Some practices have gotten away from sending a monthly email newsletter to patients, a mistake that could cause your patient retention to take a hit.
Why Would You Send a Newsletter?
There are 5 main reasons why you should send a monthly email newsletter to your patients:
- Patient Education
- Patient Compliance
- Patient Loyalty
- Referral Generation
- Online Reviews
When a new patient comes to your office for the first time, it is important that you begin to educate them about what you do, why you do it, and how this can help them. This cannot be done in one visit, or a handful of visits, or even over several months. This is a process that can take a significant amount of time as someone begins to learn the ins and outs of your practice.
A newsletter is a useful tool for educating a patient when they choose to be educated. If your patients are sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon and decide to read your newsletter while they are eating lunch, you have a captive audience that you can provide valuable information to. More so, your audience has given you permission to teach them. When patients visit your office, there are so many distractions that they may not hear everything that you have to say. That’s why repetition of education through monthly email newsletters is important.
Another useful benefit of a monthly email newsletter is to encourage patients to comply with your recommendations. If you have recommended specific next steps, they should hear it again in a monthly email newsletter to help them comply with your recommendations.
It is important that you stay top of mind for your patients. If they haven’t seen you for a while, it is common for them to forget about the good experience they had in your office. A monthly email newsletter can remind them of who you are and what you do. It may even remind them that they need to come in for care or a checkup.
Referrals are an essential part of any successful practice. Seeing at least 50% of all your new patients from Internet marketing-based referrals is ideal. As long as your practice is growing, your new patients from internal referrals and Internet marketing should continue to increase.
A monthly email newsletter is an easy way for you to create opportunities for your current patients to share information about your practice. You can help patients become better mouthpieces for your practice. You want to make sure that your email newsletter contains both easy social media sharing and email forwarding options.
The last and maybe most important reason why you would want to send a monthly email newsletter is to ask for and make it easy for your patients to leave you a five-star online review. If someone opens your monthly email newsletter and you have a link within that newsletter that will take them directly to a page where they can leave you a positive review, that can have tremendous benefits for your search engine rankings and the overall reputation of your practice.
Remember, the majority of people who open your monthly email newsletter are fans of your practice. Who better to ask for an online review to help protect your online reputation than those who want to be educated about what you do.
How Would You Send a Newsletter?
I have used a variety of different services to send out monthly email newsletters. These are some of my favorites:
Each of them have advantages and disadvantages. I recommend you try out each of them to see which one will work best for you and your practice. All 4 have either a free basic version, or a free trial that you can try before you buy.
How Do We Know If It Successful?
According to MailChimp, the healthcare industry average open rate for email marketing is about 16.4% and the average click rate once they open the email is about 2.1%. We’ve seen practices have an open rate anywhere from 25% to 55%. It all depends on how engaged your patients are in your practice and your marketing, and other factors like who the email was sent from, and subject of the email, and the snippet shown.
Other metrics that you can track are:
- How many online reviews have we produced from the newsletters?
- How many new patient referrals have you received?
- How many social media shares your newsletter had?
- How many forwards your newsletter received?
On the other hand, it’s difficult to trace the full effects of a monthly email newsletter, such as patient compliance, patient loyalty and how educated patients are.
All things equal, an email newsletter is a great tool and if you’re not currently utilizing one, start today. Assign this project to a trusted staff member or hire an outside company to produce newsletters for you. The important thing is that you’re sending high-quality content consistently.