Plastic surgery is no longer a taboo in Chinese society; instead, it is going to be just as popular and widely-accepted as make-up in this country. With a growing number of high-earning middle-class consumers, China becomes an attractive market for international medical cosmetic companies.
This article provides you with information on the market as well as the digital marketing strategy to enter and succeed in China.
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In 2017, the number of Chinese medical and beauty consumers exceeded 20 million, and the cumulative consumption exceeded RMB 110 billion. In the past five years, the CAGR of China’s medical and beauty market has reached 20~30%.
Compared with overseas markets, China’s medical and beauty market still has 6-8 times of room for growth.
Interestingly, people receiving plastic surgery in China are much younger than in developed markets. In China, consumers under the age of 35 account for 96% of total treatments. In the U.S., the figure is almost the opposite, with 74% of cosmetic surgery patients being over 35 years of age.
The types of cosmetic surgeries are more diverse in China as well. Compared to a few years ago, when patients mostly did nose jobs, eyelid operations, and skin treatment, young patients nowadays are augmenting a much wider selection of their bodies, from face reshaping to breast enlargement and even genitalia reconstruction.
Rising demand for plastic surgery has been driven by changing attitudes toward self-image, technological advancements in industry procedures, higher disposable incomes, and the aging population in China.
The main purpose of their consumption of medical beauty is to “please me”, according to research.
DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY FOR YOU AS A PLASTIC SURGERY CLINIC
1. Content angles to build trust and win hearts of medical beauty patients
Chinese consumers, in general, are considerably more likely to rely on the Internet when deciding what and whether to buy.
However, in cosmetic surgery, the information is considered to be obscure, unclear and confusing:
- Over-marketing and over-packaging of medical and aesthetic institutions make it difficult for consumers to distinguish and choose.
- The quote is confusing. For the same project, the price of different medical institutions will be 10 times or more.
- Unqualified clinics and studios are numerous, and unlicensed doctors are everywhere. It is difficult to distinguish between true and false.
- Counterfeit and parallel imports drugs are in the market. Consumers don’t know how to identify authentic products.
Therefore, positioned as one of the leading experts in the field, you should develop intensive content marketing to expand awareness as well as gain trust from potential customers.
Your content can be elaborated on the following angles:
- Information about your company: origin, history, specialization, doctors, certificates, news …
- Detailed description and pricing of your services
- Testimonials: before-after images, stories of your clients, reviews, feedback, sharing of your clients
- Educational knowledge about plastic surgery: definition, types, technologies, medication
- Beauty tips, trends, post-surgery advice
- Promotion or special programs
2. A content distribution plan to expand brand awareness and convert potential customers
2.1 Website in Chinese very professional
A quality website is critical for cosmetics surgery companies since this is where Chinese customers do extensive research to learn about your company and services.
A website must be created keeping the Chinese audience in mind rather than simply providing an adaptive version of your Western website.
Content should be written in native simplified Chinese, hosted in China or Hongkong to ensure fast access for local people.
Mobile-friendly is necessary considering that more than 90% of Chinese Internet users access the Internet via mobile devices.
Finally, professional and trustful design in combination with a well-organized website structure would contribute to your website’s conversion rate.
2.2 Social media: because your client use WeChat 10 times per day
- More than 90 percent of Chinese consumers use social media and microblogs (known as “webs”) to learn about companies’ products or services.
- 60 percent interact directly with companies on social media sites about their products or customer service.
Chinese consumers’ prolific use of social media is particularly important for any brand including those in the cosmetics surgery industry.
Wechat is the most powerful app in China with more than 1 billion active accounts.
Wechat was originally an instant messaging app just like Whatsapp, but then has been developing multiple functions such as online payment, social media newsfeed like Facebook, games, e-commerce…
Wechat’s ultimate mission is to provide users a well-rounded ecosystem online in which users can perform various activities in life without leaving the app.
Considering that Chinese people spend more than 4.5 hours per day on Wechat and the app’s admirably numerous functionalities, this is where any brand needs to be and capitalize on.
- Official account to update followers with content
- Creative HTML campaigns to engage customers
- Amazing tool for customer service.
- Services, packages, and prices uploaded for appointment booking or even online shopping
- Mini-programs open a paradise of possibilities to engage and convert customers.
Weibo: for Native Advertising Strategy
Weibo is the second most popular social media in China with 340 million active users.
Compared to Wechat, Weibo is a more “public” platform where users keep track of news, trends, viral contents or KOLs.
Thanks to its advanced search function, Weibo can be a source of useful information for you to identify what customers are talking about, key influencers and trending topics in your industry. With this information, you can adjust your content strategy as well as participate in conversations to familiarize your brand and build credibility among your targeted online communities.
This is also a perfect place to run KOLs campaigns or buzz marketing since it is easier for content to be viral on Weibo rather than on Wechat.
You can leverage refreshingly creative content, interactive events, and community influencers to generate word-of-mouth marketing and anticipation for the product or service you are about to launch on Weibo.
2.3 O2O specialist apps for cosmetic surgery
Medical cosmetology APP has the characteristics of accurate marketing, lower customer acquisition fees, and transparent information. Benefiting from the O2O technologies, the emerging medical cosmetology O2O platform is expected to become the primary source of traffic for plastic surgery businesses.
Since 2014, Gengmei, as the leading representative for the most medical aesthetic app in the market, is providing consumers with the generalized 4-in-1 platform: for the community, clinics, reviews, and services.
Founded in 2013 GengMei links consumers with cosmetic procedure specialists for advice, and says it has 36 million consumer users and 20,000 cosmetic doctor users in 2018.
It provides access to detailed information about different plastic surgery and beauty treatment services, from the price of surgery to the various risks and the time that the treatment will last.
Liu Di (right) and the website of his Chinese mobile phone app, Gengmei, which already has five million users. Photos SCMP Pictures
- The app is a social networking platform for whoever is interested in plastic surgery, allowing users to post photographs and share their experiences with others.
- The app also offers a range of other services including community management, e-commerce, and financing support for users looking to undertake surgery.
Recently, Gengmei has secured a large investment from photo-editing giant Meitu. The deal is set to create synergy between the two companies, which are both targeting a young and female-dominated user base. Using Meitu’s image technologies and big data, GengMei plans to establish a platform which can provide recommendations on aesthetic tips as well as the best clinics and surgeons for plastic surgery procedures.
Photo-editing app Meitu has attracted more than 350 million active users due to its ability to heavily touch up selfies to give its users the perfect porcelain white skin, pointy chin, and large, sparkling eyes associated with Japanese or Korean pop stars.
Like Facebook for plastic surgery, SoYoung is the largest of a handful of specialist social networks – dedicated to providing a platform on which clinics and doctors can find customers and its 30 million users can find like-minded people to share their experiences.
SoYoung now has more than 7,000 clinics and hospitals and 25,814 licensed doctors on the platform, which covers more than 95 percent of China’s cosmetic service providers approved by the authorities. By bringing thousands of clinics onto one platform, an app is a powerful tool for connecting small clinics hidden away in dingy shopping malls users that might be unaware of their existence.
The company sends staff to the 351 cities that it operates in to verify the qualifications of clinics and doctors applying to join the platform and to inspect how clean those premises are.
The app not only allows users to find nearby clinics and compare prices for different procedures but also to upload photos of their treatments for their friends to admire.
The ability to see ratings and comments by other users is also key to SoYoung’s success
By creating an online community for patients to share their experiences and rate clinics, beauty service apps are becoming trustworthy sources of information that helps consumers make better choices.
What you can do on these O2O apps?
- create your listing (detailed information of your clinic and services)
- join promotion campaigns offered by the apps to gain more exposure
- contribute quality and insightful blogs which are helpful to customers
- data analytics and insights drilled from the apps
- e-reputation management on the apps; be alert of your clients’ complaints and concerns
- location-based marketing
- KOLs marketing
2.4 KOLs is a powerful voice
Celebrity culture partly contributes to the boom of plastic surgery in this country. Girls want to look like their KOLs and they believe better appearance increases their chance of having a better career or relationship. The founder of a well-known surgery company in Korea said that it was not uncommon for Chinese tourists to visit their center and asked for a makeover to look like Fanbingbing or other Chinese media personalities.
However, in this industry, merely having KOLs mention or talk about you on social media will not have much impact since users are more interested in real success stories or hands-on experiences.
You can offer free packages to KOLs on simpler services to have them talk about their impression with your clinics such as considerate and professional doctors, very thorough consultation, proper facilities…
Work with us for more KOL marketing ideas in China.
3. Don’t miss targeted traffic from the search engine (the Most qualified visitors)
Like Google, Baidu has a huge reach in China with more than 80% of all online searches carried out here.
A combination of Pay Per Click Ads & SEO to rank in the search engine result pages can gain you a lot of quality traffic.
Even though Chinese clients now tend to navigate specialist apps mentioned above for information on plastic operations, you should still be visible on the Chinese search engine not to miss any relevant traffic.
FIND (REAL) EXPERTS OF THE CHINESE MARKET
You might need to get a quality guide, which is vital in order to be able to navigate the Chinese market.
We at GMA are an international team of 60 marketers, copywriters, publishers, and ad experts. We work in the plenty of fields beginning from branding, ad strategy to lead generation. We are willing to be our clients’ team in China and build strong and long term, serious relationships based on results and the achievement of clear KPI.
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- Please contact our expert team at GMA for more information on Chinese marketing strategy and how it can help your business.
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