Generating a steady flow of new patients is critical to the success of your health care practice. A newsletter marketing program provides a highly effective way to reach out to other health care professionals—or directly to your patients. Marketing with newsletters may seem easy, but in my nearly 30 years of newsletter marketing experience, I have found that many health care professionals don’t achieve the success they seek in terms of new and repeat patients. Below are five tips to help your newsletter campaign to be as successful as possible.
1. Maintain high standards. Remember that your newsletter is a reflection of your practice—so it should be as professional and high quality as you are and reiterate your expertise. Your newsletter design should be attractive and should reflect your brand, incorporating the colors, fonts and logos you already use on your letterhead, business cards and/or Web site. And above all, have multiple people proofread your newsletter. Newsletters with errors will cause recipients to question your commitment to excellence.
2. Use a complete, updated mailing list. Whether you’re sending a printed newsletter or e-mail newsletter, you’ll need a solid mailing list that is both broad enough to reach your audience and targeted to attract the patients you seek. Many health care professionals distribute print and e-mail newsletters to out-of-date lists. This is ineffective and costly—10% to 20% of addresses on many mailing lists are inaccurate after one year. Be sure your list is updated at least on an annual basis.
3. Be consistent. Many health care practices that undertake a newsletter marketing program enjoy putting together their first issue. But by the second, third and fourth issues, it becomes hard work and often falls behind other priorities. For newsletters to be effective, they must be used consistently. If your newsletters are high quality and feature useful content, your readers will become accustomed to receiving them. They’ll even look forward to them. Building this loyalty takes time, but it’s worth it. If you don’t use a newsletter to stay in touch with your patients or referring health care providers, how will you stay in touch with them?
4. Measure your results. The only way to know how effectively newsletters are building your practice is to measure results. But this is a struggle for many practices. Your staff may ask questions about how new patients have found you, but these answers aren’t always recorded. You should have a formal, repeatable process. These data will be critical to planning and implementing your ongoing marketing efforts. eNewsletters generally provide significant analytics on readership.
5. Don’t go it alone. Newsletter marketing can be very hard, even tedious, work, especially amid the day-to-day pressures of running a successful health care practice. But there is help out there. When looking for a newsletter marketing provider, choose a long-standing company with a proven track record—and be sure that the newsletter articles have been meticulously fact checked and proofread.
Steve Klinghoffer is president of WPI Communications, Inc., a newsletter marketing firm. In the past 29 years, he has helped thousands of professionals market their practices through client and patient newsletters, referral-generating newsletters and Web site content. For more information, please call 800-323-4995 or visit http://wpicommunications.com.