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I love email.  It’s efficient, versatile, and just about everyone uses it.  If done right, email can convey emotion, professionalism, and can strengthen (or quickly harm) one’s reputation.  I use email for a variety of purposes including personal communications, education and learning, professional communications, and even marketing.

Marketing with email is a slippery slope, and can as easily build a business as it can tear it down.  If not done correctly, email marketing can take the form of “spam,” or unsolicited mass distribution of a sales pitch or marketing message.

The good news is that email marketing done correctly can build one’s reputation and market appeal by offering genuine, unique information that is relevant to recipients, and in a manner that isn’t obnoxious or invasive.  This application is just the right fit for clinical practices, as by and large, we offer services to a fairly homogeneous group of customers (patients), all of which can benefit from scheduled updates, education, and information regarding their health.

Email as a marketing tool for private practices is efficient, cost-effective, and convenient for both the creator and the recipient of the marketing message.  Below are a few ideas for how to craft an email marketing campaign for any type of private practice, and here is a link to a great article about email marketing at the Small Business Branding blog.

  1. Add “Email Address” to your patient intake form, and a check box to “opt-in” to your email newsletter.  This is a quick way to build your distribution list and is a good point of conversation to patients as they become familiar will all of the services offered by your practice.  The likelihood of patients opting-in is much higher in a personal setting such as a healthcare practice than it is on a website.
  2. Use your email campaign to promote upcoming events at your practice.
  3. Notify your distribution list of community events and sponsorships that your practice is involved with.  This can help to increase attendance at these events, but most importantly it communicates the message to your audience that you are active in the community, and on the local radar.
  4. Provide links within your newsletter to resources outside of those offered only by your practice.  This builds credibility and adds value to the newsletter as it can be a means of educating your audience about information that can help them.
  5. Include a link that allows recipients to “ask a question” or otherwise interact with practitioners in a way that is informative and approachable.
  6. Include original content published by clinic practitioners so that your audience can begin to understand that your expertise is both broad and multi-dimensional.

There are hundreds of other ideas for your email campaign, and I know of no other industry where building a “community” around your business is as conducive as it is in healthcare.  Your patients most likely love what you have to offer, and by communicating with them on a regular basis through a simple and cost-effective email campaign, you are providing yourself with an easy way to strengthen your relationship with them, while providing them with value that your competitors may not.

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Tannus Quatre PT, MBA is a private practice consultant and principal with Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc., a national healthcare consulting and management firm located in Bend, OR and Denver, CO.  Tannus specializes in the areas of healthcare marketing, strategy, and finance, and can be reached through the Vantage Clinical Solutions website by clicking here.