Word Power! Newsletters Keep You Connected With Your Patients
by Dr. Len Schwartz, D.C.
Patients who love you and understand what you do and why you do it will refer like crazy to you. And referrals, as you know, make the best new patients.
One of the best ways to nurture a close relationship with your patients is through a monthly newsletter. Your newsletter earns you instant credibility, keeps your name (and face) in front of your patients, and provides the readers with life-improving information on a regular basis. The newsletter can be fancy, but I recommend a simpler approach. Just make sure it is laid out in a way that is easy to read.
Here are some things to consider if you decide to publish a monthly newsletter:
What will you say in your newsletter? I recommend you always include information on three different topics: news, information and updates about your practice; chiropractic health and wellness news; and marketing information.
• News and information about your practice. Share news about taking a seminar, new things happening with you or your family, hiring a new staff member, adding a new piece of equipment, new services, etc. Let your patients know about your continuing education efforts as well.
• Chiropractic health and wellness news. Always provide your patients with information they can use to get and stay healthy. Include chiropractic research that supports information about health and function, a particular exercise, vitamin or supplement or another aspect of their wellness.
Americans are hungry for information on how to live healthy, drug-free lives, without depending on medical intervention. We are the leaders of the wellness and holistic movement and you are in a perfect position to be the provider of this information.
• Marketing information. Announce your marketing events for the month. If you host a special health talk or a special event at your office, use your newsletter to let your patients know about it and invite them to bring a friend.
A. Print: Slick, four-color newsletters with pictures look good. But color and a sophisticated layout is no guarantee that your newsletter will enjoy a greater readership than one that is done simply.
The most popular word-processing programs (such as Microsoft Word) come with a variety of templates, including a template for a newsletter. If you don’t want to invest in additional software or newsletter services, use your word-processing program to get you started in the "newsletter" business.
Word-processing programs have their limits, however. You may want to consider purchasing a desktop publishing program, such as Microsoft Publisher or PrintShop. These are relatively simple to use, not expensive and offer more creative options. (You can use them to design cards, business cards, banners and flyers, too!) B. E-mail: If you are going to deliver your newsletter via e-mail, consider HTML format. This allows you to use graphics, pictures and color, and you are able to create a much more inviting publication. (Although, I admit, I receive some "plain vanilla" e-mail newsletters and I read them from start to finish! What matters most is content!)
Many of the desktop publishing programs allow you to create HTML e-mail without having to master HTML code.
Don’t want to go to that bother? You can always contract the project, or, use an online e-mail service, such as Microsoft’s www.bcentral.com. These services provide easy-to-use HTML templates and send out your e-mails for a monthly fee.
You can send your newsletter by mail and/or by e-mail…but I definitely recommend e-mail. It’s very inexpensive, instant, track-able, and you save some trees. And, you should always have them available in your reception and adjusting rooms.
Who should get it? Current, inactive and prospective patients. Also, when you give health presentations, collect mail and e-mail addresses. (Make sure you include a question: "Would you like to receive our newsletter and other periodic mailings?" in order to obtain opt-in permission to e-mail. This is important, for HIPAA compliancy, as well as to avoid being accused of sending out SPAM.)
You may also want to consider sending your newsletter to the local media, especially if you are in a smaller community.
Build up a database full of active, inactive and prospective patients. Send out your newsletter and "breaking news" and you will become known as your community’s wellness expert. You will find that newsletters stimulate referrals, reactivate inactive patients, and keep you connected with your patients.
Dr. Len Schwartz is a Fortune 500 trained marketer as well as the President and CEO of ChiroPractice Marketing Solutions,LLC, a marketing company that has been helping chiropractors build their practices since 1999. CPMS offers chiropractors over 65 turn-key, practicebuilding products and services, which nclude a fully research-based monthly patient newsletter. For more information, go to www.chiropracticemarketingsolutions.com or call 1-866-655-8502