Newsletters can be a great marketing tool — if they’re done right. If not, they can be a waste of hard-earned money and energy. If your office is not already sending a newsletter to patients, you should consider doing so. If you do send out a newsletter and aren’t getting positive feedback from patients, you need to take a closer look at your newsletter… you may need to make some changes.
Newsletters personally written by the office staff have a high chance of being successful and well-read. Although some staff members may think contributing to an office newsletter may be too time-consuming, a newsletter does not have to be in-depth to be effective. The biggest requirement of a newsletter is that it should connect the patient with the office. Even a one-page newsletter from your word processor is a good start.
Following are suggestions for creating a personally written newsletter:
- Inspire confidence in your patients. Confidence and belief are of utmost importance to the future of your practice. They come into play in virtually every aspect of your practice. Write articles about patients’ recovery. Ask patients if you can print testimonial letters they have written. A letter from or about a patient gives you credibility, and it encourages other patients who are having difficulties. Include a picture of each patient you are writing about (with the patient’s permission, of course). You may want to title this regular feature: “V.I.P. of the Month” (Very Important Patient).
- Educate your patients. An article written about a certain aspect of your practice is a valuable part of your newsletter. This article should not be technical. For example, you could talk about headaches and how chiropractic care can help. Patients who didn’t realize you treated a certain health problem may ask you about the treatment, or they may even pass on the information to potential new patients.
- Entertain. If your articles are not interesting and engaging (even a little humorous, when appropriate), your newsletter will go unread. Tell patients more about yourself and your office staff in your newsletters. You would be amazed how many patients don’t know anything about you. Each staff member should be introduced, including the doctor. Ask all of your team members to write a few lines about themselves.
- “Bond” with your patients. Believe it or not, patients bond with you through your newsletter. Keep your patients connected with you, your staff and your practice. Patients tend to stay with you when they feel personally attached.
- Sell… sell… sell. Your newsletter should not appear sales-oriented, but every article should be designed to subtly “sell” your practice. If you print an article about a patient’s successful treatment, it is meant to let others know that you can successfully treat all kinds of conditions. You would be surprised how many people think you only treat what they come in for. Don’t take anything for granted. You should use the newsletters as an opportunity to educate patients about the scope of chiropractic care, as well as ancillary products and services that you offer. For example, if you print an article about a particular condition, such as depression or sleep disorders, make sure you recommend related nutritional supplements. If you print an article thanking everyone for their referrals, that’s a means of stimulating more referrals. Believe it or not, not all patients realize you’re looking for new patients unless you tell them. You do not have to be a high pressure office, but you can sell your practice by simply educating your patients.
- Have fun. Consider having some sort of contest in every issue of your newsletter. Your first contest could be a “name our newsletter” competition. You’ll come up with other ideas as you go along.
- Getting the word out. Make sure you mail your newsletter to all your active patients, your inactive patients, area businesses, primary care physicians, health-food stores, gyms, relatives and friends — and just about anyone else you want to know you exist. You will be amazed at the response you’ll get.
The best way to monitor the success of your newsletters is from the comments you get from your patients, as well as keeping track of whether new patients heard about you through your newsletters. Chances are, the newsletters will get people talking about your practice and the services you offer — and isn’t that what marketing is all about?