By Maria Higgins, OD
July 19, 2017
E-mail, along with text messaging, is a key way patients communicate. Sending regular e-blasts to update them on your practice’s products and services is a no- to low-cost way to market your practice.
Here are three simple e-mails that you can use as a model to market your practice. All of these e-mails were successfully implemented at my former practice, Unique Optique, in Frederick, Md. I sold the practice over a year ago, and now own a marketing consultancy company, The Unique Technique, helping other small businesses achieve success, including helping them create and implement e-mail marketing campaigns.
The effectiveness of marketing campaigns can sometimes be hard to gauge. Whenever we wanted to track the effectiveness of an e-mail, we added a “bring this in for x” line that encouraged recipients to bring a coupon included in the e-mail in for a discount. In the case of one of the e-mails highlighted below, the “miss you” recall e-mail, we sent it to maybe 100 patients, and had four bring it back to the office for their discount.
Monthly e-newsletters keep your patients informed and interested in your practice. You can use e-newsletters as invites for trunk shows, practice anniversary parties, art gallery openings, or just to let patients know when products, like a new brand of frames or contact lenses, arrive in your office.
Use an automated patient communication system to send your e-mails. These communication systems typically have ready-made templates for you to choose from. You can use the same template, with the same colors, practice logo, heading and other features, so patients instantly recognize it’s you, and see your branding.
You want your e-mails to have a recognizable feeling to patients, which ideally carries over into your in-office branding. For example, you could use the same colors for your e-mails that you decorated with in your office, and the practice logo that appears in the e-mail should be the same as the logo you use in your office, and in other marketing pieces.
Monthly fees for automated communication systems can be as low as $10 per month, to just create and send e-mails, or $300 per month for more advanced services that include analytic reports about your e-mails. You should be able to see your open rate, meaning how many recipients opened your e-mail, so you know what messaging works best.
Here is an example of the template we always used for our e-newsletters:
Reactivation E-Mails: “We Miss You”
We did a “Miss You” reactivation e-mail, of which I was proud, mainly because it made me giggle every time I thought about it. We had many people bring in a printed copy of the e-mail for the discount it offered, and to say that it made them laugh, too.
Our patient base was progressive, and not adverse to creativity. If that sounds like your patient base, you have the freedom to have a sense of humor in the e-mails you send to “reactivate,” or get patients, who haven’t visited the practice in more than a couple of years, to visit for another exam.
Be sure to remind patients not just of your services and products, but of the spirit of your office. In our case, that meant sending an e-mail that made patients remember the casual, fun atmosphere we created.
Here is the reactivation “miss you” e-mail we sent:
Survey Patients & Update Them on Results of Feedback
We e-mailed regular surveys using SurveyMonkey. We got a lot of feedback and valuable information. We sent out the e-mail with the survey, as well as an e-mail with the results, a few weeks later. Patients loved hearing what the results of the survey were, and they loved watching the changes happening in our practice as a result of their input.
You can make the most of surveying your patients by e-mail, by always letting them know the results in a later e-mail, and updating them in your e-newsletters of the improvements implemented thanks to their feedback.
Here is an example of an e-mail we sent patients updating them on the results and changes we planned to make:
Click HERE to read more about improving e-mail marketing.