…is a weekly post where I select and personally respond to one question received from my consults, Webinars, emails or talks that I believe will help most practices. Please provide your feedback!

Ask Catherine

This Week’s Question:

Dear Catherine,

I’ve been in practice over 21 years. My staff has done a great job collecting emails from our patients so we can stay in touch. We have an email list of over 5,000 and we currently send out a quarterly e-newsletter to let them know what’s new in our office but my staff tells me we should send email more often than quarterly.

I don’t want to bombard my cosmetic patients with email so how often should we send out our messages?

– Dr. B

Catherine’s Answer:

Dear Dr. B,

I don’t have a perfect answer to this question.

It all depends on the relationship you’ve built with your cosmetic patients. Do they want to hear from you? You can easily tell that by reviewing the statistics available from your email carrier. In particular you want to track:

–   How many emails you sent out

–   How many were opened

–   How many responses you received

–   How many opt-outs or complaints you got

–   What revenues were produced.

Email Stats:

The latest email stats suggest you’re lucky to get an “open rate” of 25-30% so use that as your barometer. That means the other 70-75% of your patients are NOT opening your email. 98% of the responses will come in within 48 hours of you sending out the message so this is a very impulsive medium. And, of those who open your email, the response rate could be 1-2% IF the message is interesting and compelling.  Compelling means you are giving them a reason to call you now. And, here’s something important to remember, even though your patients may NOT be responding, they could be watching what you’re up to so you are staying top of mind so when they are ready for cosmetic procedures, they call you.

It’s all about content.

As long as the message is of value to the patient, they want to hear from you.  I personally would keep them short and sweet, interesting and compelling. Here are elements that work the best:

–  Introducing a new cosmetic procedure along with an introductory offer to try it

–  What’s new in your office with you, the staff, your family, your pets – personal stuff

–  Invitation to your upcoming events

–  Videos of you in the news or explaining a rejuvenation procedure

–  Cosmetic Patient Case Studies

However, the question is….How often is too often? 

Test it. Ask your list how often they want to hear from you. Even if only 2% of the 5,000 give you an answer, that’s a better gauge than guessing. In my own experience after sending tens of thousands of patient emails out for cosmetic practices, every two weeks seems to be the sweet spot. Less than that is too long and you’re not developing a relationship with your patients and more often can look like a nuisance to your patients especially if it’s just a barrage of discounts.

How often do YOU send out cosmetic patient emails?

What’s working best in your practice?

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