Is Groupon an Unethical Way to Acquire New Patients for Your Practice?
Groupon has been making waves in the online deals industry and is now moving into the plastic surgery and medical field, rolling out deep discounts on everything from liposuction to veneers. Groupon is a deals website that provides deep discounts on restaurants, shopping, entertainment and even spa treatments at popular destinations around your city. You may be a Groupon user yourself, taking advantage of amazing deals on food, golf and other activities around town.
Have you been contacted by a Groupon representative about advertising your practice on this deal site?
Here are some important implications to consider before your practice joins a site like this:
Groupon is an Unethical Way for a Practice to Conduct Business, Says the BAAPS
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has issued a formal statement that condemns the marketing of medical procedures such as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and other popular plastic surgery procedures on online discount websites like Groupon.
Former president of the BAAPS states, “This trivialization and commoditization of medical procedures is appalling. It seems to have come down to the level of loyalty cards, money-off vouchers, and even competition prizes.”
If you advertise your practice on Groupon, you are required to list procedures or services that have been reduced by as much as 50% or more. You are guaranteed business when a certain number of people buy your offer, and you do have some options for setting the terms and conditions of the offer.
But is this really an effective way to generate business for your practice?
Deal Sites and Your Practice Image
You’ve worked hard to establish your practice’s brand and reputation in your community, so in some cases, advertising on deals sites can hurt your image. While this approach may help you bring new patients in, what type of message are you sending to existing patients?
As the BAAPS points out, the trivialization of often-pricey procedures can take away from the actual value of what you are offering. You set your fees and prices based on your experience, skills and the value that you are providing to the patient — not only the cost of performing the procedure.
A recent story in American Medical News also sheds some light on the issue. “If done properly, offering services through an online group discount site could be a way to fill empty slots in the calendar or build word-of-mouth referrals and volume — if it’s OK with you to offer the service for half price?if done incorrectly, offering such a deal actually could harm your business if you’re not equipped to deal with the increase.”
Do you use Groupon or other deal sites to generate business at your practice? Share your story or insights below.
If you’re looking for alternative ways to promote your practice, talk to a PracticeDock specialist about some of today’s most effective practice marketing methods.
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