite a lot of online research and found that while many clinics have an online presence limited numbers were using ‘Google Places’.

This is the perfect opportunity to set your clinic apart through localized online marketing using ‘Google Places’.

Online marketing, carried out properly, is more than building a website or more recently using social media to engage prospective clients. It is important to be visible in search rankings, especially in localized search.

What I mean by localized search is using online search engines to search a topic which includes a geographic location. Let’s say ‘Botox in Watford’.

Google is the current search engine leader, so more often than not your prospective clients will be using Google to search.

In the search results we now commonly find a map and ‘Google Places’ pages in the search results. Importantly these results are near the start of the search rankings.

Research shows that the higher you rank in search rankings the better it is for your business. By using ‘Google Places’ you will naturally rank higher, prospective clients will be able to see a map of your location and your clinic can be reviewed (reviews can help develop trust and sales – we will cover this in a future blog).

Going back to our ‘Botox in Watford’ example here is a screen shot of the Google rankings. We can see that only one clinic is listed in ‘Google Places’ and they are the top search ranking. Brilliant business for them!

If you are an existing business you may find that Google has already created a Places page for you. You should claim this page as soon as possible. If you are a new business then you may have to create your page. Either way, it’s an easy process, and it’s free.

Once you have your page you can set to work in making it a great promotional tool for your business:

  • Add details on the services you offer
  • Add products, treatments and special offers that your clients can take advantage of
  • Add business details – opening hours, parking information, payment details
  • Add information about you, and give the business a human face that potential clients can identify with

Before you get started, Google offer some information:

  • Right now, Google Places is available for businesses in only certain countries.  The UK is one of them but if you are operating in other countries please check to ensure the service is available.
  • It’s free. Adding your listing to Google Places is free, and Google doesn’t accept payment to include particular listings or sites in our search results. However, they do offer locally-targeted advertising through the AdWords program.
  • Every business listing must have a mailing address. This is the physical address where mail can be sent to your business. If you work from home or you are a mobile-only business you can specify service areas and choose to hide your physical address later on!
  • There shouldn’t be more than one listing per physical location. Even if you’re a doctor who is a cardiologist and a chiropractor or a service that covers multiple towns, you shouldn’t have two listings. Instead, use the description of your business or categories to explain the different services your business offers.

Google Places should be an important part of your internet marketing strategy. Online search, particularly localized search is the number one method for clients to begin searching for information. Your clinic needs to stand out from all the others and ‘Google Places’ is an easy and free way to begin differentiating your clinic from your competitors.

The internet is a powerful medium for communication and is always rapidly adapting, to run a popular and successful clinic you need to keep up to date with trends and services.

We, at The Aesthetic Network want to provide useful information to support your clinics growth. From time to time as well as our featured articles about the aesthetics industry we will provide informative support on establishing and growing your clinic.

For more information about ‘Google Places’ please visit http://www.google.com/local/add.

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Welcome to The Aesthetic Network Official Blog


Hi and welcome to The Aesthetic Network Blog, I’m Dr Kate Goldie the founder and  clinical director of Medics Direct Training.  We at Medics Direct Training are very pleased to have established The Aesthetic Network and The Aesthetic Network Blog.

Our aim is simple, to create a place where aesthetic professionals can meet, connect, share, discuss, engage, inspire and develop the field of aesthetics.  As a medical aesthetics practitioner and trainer, I am very passionate about growing the field of aesthetics and connecting all medical aesthetics practitioners to enhance knowledge, professionalism and opportunities in the field.  We know from speaking to our own practitioners that a career in medical aesthetics can feel isolating and at times you just want to ask a few questions or keep up to date with current research and trends.  We hope that The Aesthetic Network and here at The Aesthetic Network Blog will bring you all that, and more.

We don’t want to be just another blog or network.  We want to work with you to create a valuable information and networking portal that really assists you in your career in medical aesthetics.

Having found no other portal that integrates the needs of all aesthetics medical professionals, doctors, nurses, and dentists, we thought we would create one of our own.  The Aesthetics Network was born.

So what can you expect?

Our blog will provide articles on the latest medical aesthetics techniques, practices, and issues, opinion pieces on current debates, reviews of the latest research, tips on creating a successful medical aesthetics practice, links to other great research, and a chance for you to participate…

As trainers, Medics Direct Training, believes in engaging and networking with practitioners to develop knowledge and better business practices.  We want to take this ethos onto The Aesthetic Network blog.  Please feel free to comment on the articles, share with your network or if you have a hard hitting article topic get in contact to become a featured blogger @ The Aesthetic Network.

The Aesthetic Network site is being launched in phases; please follow The Aesthetic Network Blog for regular updates and information on how you can join the community.  The ethos behind The Aesthetic Network is to give you, as an aesthetics medical professional, a space to connect, share and discuss with other aesthetics professionals.

You will be able to create bespoke groups to your own interests or geographical locations, you can connect and friend other aesthetics professionals, ask questions in the forum, upload case studies, photos, videos, events to share with the network, keep notes, and write your own blog.

We will regularly feature the best blog and case study content here on The Aesthetic Network Blog, providing the authors with another valuable platform to spread their expertise.  In addition you will also have access to the Medics Direct Training team and our training videos, lectures and support information.

You can keep up to date with our progress or stop by an say hello on Twitter (click here to follow) or Facebook (click here to like)

We hope you have as much fun using The Aesthetic Network as we have had creating it!


 

Posted in Dr Kate Goldie | Tagged , , | 5 Comments