To effectively market cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures and treatments, high-quality before and after photos are no longer an option; they are required. However, even though plastic surgeons recognize this fact, many still only have a handful of results and rely on old, dated photos and cases to tell their story.
If you look at your own gallery and get the sense that this applies to your website, chances are you’re leaving opportunities on the table and losing cosmetic patients without even realizing it. The fact is, there is a lot more to Before and After Marketing than just taking and posting pictures.
Marketing and selling aesthetic-related services is highly visual and patients feel they need to “see it” before they believe (or buy) it. Your website’s user data backs this up. In nearly all cosmetic websites I assess, Google Analytics indicates that before and after pages are some, if not the most frequently visited pages. And not only do they get there, they stay there. In one study I conducted, nearly 30% of visitors that entered the gallery made it to 4th page of before and after cases (when available). These highly engaged, long-duration visitors are also strong candidates to convert into leads and consultations.
Take the following steps to elevate the effectiveness of your website’s most powerful marketing assets: your before and after photos.
Like any other aspect of your marketing, your B&A marketing should not be planned and executed in a vacuum. It needs to be developed to compete in your specific marketplace. So the first place to start is researching your most successful competitors and write down your findings. What procedures do they promote the most? How many cases do they have in them? What is the quality of the photos? Do they provide descriptions for visitors and SEO? How does the gallery function? Investing the time upfront to ensure your gallery is competitive will save you the time and money it will take to redesign and reprogram it later.
If you find the quality of your photos are not up to par with you biggest competitors, you need to step up your game. High-quality photography is made easier and more affordable with today’s digital photography equipment. Start by identifying your photo room/area. To ensure consistency, mark off distances; use a tripod with height settings based on procedures; use a background that allows your subjects to stand out and displays nicely on your website. Also, before you invest in an expensive new camera, check and upgrade your lighting first. Lighting equipment is very inexpensive (lightbox sets start around $150) and usually makes the biggest difference. Incorporate set lighting positions and angles that are based on the specific procedures to create more depth, accentuate shapes, and match skin tones.
As you go through your galleries, don’t just focus on volume. Of course we want a representative number of cases for your most important procedures, but quality is equally, if not even more important. Keep in mind, visitors will judge you and your skills not only on how many cases you have, but on the quality of those images. So, rather than just adding more, make sure to remove old, lower-quality cases that reflect poorly on you. Also, when you have a higher volume of cases, be sure to organize them strategically. Where most surgeons want to promote their most dramatic outcomes and transformations first, I suggest putting ego aside and think about what your potential patient want to see – cases like theirs! Your gallery should try to reflect your patient base and start with the most common cases, body types and even skin tones.
In addition to using high-quality, compelling photos, the usability of your gallery will also impact its effectiveness. The functionality of your gallery needs to be based on “ease of use” and the ability to view cases and descriptions in both desktop and mobile. This includes gallery functionality that adds excessive animation and reduces the user’s control of the navigation and pace at which they access cases. Resist the urge to incorporate “cool” features at the expense of user experience and control and you will improve the effectiveness of your most compelling assets.
Your B&A marketing needs to incorporate conversion strategies. We have all heard the adage that consumers that choose to have elective cosmetic surgery make the decision emotionally and justify it logically. With that in mind, there is no section of your website that stirs emotions more or creates desire as much as your B&A galleries. There is also no better time to strike while the iron is hottest. To maximize conversions in your gallery section, make sure to include strategic “next step” elements. Many times, gallery pages end in dead-ends or only include links to view more, without an offer to act now. Consider utilizing dynamic calls-to-action, pop-ups, and other design elements as users reach the bottom of the page that catches their attention; the more creative and compelling the offer, the higher your conversions.
Not only do you need to create a more effective gallery section, you also need to take steps that drive visitors who what to see them. Here are some quick suggestions:
Most practices mistakenly assume if they have a before and after gallery on their website and occasionally update it, that’s all they need to do. By taking extra steps and incorporating B&A marketing strategies and tactics, you will elevate the effectiveness of your website and impact of you most important marketing assets.