There are two aesthetic clinics, in the same area…
…And this week, they’re both making a “special offer” on CoolSculpting.
One advertises everywhere that until the end of the month, you can get a 25% discount on fat freezing.
The other advertises “a 25% discount to welcome our new CoolSculpting technician, Lucy, to the clinic – and give you a chance to experience her outstanding work!”
What’s the difference?
The first clinic is just slashing the price, seemingly for no good reason…
It might be enticing for some, but they sound a little desperate.
The second clinic are offering the identical price cut – but they’re justifying it with a believable, rational reason. It sounds more like a one-off and doesn’t dent the clinic’s reputation or long-term pricing strategy.
Now, the art of discounting is complicated… Too complicated to explore fully in one article.
But if you’re anything like most clinic owners we speak to, discounting is probably one of your real bugbears.
You know that when you discount regularly, it devalues your treatments…
It creates bad habits and expectations amongst your patients, who come to resent paying full price and learn to ask for discounts…
And when you discount the whole time, it can really damage your margins and make it difficult to run at a profit.
The problem is, you might feel pushed into discounting both by your competition and your patients.
When everyone around you is cutting prices, and patients you really want and need start telling you that “so-and-so around the corner does fillers for less…”, it can be hard to withstand that pressure.
A monthly list of “specials” are a regular feature for many clinics… Even though many owners know that patients wait for these discounts and have mixed feelings about sending them out.
Before you know it, your competition have slashed their prices to make them more attractive compared to you…
…And you find yourself spiralling into a destructive price war.
That’s why you want to avoid constant discounting. There will always be people who will pay full-price and there will always be room for a clinic that’s positioned at the top of the pile, charging good money for quality treatments.
The trick is to focus your marketing on building up the value of your treatments, your clinic, your service – so that you become desirable and patients want to pay what you charge.
When you decide to deploy a “special offer”, it’s important to offer your patients a compelling reason why you’re doing so.
Research shows that telling people “why” they should do something can boost responsiveness – even, bizarrely, if the reason itself doesn’t make much sense or is blindingly obvious!
Still, there will be times when special offers can and should be strategically deployed. With an emphasis on strategic.
This is a tactic you need to use carefully and purposefully – not spraying discounts in every direction at every opportunity.
And when you do decide to deploy a good sale or “special offer”, it’s important to offer your patients a compelling reason why you’re doing so.
Is it to welcome your new aesthetician? Or to welcome new visitors to your website?
… A Christmas gift to your patients?
…Because you recognize that times are tough, and want to put your hand out to your most loyal clients?
… A special introductory price for a new treatment?
… Because the manufacturer has offered you a special price, and you’re passing on the savings?
… Do you have just a bit of stock you need to get rid of? (It’s ok to be honest… although you might not wish to put it exactly like that! ? ).
Giving a reason for the discount turns your ‘special offer’ from something that sounds a little desperate (and even suspicious) into something rational and unusual.
As long as you’re doing this only sporadically, patients won’t come to consider discounts from you a given – they’ll understand “It was only because…”
It’s a subtle change but it’s critical for your positioning and long-term financial health.
What’s more, research shows that telling people “why” they should do something can boost responsiveness – even, bizarrely, if the reason itself doesn’t make much sense or is blindingly obvious!
Even though you’ve probably heard me say before that most clinics need to be a lot more emotional with their marketing, because deciding to get an aesthetic treatment is an emotional decision for many people…
…People have a rational side too.
They like to have a sensible reason for what they do. And they’ll respond better to you, when you give them a compelling reason for your seemingly random discounts, too.
Gary Bencivenga – one of the greatest copywriters of all time – claimed that the most powerful, but under-used word in marketing copy was “because”.
Use it more often to help your leads say “yes”.
Miriam Shaviv is creator of Inbox Express, the library of marketing emails for aesthetic clinics and med spas, designed to make your marketing effective and easy – and send the right messages to your patients as you re-open after Coronavirus! Find out more here.
She is Director of Content at Brainstorm Digital, which helps aesthetic clinics and med spas get patients through their doors again and again – without the headache of costly online advertising.