August 8, 2012
How Patient Newsletters Can Boost Marketing Results
Updated November 10, 2014
Patient email newsletters are there to help you touch base with patients in a different, even more personable, way. It's something great that happens between doctor and patient when they're not thinking about getting a procedure done.
As such, newsletters are a great medical marketing tool for your practice. With so many possibilities for what to include in your email communications, it can be difficult to choose what to include and what to leave out.
With these 5 tips for patient e-mail marketing, you can build a better doctor-patient relationship, get more traffic to your web site, more activity on your social media accounts, and have more booked procedures as a result.
1. Newsletters are a Conversation Starter
Your patients probably already have an idea of what they want to ask you when they come in for their appointment. Use your newsletters as an opportunity to do two things that can help your medical practice marketing.
First, take note of what their questions are and then use them to construct your next patient newsletter. Next, use your newsletter as a means of informing patients about procedures they already want to learn more about.
Cover these hot topics in each newsletter to keep patients up-to-date on the latest advancements. While they are in your office, ask them if they've been getting your newsletters. If yes, ask them to tell you about what they like most and what they would like to see more of. It takes fewer than a couple of minutes to have the conversation, but the payoff will be well worth the time!
2. Ask for Patient Email Addresses Up Front
Always ask for a patient's email address when they come in for their initial visit and fill out their patient questionnaire and health information. If you have an existing patient who may not know about your newsletter, ask them for their email address (be sure to get their permission in writing).
Next, explain to them that your newsletter is there to educate them and to offer special pricing from time to time that is not available to anyone other than newsletter subscribers. This is a great reason for them to sign up for your newsletter! Using email communications to help increase your overall practice marketing ROI is easy, extremely effective, and will build long-term relationships with patients.
3. Using Newsletters for Patient Referrals
Most likely, a huge percentage of your subscribers are current or past patients. In that case, use your newsletters to inform them of your referral rewards available to patients who tell others about you. Use a subtle graphic image that clicks in to a special landing page on your site.
That page is crucial because it will contain focused information that is meant for increasing patient referrals and the rewards that you offer; no other distractions. This keeps every click to that page relevant to what you're trying to accomplish and thus increases the likelihood that you will get referrals.
Doing things this way allows you to assert yourself as the expert first, and then the doors are open for asking for referrals and announcing promotions.
Offer a way for patients to refer friends and family right from that web page, be it from social media sharing buttons, links to leave feedback for you on Yelp, Google Local, Vitals, or RealSelf, or even via a simple "Forward This to a Friend" link.
Extra Tip: Make your referral rewards and discounts stand out in your newsletters but don't let them become over-bearing (such as a huge picture with text on it). The point of this technique should be educating patients first, getting them to buy later.
4. Using Newsletters to Bring Patients to Your Social Media Accounts
Use your newsletters to get more activity on your social media profiles. You can run creative social media contests through your newsletter such as:
- A prize for the like, follower, fan, etc. when a certain number is reached. For example: "We're giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon for the 500th like on our Facebook page." Please note that you cannot run a contest like this through Facebook due to their rules. It has to originate from your email newsletter.
- Ask subscribers to click on the link to your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account list their favorite icon or celebrity quote.
- Do a poll in your newsletter asking patients: "Which of the following procedures would you get if money weren't an obstacle." Have a link that says "Click Here to Answer" and it can lead directly to the Facebook post you've already created on your Facebook page.
- Announce your "Favorite Fan of the Month" in your email newsletter as well as on your social media profiles. Let patients know that you'll be giving away "x item, procedure, or discount" for your next Favorite Fan of the Month. Really make it special by designing a custom graphic of balloons or party confetti with the fan's name name in large font across the picture.
5. Using Newsletters to Get Patients to Your Website
The purpose of building an email list is so you can target your "warm market". These are patients who have opted in to receive emails from you. Use this "in" to help drive traffic to your website! Think of imaginative ways to get more people to your site through your e-newsletters. Why not offer subscribers a Starbucks gift card for $25 for forwarding your newsletter to 10 of their friends and family.
Or, hold a drawing asking subscribers to nominate special ladies in their lives who deserve a makeover! Have that part of your newsletter take them to a special landing page on your site to prompt them to take immediate action.
Be sure to have a deadline for the contest to create a sense of urgency. Once they are on your landing page, ask them to put in the email addresses of their nominees so you can inform them that they've been nominated. Always include an opt-in where the person being referred has to opt-in to be nominated for the makeover and inform them that they by entering the drawing, they are also opting in to receive emails from you.
Be sure to offer all nominees a special prize or discount just for entering the drawing for the makeover along with their newsletter opt-in. This gives you an instant chance to connect with referrals in a friendly and open way. They won't feel like they are being sold to and you will have gotten what you came for: more referrals from patients!
Need Someone to Manage Your Patient Newsletters?
As part of our complete suite of medical marketing services, we handle all of the logistics involved in newsletter design, content, referral programs, landing pages, and social media promotion so that you can get back to running your practice. Call us today at 951.665.8360 for help.