1: VIP Program
Everybody in the medical spa industry knows the value of a loyal patient. The patient who is done shopping around, who only asks for your advice, and who tells all their friends about the procedures they’ve had done is priceless to your practice. Invest in your loyal patients with a VIP program. Patients love to feel special. For a small fee, patients can opt into a VIP program that gives them discounts on their treatments. For example, if Botox is regularly priced at $13/unit, VIP patients always get it at $12/unit, or $25 off each syringe of filler. VIP patients pay $149 up front at the beginning of the year and have access to lower pricing for the year. Similar to any other membership structure, you make your money back (and beyond) because they want to make sure their investment pays for itself by frequenting your office. And of course, when they come in, they are more likely to buy something else if you have an approachable and educated staff member at the front desk and/or in the room during their treatment.
2: Referral Program
***Please review your individual state rules and compliance before starting a referral program.
Investing in the loyal patient base is smarter than paying the high cost of acquiring new patients through traditional advertising. Have a referral program in place. The investment pays for itself immediately! For example, if a patient sends three friends to your practice, give her $25 per friend as a credit on her account. This is limitless. Be sure your providers are aware of the patients with influence. Teachers, hair dressers, and nurses tend to work with a lot of women, and they love this program. I’ve even had one patient refer 5 brand new patients to our office, resulting in an entirely free Botox treatment for her. She was ecstatic to have a free Botox treatment, and we were ecstatic to have 5 new loyal patients.
3: Before and After Photos
Before and after photos help in those inevitable moments when a patient is dissatisfied (reminding them what they looked like before is always helpful), but more importantly, they have showcased the work in a way most patients haven’t seen before, which sets you apart from your competitors. A typical injector can see at least 15 patients in a day, and with this fast pace, many practices do not take before and after photos, dismissing the idea by saying, “it’s just Botox.” Always take before and after photos. Using a password-protected, HIPPA-compliant app such as RxPhoto, which can be used on an iPhone or iPad, allows you to easily take before and after photos for every patient. It adds 20 seconds or less to appointment times, and best of all, patients are motivated to come back for their 2 week follow-up when their results have kicked in. Many of these patients do not require touch-ups, but while they are in the office, they buy skincare and/or other procedures. Never underestimate the power of good before and after photos. Patients love them! This is also a great time to ask the patient, “If I black out your eyes, would you be comfortable with me sharing this photo online? You had such amazing results, you’d be a great model.” RxPhoto has a simple feature that puts the before and after photo side-by-side, with a black box covering the patient’s eyes. You can easily share the photo on social media. While some private patients will deny the request, others are proud that you even asked. This lends to the next step for client retention.
4: Social Media Presence
When you have an outstanding before and after photo, and the patient grants permission to share it, POST that PIC! Post it on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and website. Prospective patients are always scouring the internet for extensive photo galleries, but even more importantly, your active social media presence will reach your loyal patient base. When a loyal patient sees a great photo while scrolling through their social media feeds, it often is just the subtle reminder they were planning to call to make their next appointment. Sometimes established patients will call and say they saw a post with a treatment they didn’t even know was offered! Instagram Reels are a great way to infuse humor with education on various procedures your practice offers. Social media is excellent for educating your loyal patients on the treatments you offer without having to worry about offending them with an upsell or a new treatment suggestion. Sometimes providers (myself included) feel reluctant to suggest CoolSculpting, for fear the patient will misinterpret the education as an insult to their weight. Or, perhaps feeling reluctant to suggest laser hair removal for fear the patient will misinterpret the information as an insult to their femininity. When it’s on social media, it’s not directed at a single patient, but is just neutral information that the patient consumes and subconsciously thinks about. It might not even be immediate, but if they are informed on what you offer as a practice, they will come to you when they are ready for that new procedure.
Whether it’s a “Cool Event” promoting your CoolSculpting machine, a “Botox Party” with live demonstrations, or an annual seminar open to the public for common Q&As, continually hosting events educating the community about the field is a great way to bring in new clients and reinforce your reputation as the expert in your area.. Additionally, these events are the perfect opportunity for existing patients to “bring a friend” that might be curious, which benefits both the existing patient and the new patient (see Strategy #2, Referral Program). Events can be promoted on social media (see Strategy #4, Social Media Presence). While social media definitely has an important place for client retention, real life events have much higher rates of conversion. Have your vendors pay for the drinks/food so your out-of-pocket costs are low. If your staff is excited and spreads the word, you’ll have a high energy, crowded event! Just in case there is a weather problem, or a low turnout, remember to utilize Facebook/Instagram Live and other social media platforms to stream the event, reaching people at home. Photos and videos of your event should always make their way to social media.
After 22 years, our practice continues to hold onto our loyal patients and grow, thanks to these strategies. Wishing you and your practice all the best in a prosperous 2024!