All cosmetic surgeons want out of the discount game. Patients might be elated at the savings they enjoy from specials offers on services such as injectables, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc., but soon they start hunting for the lowest price. Some even delay maintenance treatments in the hope that you’ll discount the service in the next month.
A patient loyalty program may encompass monthly specials, but the goals and the strategy behind it are much more robust. Done right, they offer rewards and incentives to current patients without the “race-to-the-bottom” quality that daily deal and discount sites use to attract bargain shoppers.
A patient loyalty program fosters close relationships with repeat patients at your practice. It shows patients your appreciation for their business. It presents and reinforces the premium brand you’ve built through outstanding service and high-quality online and off-line marketing strategies.
And, most importantly, it generates more leads and cases from patients who already know what to expect from your practice.
How can your plastic surgery office or med spa achieve the same success? Here are 5 steps to create and maximize the benefits of a custom loyalty program.
Step 1: Make the Most of Your Brand Messaging
Many cosmetic surgeons, marketing managers, and other stakeholders toy with the idea of launching a loyalty program. After all, according to SmartBrief, more than 70% of customers “want discounts in exchange for loyalty,” and brands ranging from Amazon to Starbucks have extremely successful loyalty programs. Even major companies in the cosmetic space have recognizable loyalty programs, such as Brilliant Distinctions by Allergan and Aspire Galderma.
Despite these high-profile examples, the first thing to consider when building your loyalty program is what makes your practice different. Any provider can partner with Brilliant Distinctions, but Allergan gets the bump in name recognition and the customer data for future marketing; your practice does not get this same information when patients sign up with a third party.
Furthermore, patients can use Brilliant Distinctions and Aspire rewards at any participating practice. Just because a patient signs up for the program at your office doesn’t mean she will come back to redeem her points.
A unique loyalty program developed specifically for your practice, however, enables you to branch out with your marketing efforts. A custom loyalty program features your logo, your practice name, and information and assets on which you provide input. The loyalty program is a fully branded extension of your practice, designed to cultivate your current patients into enthusiastic ongoing business.
Perhaps best of all, most loyalty programs don’t start from scratch. If you have ideas for a loyalty program or previously tried this strategy in the past, an experienced marketing agency can develop a strategy with you, then handle the implementation and execution of the program itself.
You’ve had the inspiration. We handle the perspiration.
Step 2: Get Your Patients Excited
Loyalty programs succeed or fail on the enthusiasm of the surgeons, doctors, and staff. When you launch your patient loyalty program, it should be a cause for celebration. Cross-functional marketing such as promotional events, updates to your website, e-blasts, and more can help you keep up the same sense of excitement when interacting with patients after launch.
Unlike a regimen of monthly savings, loyalty programs foster a sense of belonging. Members feel camaraderie with each other, and they feel like they have a special, exclusive connection with your practice. They are more likely to interact with your practice on social media, attend your events, write a review, and – perhaps most importantly – tell their friends.
According to Startup Nation, “gaining a new customer costs between 5 and 25 times more than keeping an existing one.” Patient loyalty programs enable your practice to break down barriers to repeat business and earn an outstanding ROI on returning patients.
Patients who buy into a loyalty program have already spent money at your practice. Unlike bargain hunters, they value the relationship, not just the savings. The trust and confidence they have in your practice increases the likelihood that they will buy from you again and again.
Step 3: Entice Repeat Patients
No matter how enthusiastic patients are about your practice, they want to feel like they get their money’s worth. We advise cosmetic surgery, dermatology, and medspa clients to answer the following questions when conceptualizing the rewards for their loyalty program:
- What procedures and services align with your lead generation and business goals?
- What procedures are you known for among your patients?
(Hint: Direct patient feedback to your office and online reviews can provide insight on what people talk about when they talk about your services.)
- What procedures warrant repeat visits?
- Do these services and procedures have a high return on investment?
Your answers to these four questions lay the groundwork for the numbers and types of treatments covered by your VIP pricing. Unlike special offers and online coupons, loyalty programs encourage patients to participate in order to redeem rewards. That means building a program that makes it easy for patients to track their progress and receive notifications when they qualify for a reward.
The optimal solution for up-to-the-minute notifications for loyalty program members is an online app. Patients can download the app to their smartphones and see where they stand till the next reward. When they spend the advertised amount at your practice, they will be notified by email and/or text message that they have a VIP offer waiting for their next visit.
Digital loyalty programs enable you to push specials via text messaging. This allows your practice to drive additional business without waiting for patients to remember to check the app.
Step 4: Monitor Leads
You want to make sure that your office staff is keeping track of loyalty program signups and/or that your agency is reporting on leads generated through the program and the connected app. However, one of the biggest benefits of a professionally developed patient loyalty program is that it is essentially a turnkey operation after launch.
Patients who trust you and have experienced your quality of service firsthand are significantly less resistant than new patients to booking a repeat appointment. Loyalty program members actively look forward to their next visit, which means your practice can spend less on marketing to these patients while deriving higher ROI on the services they select.
The plastic surgeon said the program results in patient retention, as well as loyalty:
"They pick what treatment THEY WANT, and they pick what amount THEY WANT to save ❤”
Cultivating committed, loyal patients enables your surgeons, doctors, and clinical staff to spend more time in the O.R. or treatment room and less time supervising marketing and lead generation campaigns. Your marketing agency handles the creation of collateral, the marketing, and the management of the program so your in-house team can focus on the day-to-day job responsibilities that drive your revenue.
Step 5: Diversify Your Patient Base
Referrals make up 50% to 70% of business at most cosmetic practices. However, many cosmetic surgeons, doctors, and med spas focus their marketing on generating more new patients. While it is always desirable to bring in new patients, such a strategy creates a vulnerable position: every market has a saturation point.
By driving more business from existing patients via a loyalty program, you can avoid running up against the saturation point in your market. What’s more, the attractive perks of your loyalty program are a way to build inroads with patients who are just starting to invest in cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery.
Younger patients are your future bread and butter.
Millennials don’t try to hide their cosmetic regimen like previous generations. They are passionate about maintaining their appearance, whether that means breast augmentation or body contouring, injectables or premium skin care products. Many of these younger patients consider cosmetic treatment appointments as something commonplace, akin to a haircut or a manicure.
Millennials are also one of the first generations to spend a majority of their personal and professional lives on the internet. They expect to build genuine relationships with the businesses they buy from, rather than simply patronizing a retail space.
A loyalty program incentivizes the repeat customer mentality of younger cosmetic patients, and it provides patients a way to feel connected to the plastic surgeons, doctors, and staff providing their treatments.
Patients who are referred to your practice typically convert at a higher rate, spend more money at your office, and are less likely to quibble over prices. Imagine, then, the quality of patients who have literally put their money where their mouth is by joining your loyalty program.
The time is ripe to engage receptive patients and convert them into loyal customers, but the door for early adopters won’t stay open forever. Forward-thinking plastic surgeons, cosmetic doctors, and med spa staff are already enjoying closer relationships and more business with custom loyalty programs and apps.
Act now to find out how Page 1 Solutions can help you design, implement, and manage a unique loyalty program for your cosmetic practice. You can also learn more about the Love My Doc app, a personalized digital loyalty application that keeps your rewards program at patients’ fingertips wherever they go.
Our experienced marketing team is ready to take your previous loyalty program ideas and assets to the next level.
Call 303-233-3886 today for a free evaluation of your website and marketing. Our agency provides comprehensive marketing services to plastic surgeons, cosmetic doctors, medical spas, and other aesthetic practices.