Follow the Numbers: Trends to Guide Your 2017 Plastic Surgery Marketing Plan

April 24th, 2017 by Ann Wanserski

With 17.1 million surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2016, a few key trends stand out as opportunities. According to a report released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, patients are trending toward fat grafting, non-invasive fat reduction, and facial enhancements. These trends present areas of potential growth for plastic surgeons by focusing their annual marketing plans on the procedures that patients are most interested in learning about. After all, the first step to any great marketing campaign is to understand how to appeal to your target demographic.

What Do the Numbers Show?

The first and most notable pattern is that patients are using their fat to enhance other areas of their body. Using liposuction, plastic surgeons remove unwanted fat from the abdomen and inject it into other areas, including the face, buttock, and breasts, to enhance and sculpt the desired look. This process of fat grafting showed a 26 percent increase for the use of buttock augmentation and a 72 percent increase for use in breast augmentation in 2016.

Patients love the longevity of the results achieved using this method, and that’s certainly a potential benefit to highlight in a marketing campaign. Plus, patients often mention the added benefit of two surgeries in one, as they are especially happy to remove unwanted fat while also enhancing desired body parts. In addition to the cosmetic benefits, this surgery is also a popular option for breast reconstruction patients for many of the same reasons.

Do Patients Know All Their Options?

Audrey Hepburn getting a closer look - Search Influence

While these innovative procedures are gaining popularity, doctors might not realize that many potential clients don’t even realize that this is an option for them. In fact, recent studies show that only 23 percent of women understand the full range of breast reconstruction options available. This indicates that marketing campaigns targeting new customers should focus on disseminating the facts and shining a spotlight on industry advances. By presenting the full range of innovative options available, like fat grafting, patients are more inclined to take the first step to schedule a consultation.

Paid search and Facebook advertising campaigns may be especially effective in this instance, as both are often great avenues for reaching highly specific demographics. For example, Facebook’s targeting options include new people who have moved into your office’s geographic area or even specifications like salary, industry, and age. You probably already have an idea of the ideal customer for your medical practice, and using these targeting features, you are not only more able to reach them, but you can also present them with the information that they actually want to learn about.

The same applies to Google searches. After all, if someone is searching on Google to learn about new augmentation options available, don’t you want your practice to show up in the top results as a trusted source for their desired information? Your campaigns should focus on the keywords that match the data trends, and your content should focus on informative, highly-curated landing pages that prove you’re a reputable source. All of these elements combined can lead to big conversion results.

What About Non-Invasive Trends?

Another major trend shown in the data from 2016 indicates a move toward non-invasive techniques for skin tightening, rejuvenation, and fat reduction. Injection procedures, like Kybella, that target areas of fat in areas under the chin or along the bra line increased 18 percent in 2016. Additionally, procedures like cryolipolysis (to “freeze” away fat cells) also showed an upward trend with a 5 percent increase. Other non-invasive skin tightening procedures saw a similar 5 percent increase.

Broadband light and laser treatments are among these popular options for non-invasive skin tightening and offer versatile results with little to no downtime for the patient. While these procedures do not require surgery, patients still want to know that they are receiving services from a reputable, board-certified physician. This is a major area of opportunity for plastic surgeons to focus on in marketing campaigns. An emphasis on innovative technology to achieve long-lasting results shows patients that your office is ahead of the curve and committed to new advances in the field.

How Do Trends Look Year Over Year?

Looking at the changes and trends from 2015 to 2016, we can also note which types of procedures show an increase or decrease in popularity. With nearly 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed, liposuction showed a noticeable jump, up 6 percent from 2015, which may reflect our earlier trend toward fat grafting. Additionally, breast augmentation remained a popular choice for patients, filling the top slot and showing a 4 percent rise from 2015. Finally, as a fairly new procedure to gain in popularity over the last few years, the labiaplasty procedure increased by 36 percent in 2016.

Another notable movement is the focus on the face, with an increase in facelifts by 4 percent from 2015. In conjunction with the surgical focus on face enhancements, non-invasive procedures, among the 15.5 million performed in 2016, showed a similar trend. Filling the number one slot, Botox procedures increase by 4 percent, with a total of 7 million procedures performed annually. Soft tissue fillers and chemical peels also showed steady inclines in usage from 2015 to 2016.

How Do You Build Relationships with Patients?

One possible pattern indicated in these trends is the frequency in which patients are meeting with their plastic surgeons. Patients feel more comfortable discussing all areas of their body with their surgeon, and a long-term relationship can develop between patient and physician. This indicates that a person may be interested in learning about multiple procedures, including both non-invasive and surgical options. A dynamic marketing campaign should reach new target demographics while also building on the loyalty of current patients.

Emoji Gif - Search Influence

Email newsletters and Facebook campaigns are great ways to stay in contact with your audience and keep them engaged in your services. Share patient testimonials, highlight employee profiles, and add personal elements that showcase the people-centric side of your business. Encourage happy customers to share their results with Facebook reviews and always make time to answer questions and comments that arise from your posted content. By creating multiple platforms for engagement online, you’re opening a line of communication with clients that can build trust, keep them informed, and ultimately create long-term success for your medical practice.

If you’re ready to create a dynamic marketing campaign that draws on current trends and builds your plastic surgery practice as an industry leader, the first step might be less invasive than you think. Focus on your audience, deliver relevant information, and stay true to your brand.