Aesthetic Medicine
Aesthetic Medicine


Ask Alex


A: You’ve got a busy clinic with an opted-in email list and you’re sending out news and updates – fantastic. A low open rate means that those subscribers aren’t getting the value inside, indicating that what you’re delivering to their inbox isn’t quite good enough. The beauty and personal care industry average open rate is 16.7% 1 , for reference. Some of our clients regularly achieve 40%+.

Cleaning your email list of inactive subscribers (those that haven’t clicked an email from you in 12 months) once per quarter is email-marketing best practice. You’ll get a more active list of only interested parties and a better view of the health of your email marketing. Maybe they’ve stopped using that email address, or they’re just not interested in your services anymore. With most email software, you can send a “win back” email to give them one last chance to stay on the list with a simple message and click of a button to reaffirm their subscription.

It may be time to segment to send more relevant messages. You can segment your email list into age groups, by gender or by treatment history. While making emails for each part of your database may take longer (this can be helped by templates), the return on investment should be higher in theory, as each segment only receives information about appropriate treatments. For instance, currently, are your patients in their 20s receiving information about nonsurgical facelifts, or are you talking to your male patients about female intimate health treatments?

In every email, make sure you write a killer subject line and preview text. Gone are the days when everyone opened every email they got, so an intriguing headline (I often include an emoji in this) and preview text is key. Rather than “Bugg Clinic’s November Newsletter”, try something new and targeted like, “Georgia, how we’re helping patients with rosacea today”.

Design for mobile-first; don’t forget that most people now check their emails on the go and this accounts for up to 80% of web traffic. An email may look great on your laptop, but if it doesn’t re-size nicely, you’ll lose the scroll of the reader. If they can’t read your first few emails, are they going to carry on opening them?

Keep your emails out of spam filters. Lists of spam-triggering words and phrases are available online, and these include “buy now” and “free”. Make sure you’re sending through an IP address that hasn’t sent lots of spam in the past, and don’t forget to make it easy for people to unsubscribe. The website is a helpful way to check your campaigns before you send them.

If you write as if you’re talking to a single patient, the email will feel much more personal. You can use merge tags to personalise the “To”, e.g. “To Alex”, and have the “From” field as your name, not the business name. The tone of your writing doesn’t need to be formal and businesslike; a relaxed voice, not pushy or corporate, will make the messaging better, and once someone likes reading your emails, they will continue to open them.

Deliver value time and again, making people sure your emails are worth opening. Don’t just send “buy this now”-type offers, as they get tedious (and you’ll soon run out of offers). Educating and inspiring patients across various treatments and products encourages sales without coming across as sales-y. The return on investment with email marketing is high, so if you haven’t already, get started and optimise your open rate.


A: Implementing tactics for patient retention, whatever the size of your clinic, is a must. Referral schemes and loyalty schemes are two options. Especially for start-up clinics, word-of-mouth referrals are one of the best ways to earn business. Great results combined with exceptional customer service keeps patients coming back to clinic, and satisfied patients share this with others.

Formalising the process of referrals by launching a referral scheme is news that you can share with your current patient database on your website, email marketing and social media. Honing in on the ideal referral rewards for both current and inbound patient is important. You need to make it worth their while, but also not lose money in the process.

Examples of rewards for new and retained patients could include:

• Gift cards for non-prescription treatments for both parties

• Discounted or free skincare products

• Invitations to VIP events

• Concierge service for treatments

• Free consultations if usually paid

• Stackable benefits for more referrals

Referral schemes can be digitised too, with unique links that are sharable generated by certain marketing software.

A loyalty scheme is just another marketing tactic to improve the patient experience and increase spend over time. You could run it physically using tracked spending, or digitally using software.

Some clinic software lets you build loyalty programmes into the database, or you can monitor it yourself, but I’d always recommend automating where you can. If you want to go down a stamp-card route, such as “Every sixth facial free”, these can be on a physical card or on an app. Rewards can be redeemable as cash spend, or offer the benefits as mentioned.

Tiered rewards schemes – good examples include Hilton Honors and the revered Harrods Rewards Programme – offer perks of increasing value for the biggest spenders. Patients may feel compelled to work their way through the tiers if you make the rewards valuable and coveted enough.

It’s not a case of having one or the other – having both schemes available, if they are cost-effective and straightforward to manage, is an excellent tool in your wider marketing strategy and may well result in happy, loyal patients.



Alex Bugg works for Web Marketing Clinic, a familyrun digital agency, which specialises in medical aesthetics. They build websites and deliver marketing campaigns for doctors, nurses, dentists, distributors and brands. Contact her: alex@ webmarketingclinic. or follow her on Instagram: @webmarketingclinic

This article appears in the November/December 2021 Issue of Aesthetic Medicine

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This article appears in the November/December 2021 Issue of Aesthetic Medicine