General events are passé. Valentine’s Day and holiday parties are predictable. Your patients have been there, done that. Set your practice apart by hosting smaller, uniquely themed events for a select group of A-list patients and their friends.

These VIP events are less like a grand opening and more like a velvet-roped private party. They require invitations, RSVPs, thank-you notes, and a five-star attention to detail.

An affair to remember often begins with an offbeat and intriguing theme. You might give a talk on beauty through the ages or hire a professional photographer to present Secrets to Creating a Great LinkedIn or Profile Photo, and have your aesthetician available to polish guests’ makeup before the photo shoot.

 Make Your Event Count

Every VIP event also needs a goal. If an increase in facial rejuvenation surgeries is yours, choose an event theme that would interest this patient type. One surgeon spoke on how the perception of eyebrows evolved from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. From tweezing a fine line, to Joan Crawford’s and Brooke Shields’ bushy brows, ideas about the “ideal brow” have not remained constant. He then connected this to a discussion of blepharoplasty and forehead lifts, and how brow shape intersects with your approach to harmonizing the face.

If your goal is to fill the surgery schedule during a predictably slow, low-revenue month, offer a fee reduction if the surgery is booked within a month of the VIP event. One surgeon ended up scheduling six blepharoplasties in the month—the same amount he had performed in the entire previous year.

VIP events take time to plan. For starters, choosing the guest list is not as easy as sending an e-blast to your entire mailing list. Curate the list by mining your database. Generate reports of targeted patient groups by running queries such as, “Who has referred two friends in the last year?” or target all your CareCredit cardholders to build your exclusive guest list.

 Appearance Matters

Aesthetics matter to the VIP crowd. Choose high-quality paper for printed invitations or an elegant alternative to printed invitations such as Paperless Post. Always send personalized “thank you for coming” emails within 2 business days. Mail a handwritten thank-you note on fine stationary within a week. And, 2 weeks after the event, compare the guest list against new Facebook page “Likes” and e-newsletter sign-ups to find out who has opted in.

Bigger is not always better, and more isn’t necessarily merrier. Set your sights on smaller groups, and you’ll improve both revenue and relationships.

Karen Zupko is the president of Karen Zupko & Associates Inc in Chicago. She recently presented on this topic during a CareCredit-sponsored webcast called “How to Host Events That Bring Real Results: The Dos, Don’ts, and Definites.” The full CareCredit “Special Events Kit” is free for enrolled cosmetic providers at