Social media, engagement, content creation, and organic posts versus paid promotions – these are the topics everyone ponders when thinking about how to attract new clients. But, before you can even begin to address these, you may need to take a step back and assess your brand. Who are we? What does it look like and sound like? What is the mission, vision, values, identity, voice, and personality? If you can answer these questions first, you’ll have a solid foundation on which to build a successful strategy that delivers the right new clients. Without this foundation, you’re just throwing mud against the wall hoping something sticks. So, to help you begin building your foundation, I turned to some experts in the space. I began with Alexandra Frumberg, the founder of ALX Creatives – a brand and social strategy agency. I asked Frumberg how defining your brand can lead to growth, new clients, and more. “There is one thing we have unwavering control over online and that is our brand story. This is the key to success.” These are her top three recommendations for getting started:
IDENTIFY YOUR WHY
When you have a clear mission and purpose, everyone feels the authenticity of your story and your brand. From there you can develop the pillars that support that mission both visually and verbally. This is called your brand identity. Once you know who you are as a brand, you can identify who your target customer is.
Consistency is the key to unlocking powerful brand awareness. When your audience can identify your company voice and visual representation, you are in a good space to grow. Your user should have the same experience online engaging with your brand as your customer has in your physical space. What does your physical space look like? Your brand must also be able to evolve with digital media because the velocity of change is at an all-time high. Your brand should translate across multiple channels and be strong enough to apply to different and new channels (one example is Facebook versus Instagram Stories). That’s how you stay relevant over time.
Give love to your audience and they will mirror it. Be authentic, real, and open. Create a compelling community they want to support. Design a digital strategy to target and engage your audience across touchpoints with these ideas (above) in mind. Start by establishing a content calendar for Facebook and Instagram. This should include clear content goals and categories built to educate, inspire, and entertain. From there you can layer in an influencer strategy and a paid ads program. Today Facebook and Instagram are a pay to play. Period. Find a strong specialist who can manage your ads. Your ads should get people to stop scrolling. They should feel organic yet grab their attention.
What are your recommendations for transforming customers into fanatics and advocates?
1. Add value, not noise. If you believe a product or service adds value, find success stories, and illustrate. Rinse and repeat.
2. Find a customer(s) that believes you have transformed their life in some way. Inspire them to tell their story. Video and share. People trust other people online before they will trust you.3. There is an addictive quality to feeling part of something. Embed them in your culture by building relationships that are personal. Get your team on board.
Today we are in a new era of the “relatable influencer.” Consumers are fed up with fake. They want to relate. Trending hashtags like #nofilter and #nomakeup will continue to grow in popularity. Think about these concepts as you identify your brand personality in the context of attracting new clients. Aesthetic medicine is no longer just about vanity but about #selfcare, #wellness, and #skinhealth. Use this messaging to attract these clients, because changing how they think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging. Develop strategic collaborations around these concepts that fit your brand.
IDENTIFYING YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER
Now that you’re on your way to building (or rebuilding) your brand, how do you identify those target customers? I turned to another strategist, Adam Haroun of BrandingMD, about developing a profile of your best client or super customer. In his book “Now the Patient Will See You,” Haroun recommends creating a buyer persona and then crafting a message that resonates with prospects just like them. Tap into your business's most passionate (and profitable) clients to discover more just like them. In fact, you may find you have three or four different profiles that represent all your best clients. Begin by mining your data and don’t be afraid to spend a few days on this. Look through your client database and profile the best.• Who followed the treatment plan?• Who was compliant with homecare?• Which combination therapies did they purchase?• Did they purchase a series or package?• How did they find you?• Where do your reviews and referrals come from?• What else do you know about them? How your super customer spends their time is as insightful as to how they spend their money.
BRAND DISTINCTION NOT DISTRACTION
Many aesthetic providers worry about competition and competitive pricing, but Haroun believes obscurity is the real problem facing most (medical) spas today. Decide what it is you do best. Be specific. Focus on that. Don’t cast to a wide of a net because when you make your universe a little smaller you become a little bit bigger in that space. And about competing on price – don’t There’s nothing wrong with offering little savings or the occasional promotion, but don’t compete on price. It’s a death spiral. Lifestyle lift competed on price and they went out of business. Don’t be them – let your competition be them. Consider this, Rolex doesn’t sell watches. You get a watch when you buy a Rolex, but that’s not the reason you buy it. You’re buying a feeling, status, elegance, sophistication. Rolex doesn’t run sales. Like Rolex, your clients are purchasing more than a treatment. What are you really selling? You’re selling solutions, skin health, and self-confidence. This is one way you overcome price objections and differentiate yourself because the price is only an issue in the absence of value. What is your value? Look to underserved markets for new clients. Groups that are exploding right now include men (especially millennial men), the LGBTQIA+ community, and teenagers. How will you tap into these markets? And don’t forget about new treatments and emerging treatment categories.
Haroun shared one of his favorite sayings, that “success leaves clues”. In other words, by looking at examples of industry leaders and modeling the branding principles they follow, you too can enjoy similar outstanding results. So, take a few micro-steps that drive meaningful change. Start with some of these ideas and #gogogo.
Leah Argento is an Illinois licensed aesthetician and licensed continuing education provider. An experienced business development manager and sales professional, Argento currently keeps busy as a national training and education manager for The HydraFacial Company.