As the internet and technology continues to change the way we do business, more and more practices are using email newsletters in lieu of print-outs. A physical newsletter is still a fantastic way to reach out to your community, but there’s no denying the convenience of an e-mail when it comes to mass communication. Whether you’re wanting to share updates about your practice, provide information and education, ask for referrals and reviews, or simply keep your practice top-of-mind – a newsletter will be a great tool.
One thing to know, is that if you don’t plant the seed, nothing will grow. Creating a quality newsletter and building a database of readers takes time, patience, and a bit of investment on your end. So, to make the process as smooth as possible, here are some tips you need to know to get started.
What makes a great newsletter?
A good newsletter should represent your practice and team at the highest level, as well as communicate your distinct branding and positioning. What makes your practice different? The essence of your practice should be tangible in every newsletter you send out.
It’s also important to consider the purpose or objective of your newsletter. What are you trying to achieve? It might be to request Google reviews, or to notify your database of changes to your opening hours, or to deepen your relationship by sending some holiday season wishes. Get clear on the purpose, otherwise it’s a waste of both yours and your reader’s time.
AHPRA compliance and email ethics
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that remaining AHPRA compliant is of the utmost importance when it comes to any marketing or advertising activities – and a newsletter definitely falls within this category. There’s little point in spending all that time and effort in creating a newsletter only for it to get shut down!
You also need to consider how you go about collecting the e-mail addresses of people to form your database – as well as gaining their consent to send e-mail communications. Do you run lead generation campaigns in order to get people to opt-in? Are there areas on your website where people enter their details? Do patients give their email addresses when they make an appointment?
And, of course, you need to ensure you have some form of opt-out or unsubscribe option in every newsletter. Even if clicking through takes them to a page where you ask them why they’re unsubscribing or if they want to adjust their preferences – this can be a great way to get a little feedback in the process. Failure to include this is a big violation of advertising law, so don’t risk it!
An effective workflow
Adding a newsletter into your marketing mix will mean a couple of changes to your workflow. You’ll need to select someone to write the newsletter (whether inhouse or you contract a writer), someone to approve and oversee the content, and someone to schedule and publish.
Whoever writes your newsletter needs to have a deep understanding of your practice and your brand. You simply can’t have someone communicating to the public if they’re going to be sending the wrong messages or even compromising your reputation. Choose someone who is knowledgeable, writes effectively, and is extremely aligned with your branding and values.
You’ll also need to select a publishing platform. There are many out there, such as Mail Chimp, Active Campaign and SendInBlue. They’re all different in terms of the kinds of graphics and capabilities you can build into the newsletter, how you’re able to segment your database into patient avatars, and the cost of using the service – so ultimately you’re best off doing a bit of research and finding the service that’s most specific to your needs.
Finish with a Call To Action
Every effective piece of marketing should finish with a Call To Action, or CTA. The CTA will depend on the objective of the newsletter and your patient avatar, but it’s important to always be thinking strategically about where you want to send the traffic next.
If you’re asking for reviews, your CTA will obviously be to ask for reviews. If it’s a more informative piece of content about a procedure, your CTA could be to link them to a page on your site about how you perform the procedure.
You’ve worked hard to grab their attention – don’t lose it just because you forgot to put a CTA!
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