By Joyce Sunila

I’m hearing a lot about patients who abandon their cosmetic surgeons to take advantage of other doctors’ discount offers.

This feels like treason, but loyalty must be earned — not expected or taken for granted. Many of the same doctors who cry foul when they lose patients to Groupon, Living Social, or other group discount sites should take a closer look at their marketing material. Their brochures are generic with a logo slapped on, and their e-newsletters are automated. The latter are the biggest offenders because newsletters are supposed to be about patient retention or loyalty.

Automated email programs allow the doctor to log on to a website, choose a few blurbs about standard cosmetic procedures, insert them with some photos onto a template that matches their website, and then send them to patients. Total cost: maybe $200. (The typical office floral arrangement costs twice that.)

These newsletters have “commodity” written all over them – third-person voice, no point of view, with zero sincerity. The information is regurgitated from women’s magazines and manufacturer websites.

If you want your patients to appreciate how special you are, send them something special. Something that:
• Sounds like you.
• Shows you care.
• Belongs in a personal place like their In-boxes.

Your message should not be self-serving. It should be about something other than your services that can help them attain their goals. Things like:

• Health tips or easy recipes;
• Alerts about cosmetic scams;
• Links to TED talks about the latest anti-aging research; or
• Links to funny, reflective stories, and the like.

See the world from their point of view. Send something they’ll appreciate, and you will earn their loyalty.

Joyce Sunila is the president of Practice Helpers, providing e-newsletters, blogs, and social media services to aesthetic practices. You can contact Joyce via [email protected] or visit the Practice Helpers Web site at