Newsletters & Autoresponders
The Holy Grail of Free Marketing
The creation of an email newsletter for your office is crucial in building a successful functional medicine practice. Email is an easy way to inexpensively and consistently reach your patients and provide them with quality educational materials. This ensures that your message of health is constantly being delivered to them. It also creates a branding effect for your office. Keeping your name in front of them on a consistent basis makes it easy for them to think of you when a health problem arises. In my office, I have a pre-written sequence of newsletters. Every new patient begins receiving these on a weekly basis. Each newsletter consists of several health related articles that serve to educate the patient on health topics, but also to make them aware of services that my office offers that could help them.
Email Capture –
You should implement an email capture form that requires potential patients to fill in before your new patient forms can be accessed. The following pictured tab is at the bottom of my web pages (http://drpeterosborne.com/)
Once clicked, the following web page appears. The patient is then prompted to enter their contact information so that the new patient forms can be sent to them. Additionally, once you capture a patient’s email information, you can send them information about your services on a regular basis using an online newsletter.
The Online Newsletter – Inexpensive Advertising
One of the best marketing systems I use to get new patients and generate referrals is a monthly online newsletter.
In fact when looking at return on investment the newsletter is our best performing marketing system because it goes out to people who had already identified themselves as ‘having an interest in our services’ – prospects and patients.
An online newsletter allows constant communication at a lower cost (no more printing, stuffing, and mailing costs). Plus the results came quicker because there was no deliver time lag. Just hit send and your newsletter is sitting in your subscribers email inbox.
Today, the humble online newsletter is the ‘core’ of a good marketing system. It’s how you can reach out to thousands of patients, prospects, and doctors worldwide. I see a lot of doctors who offer an online newsletter, but I also see that most are doing it completely wrong. Some of the biggest mistakes I see physicians make with their newsletter are:
- The “join our newsletter” form is hidden and hard to find on their website.
- They give no compelling reason on their site to encourage prospects to sign up.
- The newsletter is inconsistently delivered or worse, never delivered. (btw, this is the fastest way to kill a relationship)
- The newsletter is way too pitchy, pushy, sterile, or desperate.
You see, a newsletter is all about relationship marketing. It’s about getting people to know, like, and trust you. It’s about positioning yourself as the expert, as the go to health care guru.
But there is a secret to making your newsletter work. The secret is in the writing. I’ll explain what I mean in a second…
Most doctors think that they need to make their business appear larger than it really is. So they give off the impression that they are a large corporation. They write very sterile newsletters that do a whole lot of nothing.
They always refer to “we” instead of “I.” Basically, they fail to build a relationship with their list and therefore miss out on a whole lot of business in the form of leads, referrals and repeat buyers. Look, people buy from people. Your greatest asset is you. People want to know that there is a face behind the business. They want to know, like and trust you. They want to feel warm and fuzzy about giving you their hard earned money. So when you’re writing your newsletter make sure to use these four elements:
1. Show your personality, your wit, and your character. Don’t be sterile.
2. Give good content and tips – and keep it interesting.
3. Use social proof like testimonials from existing patients who love your service.
4. Ask for referrals and make them compelling offers.
The difference between a mundane newsletter and a direct response newsletter could easily be the difference of five more new patients this month. So take the time to do it right.
The above is a sample newsletter that I sent out to my list. You can see the full newsletter with live links here. I recommend that you click on the different links to see how the newsletter takes people to my blog and products sales pages online.
What is an Autoresponder?
An autoresponder is an online program that is typically bundled with your email marketing software. I personally use a program called Infusionsoft. This online software allows me to capture patient and prospect information through the use of web forms on my website. As I collect and save names, I am actually building my list. Your list consists of all of the people who have given you their email and or contact information, and it is who you market to on a regular basis. The auto responder comes in at this point. You see, time is a precious commodity. An autoresponder allows you to pre-write emails that go out automatically to the people who give you’re their information online. You write the emails once and the program automatically sends them out for you.
With the right autoresponder program you can categorize your list by their interests. For example if a newsletter contains a link to an article about thyroid disease, you can tag the people who click the link and categorize them under “people interested in natural thyroid treatments”. As your list grows you can continue to categorize them by interests. This allows you to market more specifically to sub groups of patients/prospects and subsequently to target specific promotions to those who have already shown interest. I have arranged for you to try a demo test run of the software here <<<
The Autoresponder/Blog Cycle…
Functional medicine patients are educated. They have a strong desire to learn about health and wellness. Article writing serves as an invaluable tool to assist these potential patients. An important factor to consider when writing is the ability to incorporate the work into a blog on your office website. Writing articles on common health issues and posting them on your blog helps you drive more potential new patients to your office. Your newsletter can also drive patients to your website to read these articles. Often times you will find that your patients email your newsletter to their friends and family members. I have actually had new patients print out my articles and bring them in on their first visit. When asked how they found my office they reply by pulling out an article of mine. Sometimes the articles are several years old!
When your articles are good, other websites will link back to them giving you free advertisement. Make sure that your website has an opt in box where non patients have the ability to sign up for your newsletter. The more people that are on your email marketing list, the greater fan base and following you will create.
To view samples of articles from my blog, CLICK HERE<<<