A new year gets us all thinking about howwe can boost our business overthe coming 12 months. As in life, an investment of time and/or money is almost always required. Of course, choosing what you invest your limited time and hard-earned money on should be carefully considered.
Sometimes, spending fast and hard on, for example, an impressive new device or a huge marketing campaign is the easier option. While doing so can pay off, there are other ways you can invest your time and money that will reap rewards.
Here are my top three investment recommendations for 2023 and what you should consider:
1. GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
A study released last yearfound that many before and after photographs are of substandard quality. The researchers looked at 510 Instagram posts, encompassing 2,020 clinical photographs published by 102 practitioner accounts, and audited each for quality. The average score was four out of nine, with approximately 40% of posts scoring in the low quality range.
Considering the ease of taking pictures nowadays, these results shocked me. Photography should be a standard part of all aesthetic protocols; firstly to document accurate medical records and secondly to market our skills and services.
In my opinion, spending time learning how to take good photographs and purchasing equipment to improve your outcomes is a worthy investment. To create standardised photography, they key things to consider are:
• Positioning: create a spot in your clinic specifically fortaking photographs. You could attach a black roller blind to the wall that can easily be rolled up or down to help ensure the background is consistent for all. Put Xs on the floorto indicate where the patient and photographer should stand. Use a tripod to maintain the same height and ensure steadiness.
• Lighting: close the blinds when taking your photographs as the light shining through the window at different times of day will influence the outcome of your pictures. Consider purchasing a ring light to create the same level of lighting each time. Be aware that some flashes and ring lights can hide wrinkles and texture changes; there are portable LED lighting units that can help avoid this though.
• Facial expressions: to start, ensure your patient is make-up free for all photographs to aid consistency. Then take static photographs with no facial expressions, before asking them to ‘pull’ certain faces relevant to where they will/ have had treatment for your dynamic images. You should also capture photographs from front and profile angles to fully demonstrate results.
This is just a starting guide; there’s so much more you can learn about taking standardised clinical photographs. And if this is something you want to invest heavily in, there are many devices on the market that can make taking clinical photographs really easy for you.
I have used the LifeViz Mini for a number of years now and it is has transformed my before and afters. The portable and compact device captures 3D images of the face and neck (there is also a version for full body), can perform skin analysis, quantifies volume changes and takes other measurements so you can overlay before and afters to really see the difference. The technology involved means that you don’t have to worry about setting up lighting and positioning beforehand; the device manages all this for you. I’ve found using LifeViz saves time and improves communication with my patients as it shares so much clinical detail, greatly enhancing their experience with me.
2. EVENT ATTENDANCE
In this profession, we should never stop learning ifwe want to offer patients the very best treatments and services. With exciting innovations being released every year, attending conferences and exhibitions to stay on top of our game is an essential investment of time and money.
Yes, it can mean taking a day or two out of clinic or giving up a weekend here and there, but the learning and networking opportunities that events can bring are definitely worth it.
You can see new treatments in action first-hand, hear renowned experts share their wisdom, meet potential suppliers and share ideas with like-minded professionals. Many conferences are also CPD-accredited, meaning you earn essential development points when you attend. You can also promote your attendance on your social media platforms to indicate to patients that you take continued learning seriously and are always on the lookout for new ways to enhance their experience with you.
In the UK there are a number of noteworthy events you can attend for free or a small cost. Here are just a few:
3. CONTENT CREATION
Showcasing your knowledge through educational blogs and social media posts can’t be underestimated. Investing a few hours a week to creating content can help position you as an expert in your field, while gaining and retaining new patients. Here are a few ideas of themes you could cover:
• ’10 things to know about’: this can be used for so many of your treatments!
• News trends: are there any celebrities who’ve recently promoted a treatment you offer? Hook onto this to demonstrate that people can have this ‘celebrity favourite’ with you
• ‘The science behind’: showcase your clinical expertise by describing how your treatments work
• Latest stats: there are plenty of statistics on aesthetic treatments online – find one and provide your expert commentary
• Behind the scenes: show how a treatment works with photos and videos – of course getting permission from the patient you feature is essential
Aim to share your content widely – awebsite blog is great for longer form written articles, while social media is brilliant if you want to share shorter, more interactive content.
If you’re not a confident writer and are prepared to invest some money into content creation, then there are experts who can help. Vicky Eldridge, consultant editor of Aesthetic Medicine magazine, and Chloé Gronow, former editor of the Aesthetics Journal, are both now freelance writers with expertise in our speciality who will be happy to share ideas and write on your behalf.
Investing time and money into something new can be daunting, but it is an essential step if you want to enhance the service you offer patients and boost your business. Take care to assess risk before any investment and track results to determine its worth.
The new year is the perfect time to get started, so make that investment for 2023!