July 16, 2019
General information and “open house” events have become passé. Valentine’s Day and holiday parties are predictable. Your patients have been there, done that.
We believe practices can stand out by hosting unique events that are offered to a small and select group of patients and their friends. These velvet rope events are an alternative to the open house or annual thank-you event. Although both have their place, a velvet rope event requires a completely different mindset.
What comes to mind when you think of a red, crushed velvet rope? Perhaps a movie premiere or a club opening? Or a private event? Velvet ropes are a soft and elegant symbol of the exclusivity that comes along with being in a handpicked, “invitation only” group. They symbolize a VIP experience.
To cultivate that feeling of exclusivity, don’t “invite everyone” by posting the event to Facebook or emailing all patients in the database. Instead, invite 25-30 of the right mix of guests to achieve a specific business goal. Influencers who could bring a friend who has similar interests, education, and income, for example. Or, those who’ve expressed specific procedure or service interests, or who’ve had certain procedures with you.
What you are doing is creating an experience that is selective and relevant to a highly targeted group. Not everyone gets invited. There is a certain cache to that – which of course means that everybody will want to come.
Velvet rope events have the following characteristics:
1. A specific business purpose and goal.
2. Limited attendance.
3. Exclusive – by invitation only, or invite-a-friend.
4. The theme, activity, content, or speaker is thoughtful and unique, as opposed to a presentation about procedures and products by the doctor and the aesthetician, respectively.
5. Fun, interesting, and not all about you or your practice.
We can almost guarantee that your competitors aren’t throwing events such as these. Use this fact to your advantage and you’ll become the practice that throws affairs that people remember.
Invitees receive mailed invitations on high-quality paper. They are called (not emailed) if they haven’t sent an RSVP by the deadline, and politely asked if they will attend and bring a friend. High-end clients and patients who’ve made significant investments in their appearance at your practice appreciate these touches.
Dare to Think Differently
The more offbeat and intriguing the event, the more people will remember you for it.
A physician on the West Coast throws several events each year to reward referrers and influencers. His patients range from artists and musicians to celebrities and venture capitalists. When a friend was launching his first book, this physician threw a fete in his honor. The invitation-only, cocktails and small bites party was held in the urban office space of a financial advisor (a patient), which at the time happened to be hung with a well-known photographer’s latest (and edgy) work. Guests enjoyed a book signing, a marvelous photography show, and ample space for conversation and connections. The physician’s one and only role was to be a gracious, gentleman host.
As you think about how velvet rope events could work for your practice, discuss these questions with the team:
How could you create an exclusive experience that will delight your guests and achieve your business goals?
What would the theme be? What would the business goals be?
Could you collaborate with other businesses or complementary aesthetic specialists, such as an aesthetic dentist or Lasik surgeon, or other non-competing physicians who offer CareCredit financing to their patients?
Do you know anyone who could speak on a topic other than aesthetic surgery, such as someone who speaks about various perceptions of beauty, or the curator of the local art museum?
With a few phone calls and a little googling, you will unearth some interesting options and local experts you hadn’t previously considered, but that would be very appealing to your clientele.
Here are a few event concepts to inspire you:
– 20th Century Perspectives on Beauty. One doctor gave a fascinating talk on how the perspective of eyebrows has changed over 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. Such a presentation could be integrated with a discussion of blepharoplasty or forehead lift, and how brow shape and current preferences intersect with the surgeon’s artful approach to harmonizing the face. With a little bit of research, this is a talk the doctor can assemble and deliver him or herself.
– “God Save My Shoes” This fascinating, one-hour film documentary explores the intimate relationship between women and shoes, and is about an hour long. Rent out a small local theatre or conference room in a boutique hotel and show the film. Host a physician meet and greet in the lobby afterward, with drinks and snacks. You might consider having the physician speak briefly about under-the-foot injections that can alleviate the pain that results from wearing high-heeled shoes.
– Make-Up Magic for Working Women. Invite a small group of your best injectable and skincare patients to hear a local make-up artist (if you don’t already employ an aesthetician with this skill), and bring a friend. You might ask the artist to give a presentation such as My 5 Top Makeup Tips for Professional Women. Ask several women ahead of time or staff to have their makeup done at the event. The rest receive the gift of a complimentary coupon for a service with the artist (negotiate a volume discount).
Remember: If you are going to take photos of guests at the event, make sure everyone signs a release so you can use the photos in your social and digital media.