There are three problems with the average practice newsletter when trying to use it to achieve an increase in referrals and production:
1.) It’s hard to “get out” every month;
2.) The purpose established for the newsletter by the practice is usually not crystal clear; and
3.) 98% of the time, they contain precisely the wrong material.
Let’s work backwards addressing each of these challenges, starting first with the simple fact they most often contain material that is boring, dental related (hint: it should contain subjects your patients care about or are interested in, NOT just dentistry!), and just too corporate looking…in other words, they don’t properly reflect the personality of the practice or the doctor(s).
I’ve had the best success, which is measured in patient feedback and most importantly, REFERRALS (as well as my private clients’ success) with newsletters that:
1.) Are fun, exciting and NOT dull or boring;
2.) Contain office “gossip.” Patients like to know you all are human, plus, this helps build rapport and relationships on a different, more comfortable level;
3.) Look like they came from you…NOT some corporate-type memo or worse, the usual 11”x17” slick and glossy, full-color fold-out brochure-type mailing; and
4.) ALWAYS contain a very special offer for patients receiving the newsletter.
5.) ALWAYS contain REFERRAL CARDS with an incentive for BOTH parties (the pt referring and the new pt being referred).
Now, let’s address the “purpose” of your newsletter. I advise my clients that newsletters should be designed and created with the following thoughts in mind:
1.) It should be devised to maximize READERSHIP;
2.) It should be devised to maximize RESPONSE;
3.) It should be devised to maximize REFERRALS; and
4.) It should be devised to PAY FOR ITSELF if not many times over EVERY MONTH, at least cover its cost by generating additional revenue from special offers and mostly, by generating REFERRALS from existing patients.
Lastly, the #1 complaint I have heard over the years is that “They [newsletters] are a big pain to get done every month.”
There are several solutions to this dilemma. I would recommend:
1.) Creating 4 newsletters at a time and printing them all at once (this is called “ganging” – ask your printer) – which leaves just two questions to answer at that point: when to mail them and who to mail them to (mail monthly and mail to all patient head-of-households you’d like to have refer to you!). This process saves a TON of money in printing costs. PLUS, it forces you to be organized and plan your “attack” months in advance. Have a quarterly meeting to manage the content, mailing dates, printing and so on. Should take you approximately 60 minutes per quarter. In addition, have your newsletters “in-synch” with the monthly holidays. Downside is, this is a lot of work;
2.) Organize a 1- or 2-person committee that reports to you to manage the project. One person can handle the whole process of doing the newsletter from start to finish IF it’s broken down into weekly duties; and finally,
3.) Outsource. Be careful though. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a company to outsource your customized monthly patient newsletter:
A) Be sure you can CONTROL the content (to keep it from being too boring);
B) Be sure you can CONTROL your mailing list and update it without being nicked for doing so – it’s best to review and update it MONTHLY;
C) Be sure you can INCLUDE and CONTROL the piggy-back marketing – like the special offers to your existing patients; and finally,
D) Be sure you can include OTHER material with your newsletter – like patient gifts – pens, toothbrushes, magnets, referral cards, and brochures on new procedures you offer like Invisalign, ZOOM! and so on.
And finally, I would recommend sending a newsletter only as often as you want patients to refer to you…It’s the same principle my own dentist tells me, “Floss only the ones you want to keep.” In this case, just mail newsletters to those you want to keep and you want to refer to you.
For more information on my Butts In Ops (www.ButtsInOps.com) patient newsletter called, "News From The Office(TM)", click here.
You can also request a free sample package by going here.