By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
An email newsletter can provide a wonderful way to educate and engage your current and prospective patients. Thus, keeping you, your services and your products top of mind. It is also a great way to build your authority, differentiate yourself from your competitors, create anticipation for new services/products, generate more patient visits and even create sales on demand. However, the effectiveness will be fully dependent upon if your email newsletter is relevant, targeted, consistent and most importantly, valued by the reader/subscriber.
It has been reported that 99 percent of consumers check their email every day. In addition, 59 percent of consumers report that marketing e-mails influence their purchasing decisions. 1 So, e-newsletters can be a valuable and important part of your marketing strategy. Your success is even more likely because your recipients have chosen to give you their e-mail address. They have raised their hand at some point in their relationship with you and determined that what you have to offer is something they want or need – or at least worth further investigation. Of greater importance, this is a list of contacts/e-mails that you own – not strangers you are competing to get in front of via ever changing social media platforms.
Whether you have been considering sending an e-newsletter to your patients, or have been sending an e-newsletter and seeing very little engagement, it is time to ensure a return on the investment of your time and resources. Here are 5 tips for your e-newsletter success:
- Know Your Audience & Deliver What They Want…Consistently: In order to be successful, you must provide value. To provide value to your subscriber, you must know what they desire (and need) most. This is why outsourcing is often ineffective. In addition, you must communicate regularly. So how do you know what they want and how often should you send your e-newsletter?
You will know what they want based upon what they are asking you and your team every day in your practice. For example, if you are commonly asked about ways to improve posture, the best exercises for hip mobility, or top causes of back pain, this is what you should include in your e-newsletters. As for consistency, this can be a bit subjective but I recommend at least monthly but not more often than weekly so you can stay top of mind.
- Create a Simple Design with Creative Subject Lines: After reading tip #1, you may think an e-newsletter will be too difficult and time consuming. However, a simple (consistent) design will help ease the burden. Everyone is busy so you want to make sure your e-newsletters are concise, easy to read and identifiable with your logo and color scheme. You don’t have to get fancy. In fact, fancy can be confusing or overwhelming to many.
Choose 3-4 elements you want to include and consistently deliver them in the same order. For example, logo at the top, helpful article, exercise of the week (can be a graphic or link to a video you have on your website or YouTube channel), patient success story (with photo) and featured product/service or team member. At the bottom, you should include a way to unsubscribe if desired, your address/website and phone number. You can test these elements through your performance metrics and modify as necessary. There are many secure online software options with a variety of templates you can choose from to simplify this further and positively impact your deliverability and open rate.
Think about the e-newsletters you subscribe to and the e-mails you receive in general. Likely, you open the ones that catch your eye, look interesting and are from a trusted source. A subject line of ‘Monthly Newsletter’ is not likely to get much of a response. However, a subject line of ‘Best Exercise for Lower Back Pain’ or ‘New Treatment for Joint Pain’ will entice the reader to open the e-newsletter and read further.
- Balance & Leverage Your Content: Your e-newsletters should be about 90% educational/inspirational content and 10% sales related. If you create them with the intent to best serve the needs of your ideal current and prospective patients, your content will come naturally and your patients will want more. The sales part should coincide with the content if at all possible. For example, if your article is about the benefits of massage, you could easily include a way for them to schedule a visit for a massage or take advantage of a limited time 10% off the price of a massage coupon.
When it comes to content, leverage your efforts as much as possible. If you write an article, be sure to use it as a blog on your website and then link to the blog from your social media channels for added search engine optimization. You can also provide a way for people to share the article with others. You can even ask them to share it with anyone else who may benefit. If you create a video, place it on your website and/or YouTube channel and link to it from your newsletter and social media posts. Then transcribe your video and use it as a blog on your website. The more ways you use your content, the better. Over time, your online organic reach will grow as well as your total number of subscribers/patients. Of course, growing your e-mail list is important as well.
- Include a Primary Call-To-Action: As people get to know you and enjoy your newsletters, they will likely want to utilize your services and/or purchase your products. So be sure to let them know exactly how to do this. Do not include too many options though. Select your primary call-to-action (what you want them to do, schedule, purchase, share) and focus on that first. Sometimes you may have another call to action but if you include too many, it becomes confusing (or annoying) and as a result, no action is taken or your unsubscribe rate may increase.
- Measure Key Performance Indicators & Modify Your Strategy Based on Results: Nearly all e-mail platforms include automated metrics so you can monitor what is working well, and what is not resonating with your e-newsletter subscribers (and make changes accordingly). Here are some key metrics you should monitor every time you send an e-newsletter or blast e-mail along with benchmark percentages.2
- Open Rate: Percentage of total e-mail subscribers who opened your e-newsletter campaign (Average: 18%; Healthcare Average: 23.4)
- Click Through Rate: Percentage of the number of subscribers who click on a link or image in your email out of all the total emails you’ve sent, regardless of whether or not the subscriber opened the campaign. (Average: 6%; Healthcare Average: 3.4%)
- Click to Open Rate: Percentage of email viewers (those that open an email) who click on a link or image within an email. (Average: 1%; Healthcare Average: 15.6%)
- Unsubscribe Rate: Percentage of e-mail subscribers that opt out of receiving any further e-mails. (Average: 1%; Healthcare Average: 0.31%)
Another metric is the deliverability rate of your campaign. You want to be as close to 100% as possible.
Finally, it is natural to have some attrition of your list over time. Thus, it is very important to make sure you are simultaneously working to grow your e-mail list with people who would benefit from your services and/or products. There are many ways to do this but that is beyond the scope of this article.
In the meantime, be authentic, be yourself, be creative, involve your team, have fun and always approach your e-newsletter with a desire to serve your ideal patients. For when you do this, you will have a greater impact on your patients, more enjoyment for you and your team as well as added growth and profitability for your practice.
Karol Clark, MSN, RN is the best-selling author of How to Add Medical Weight Loss to Your Practice: 7 Steps to an Enjoyable Business, Healthier Patients and Increased Profitability and owner of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners www.BariatricBusinessBoss.com She has over 20 yrs. of experience working with surgical and non-surgical weight loss patients and assisting physicians build an enjoyable weight loss practice. She partners with Nutritional Resources (d/b/a HealthWise– www.healthwisenri.com) for creation of educational programs/articles for weight loss practitioners.
*Article first published in Chiropractic Economics Magazine 9-15-21, Issue #15 – https://www.chiroeco.com/tips-for-e-newsletter-success/