Along with many other essential tasks, there’s a good chance that your email marketing efforts have taken a backseat over the last few months.
With practices scrambling to recover from limitations on their business due to COVID, coupled with the need to learn new ways of doing things (such as Telehealth), it’s understandable that other tasks have slowed or even stopped.
But, it’s been at least eight months since COVID hit. Time to refocus, get back on the horse, and make it count, starting with your email newsletters.
- Newsletters have an open rate of around 22% (or more), compared to only 6.4% of your Facebook followers who will see a post on your page.
- Email marketing offers a 4300% return on investment (ROI).
- 59% of consumers say that marketing emails influence their purchase decision.
- 59% of marketers say that email provides their biggest ROI.
In a previous article, we discussed the most important benefits of sending a regular newsletter to your email database covering:
- The positive knock-on effect for your website’s SEO;
- Positioning yourself as a thought leader in the space;
- Maintaining the client connection;
- Sharing information about your services;
- Building a relationship with potential and current clients (and even past clients).
They are all relatively straightforward and, reading through them, it’s easy to see how a newsletter adds value. But, if you’re thinking to yourself “those are all well and good, but surely there’s more benefit to be had from my email marketing efforts”, you’d be right. The added benefits may be a bit more subtle, but they’re just as important.
In this article, we’ve covered four unexpected benefits that you probably haven’t thought of to inspire you to get started (or restart) with a newsletter for your own practice.
Unexpected benefit #1 – Newsletters open a conversation
In other articles, we’ve covered how a newsletter helps you stay connected with your clients. It might not be completely personalised, but it’s a lot more doable than phoning your clients one by one to touch base.
But that’s not the end of the story. If you think of it like a tennis match, you’ve just served, and the ball is in their court. You can track that they’ve opened your email to read it, so you know they’re in the game. Now it’s up to them to decide if and how they want to respond.
By sending a newsletter that they’ve opted in to, you’re able to put your practice top-of-mind which has a number of potential outcomes. It may mean that your client will pick up the phone and make an appointment, it might mean that they forward your newsletter on to a friend if it contains something of interest, or it might mean that they reply to your email because they want to find out more about a service that you’ve highlighted. There are many different ways that a client could respond, just as there are many ways that your opponent might return the ball. But they’re not going to get the ball over the net if you haven’t even served.
Unexpected benefit #2 – Newsletters boost your knowledge
The content you produce for your newsletters not only benefits your clients, but it can also help your practice. Advances in healthcare mean that best practices change so rapidly, and it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest research. A commitment to producing high-quality content for your clients means that your team will carve out space to make sure that they’re up-to-date with cutting-edge developments which will, in turn, improve the services that you offer to your clients and boost your reputation in the community.
Unexpected benefit #3 – Newsletters reconnect you to your practice’s core values
One of the keys to successful marketing is to offer something that adds value and really helps people. The newsletters that you send out should aim to help those who receive them think differently about their condition, learn more about services that could help them, and, ultimately, leave them better off than they were before they read it.
For almost all healthcare workers, the Hippocratic oath is something to be taken seriously. It covers a few important areas (including a patient’s right to privacy and the sharing of knowledge with the next generation), but the most important is to treat the people who entrust you with their health to the best of your ability. We can lose sight of that in the busyness of patient schedules and piles of paperwork, but a few hours set aside every month can help you reconnect with why you became a healthcare professional and the reason you opened a health practice in the first place.
Unexpected benefit #4 – Newsletters pave the way for an improved service offering
Between the research that you do and feedback from clients that you get from sending out your newsletters, you’ll be regularly generating new ideas for services that you can add to your offering and ways to improve the services that you currently offer.
5 Tips to get the most from your newsletters
There’s no way around it, sending a regular email newsletter is a big commitment. So, if you’re going to be spending time on it, make sure that you’re getting as much value as you can:
1. Build an email database
The great thing about newsletters is that they’re completely scalable. The costs don’t increase much, even if you 10x or 20x your subscribers. You will get the best results for the work you put in if you reach more people. It’s a simple equation. Sending a newsletter has a cost, but the cost is the same (more or less) whether you send it to 5 people or 5000. But, clearly, the more people who are reading your newsletter, the more it is likely to generate enquiries and build the reputation of your practice.
To build your subscription base, include a link on all the emails you send and create an incentive for people who view your website to opt-in to your newsletter (it could be a free consultation or a guide download).
2. Set up a template
Whichever mailing program you use, whether it’s Mailchimp, SendinBlue, AWeber, or another mail client, most offer the option to set up a Newsletter template.
It will take you an hour or two to set-up but will make sending your newsletters a lot simpler. You’ll have a standardised layout and colour palette, and the template will also serve as a checklist of the different sections you want to include content for.
Your template might include:
- An introduction and links through to two new articles that you have posted on the blog.
- A profile of one of your employees, including what they offer, their background, and their hobbies.
- An overview of one of the services you offer to educate your clients.
- Any specials, packages, promos or discounts that you’re running that month.
3. Set up a schedule
Once you know what sections you want to include, you can set up a content and scheduling calendar. Assign tasks and deadlines, and make sure you have enough time to deal with any technical or content issues that come up.
A practice newsletter can be a team effort. Get your team to write their own profiles and send through a picture. This can be done a long time in advance, so when it comes to compiling the newsletter, you can just select a profile to share.
Article writing can also be done by different therapists. Brainstorm topics a few months in advance, add them to the content schedule, then assign a team member to write them up. If you’re run off your feet, consider putting one of your team members in charge of coordinating the newsletter.
5. Outsource if needed
In a busy health practice, it can be nearly impossible to find the time to send out a regular newsletter. If that sounds accurate, you could always outsource the whole process to a content creator or agency who will develop a strategy for the newsletter, come up with concepts for articles, set up the newsletter templates and even connect up social media channels to improve your reach.
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We’re huge proponents of email marketing, and we hear over and over again how Power Diary clients have used newsletters to grow their practice. Taking the time every month to share about industry trends and your services might not have an immediate, direct impact on your bottom line, but the benefits will be felt in all areas of your practice.