July 1, 2010
Part 1: Building a Profitable Email List
Updated November 7, 2014
It drums up visions of green, mucky water that smells bad and sits around gathering bugs; the water isn’t going anywhere…and that’s the problem.
Stagnation in your plastic surgery, dermatology, or cosmetic dentistry practice is as destructive to the inflow of patients as stagnant water is to our freshwater drinking water supply.
In order to get your practice to grow, you’ll need to give your patients some TLC. Here are some pointers on how to accomplish this growth through a patient email list.
Existing Patients Are More Profitable Than New Ones
First and foremost, make a schedule for contacting your existing patients. They should not receive the exact same email newsletter as other people on the list. Why? Because they have already put their trust and investment into you and your practice. As a result, reward them with special offers only valid for existing patients.
Be sure to also check in with them from time to time with personalized postcards, handwritten by your staff. Tell them something like "We've been thinking about you and hoping that you're enjoying the results from your (procedure name here). If you have any health concerns or questions, please call us anytime at (phone number here). We look forward to speaking with you soon."
This goes above and beyond what they're expecting and you'll make an instant reconnection with your patients!
Next, Concentrate on the Rest of Your List
On your web site you should continually gather a list of email addresses. Your website should have an easy-to-find opt-in area where you clearly state the advantage to your visitors for signing up.
These incentives can include special discounts on cosmetic surgery procedures as well as being the first to receive cutting-edge patient education information. Have a page on your site dedicated to explaining what they will get with each newsletter and give them an example screen shot of one of the newsletters.
This will show them what they will be receiving and better qualify your email list so that only those who really want to hear from you will opt in.
Use Face-to-Face Contact to Your Advantage
Within your physical practice, you and your staff should be gathering both email addresses and mailing addresses from your in-person consultations and patients. Be sure your staff asks for permission for this, have the person fill out a short form giving you permission, and have a printed card ready to hand them in case they know anyone who they think would also like to receive discounts on services.
To manage your email list in-house, be sure that you have an automatic program in place that can opt-in patients as they choose and can opt them out if they want to unsubscribe. These programs, such as iContact or AWeber, will comply with Federal CAN-SPAM Laws...and that's the best way to conduct business, always complying with requirements for business-related email.
How Often Should You Email?
These lists are invaluable to your practice and vital to its success! You should aim at sending out two email newsletters per month to the people on your email list. Providing them with valuable, educational information and resources online (with links back to your web site, top blog articles, and social media accounts, of course) will get them interested in your services and cause them to click through to your site.
You can have your webmaster or web designer create a special “landing page” or “squeeze page” for each offer you are promoting. Then, you can better measure the success of each of your email campaigns. Send out a "non-responder" email one week afterward to those on you rlist who never opened your email (and change the subject line to test out a new one!).
To read more, please see part 2 of this two-part series on the profitability of building a patient email list.