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Botulinum Toxin Training Club by Dr Harry Singh

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The do’s and don’ts of facial aesthetic marketing

So, you have been trained in the fine art of facial aesthetics? Check.

You have started a business offering Botox®, dermal fillers, and lip fillers? Check.

But, how do you market this fantastic new facial aesthetics venture? What are you allowed to say when marketing prescription-only medicines?

Fear not, we are here to help!

Firstly, let us introduce you to a couple of bodies you need to be aware of. Initially, there is CAP – Committee of Advertising Practise. CAP states that you cannot advertise prescription-only medicines (POM) to the general public. Therefore, your whole website (not just your homepage) cannot mention POMs such as Botox®. You also cannot use terminology that reflects this word, such as ‘beautox’ or anti-wrinkle injections. So, this raises the question… what can you say?

Well, we recommend you make statements like: “we offer anti-wrinkle treatments, only after a face-to-face consultation with our fully trained medical practitioners.” Using phrases like this in your facial aesthetics marketing and as a general way to increases your business’ income, we recommend you offer other anti-aging skin treatments. This way this statement isn’t only reflective of Botox®, it is a general comment on your treatment range.

Sharing your price list externally is also a no-no. This again falls into the remit of advertising POMs. A way around this issue is to offer free initial consultations where you can assess what the patient requires and can provide a cost to them for the treatment at the end of their consultation. It is always hard to know exactly what areas need treating to gain the patient’s required results, without seeing them anyway.

What about dermal and lip fillers? You can say what you want – within reason! – regarding fillers in your facial aesthetics marketing. These are not POMs, so you are able to discuss these in more detail on your website and external marketing and showcase your price list if you wish. That being said regulatory bodies are still not keen on special offers being advertised for any facial aesthetic procedures. You need to always be seen to act professionally, analysing expectant results and patient concerns. They are still medical procedures and as such should not be trivialised.

What is external vs internal marketing? External marketing is a term used to describe any promotion that is outward-facing, AKA to the public, not just your patients. Internal marketing, therefore, is the opposite, you are only communicating to your patient list. When communicating internally, to people you already have a relationship with, it is fine to talk about POMs like Botox® in detail as you have had the consultation with them. They know you and you are not advertising it as you would be to a new prospect group.

What about the imagery you use when marketing externally? This is also an area you need to be very careful of. If you run a practice which only offers POM treatments with Botox®, for example, then you are not allowed to show before and after images of treatment. Also bear in mind that when using Botox® you can’t show any cases where it has been used to target areas it is not licensed for. You are also not able to indicate an image where injections could be administered. Again, the best way around this is to offer other non-POM facial treatments. You can then show images of these treatments and showcase areas that can be targeted.

The social media debacle. Much like your website, you cannot market your facial aesthetic POMs on social media platforms. Neither in writing nor through the use of imagery. If someone tags you in a post showcasing their recent treatment with you, you cannot engage with the post or reshare it. The best option is to private message them to thank them for telling others about it. Maybe offer a referral incentive to get their friends booked in.

Next, there is the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The ASA has further rules on what you can and cannot say on your external marketing. For instance, you cannot use the phrases: ‘leading clinic,’ ‘renowned,’ ‘specialist’ or ‘hugely experienced.’ You are unable to state that lines and wrinkles will be ‘permanently’ eliminated. You are not allowed to exaggerate with phrases like ‘new you’ or ‘feel fantastic.’ You also want to avoid using brand names across your website, as a way of advertising your treatments or products. Of course, like CAP, advertising Botox® treatments are again a no-no.
This all again begs the question – what can you say? Use statements like: ‘younger looking skin’ or ‘smoother looking skin’ when discussing the appearance after treatment. For injections, you could use the phrases ‘cosmetic fillers’ or ‘injected fillers.’

In conclusion whilst it is true there is a lot you cannot say in your external marketing, there are ways around a lot of it by using the broader terms. This in many ways may help to get prospects to enquire to you about treatment. If you provide all the information and pricing on the website what does it leave them to enquire about?

For further information on marketing POMs please see:

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