Electronic newsletters are an essential tool in your long-term marketing strategy.
By Lauren Whitson
BUILDING AND MAINTAINING STRONG, TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS with patients is the key to the success of any chiropractic practice.
With the evolution of technology, it is easier than ever before to open clear lines of communication between you and your patients. Email, websites, and electronic newsletters (or “e-newsletters”) are inexpensive yet effective tactics you can implement to efficiently communicate directly to your target market.
If your practice has a website, a registered domain, and if you use email, you likely are familiar with Web hosting to some degree. Web hosting providers supply online products and solutions that use the Internet as the primary means of delivery.
So explore the tool
s and features offered by your Web provider, and look for ways to build up the public’s awareness of your practice while saving money at the same time.
For example: An e-newsletter is one of the most efficient ways to share important information about health and chiropractic with your patients.
The e-newsletter may be an additional item available as a separate service, or it may be included in your hosting package for your website at no additional cost. Typically, implementing the e-newsletter tool on your website allows your online visitors to subscribe to your newsletter directly from the home page.
You can also have a signup sheet posted at your reception counter where patients settle payments. They can subscribe while in your office, and you or your staff then add the new recipients manually to the e-newsletter later on. In most cases, e-newsletter software is developed for the non- technical business owner; it can be as simple to use as editing and managing documents with a word processor.
Success by design
When putting your newsletter together, it is important to consider the goal you have in mind for your readers, whether they be prospective, new, or existing patients. Are you informing them of changes to your medical practice? Or, do you want to share the latest research on treatments for back pain?
The structure of your newsletter should make a positive impression on your audience and invite them to engage with you as a doctor. You don’t want to dissuade them from using your services. A balance of interesting content and relevant graphics or photos, assembled in a pleasing design can speak volumes about your practice and entice readers to go to you for more information and help with their medical needs.
Making it personal
Spam, or unwanted email, is a serious concern for many people and it poses a significant challenge to the effectiveness of your newsletter. As a result of the deluge of unsolicited and unwanted postal and email communications flooding mailboxes, people have become more inclined to block or ignore bulk emails.
But as long as you send your newsletter only to the people who want to receive it, you can keep this problem to a minimum. You can also address the recipient by name if the newsletter tool you use allows for the personalization of mass mailings, as this emphasizes that it was a requested mailing on their part.
Many newsletter tools only require you to enter a short code anywhere you wish within the newsletter that will put in an individual’s name when sent to their email address. It is best of course to double-check the exact method for doing this with your Web host.
Stick to the point
Keep your content short and on target. Organizing your text into different sections is more pleasing to the eye, and it allows readers to find information quickly. Also, when referencing another article or blog post, provide your own summary and opinion along with a direct link to the source material for interested readers to reference.
The personal touch
Some of your newsletter recipients might forget that their own doctor is the one constructing the emails.
Therefore, consider incorporating elements that help bring out your personality behind the emails. It’s a great idea to include employee bios — especially your own. In each edition, feature an employee of the office and list their hobbies, education history, and a photo.
Not only does this help patients remember the assistants and staff, but it builds a sense of comfort and security next time they visit the office. You may even consider a short paragraph or two in each newsletter about some of the extracurricular things you have been doing. This helps make your patients familiar with your practice in a way that cannot be accomplished by other means.
The newsletter can be a great way to show your patients that you listen and care about what they think of your practice. Ask for feedback at the end of each newsletter and provide readers with an email address to send in their comments.
Additionally, invite readers to submit questions that arise from the content they’ve read in the letter. This is another way to open communication with the people who depend on you for medical expertise and treatment. In each mailing, consider providing a question-and-answer section that addresses common questions asked by your clientele.
Creating a sense of excitement about your newsletter is a great way to encourage readers to look forward to the next one. With that in mind, include a teaser about what your next newsletter will be about, or hint at an upcoming special event you will be announcing soon. Patients will then be more likely to read both the current and upcoming e-newsletters.
Provide your readers with the option of opting out of receiving future mailings. This is a courtesy most people appreciate even if they originally showed interest in receiving information. If this option is not provided, users may resort to flagging the email as spam, which can negatively affect your ability to distribute future mailings as well as harm your public reputation.
Email providers may block your email account if they receive numerous “spam reports” from recipients. It is imperative that you receive direct consent from patients who wish to receive your newsletters. As mentioned earlier, a convenient sign-up sheet at your reception desk or on your practice’s website are the key methods for creating a distribution list.
Executed correctly, a well-prepared newsletter creates interest in and about your business and services. With the ability to easily control the newsletter’s content, you can ensure that your message is delivered and understood as you want it to be.