Admit it...when you read the title of today's blog, you were immediately bored, weren't you? "Email Marketing" isn't fun or sexy; it's the gruntwork of running a business. However, when done correctly, it can be easy and extremely effective in bringing clients through your door.
The first piece of email marketing is actually getting email addresses. This isn't always the easiest thing; people get barraged with endless promotional emails all the time. You need to give them a reason to want to see your emails; ask not what your emails can do for you, but what they can do for them. If there is some sort of incentive in receiving your newsletter or online mailing, people will bite. I don't do a hard-sell on getting email addresses from clients. I casually mention that I have a newsletter that goes out once a month which features specials and events I'm offering, and if they get bored with it, they can just click on the unsubscribe. No one ever says no, because in those one or two sentences I have let them know that: 1. It doesn't go out often, so they won't be overwhelmed with mail from me. 2. They will get something out of it, and few people want to miss out on the opportunity of saving money. 3. They have an easy out.
So now, I've got their email address. As I said, I send out newsletters once a month (approximately). Now the goal is to get people to open and read it. Timing is helpful here; if you send out a newsletter on a Friday night, few people will bother to read it. I have found that I get my best open rates early in the week, on Sundays and Mondays. Generally my open rates are higher mid to late day than mornings. Rainy and snowy days are perfect times to email newsletters, as people tend to be inside on their computers more.
Actually creating a newsletter takes a bit of forethought. Most people put something bland in the subject line: "Specials," "Welcome To Fall," or something similar. Snore. When people see this, they immediately tune out. They know it's a generic greeting and it will probably be a generic newsletter. Utilize the subject line to connect on a personal level. My last newsletter subject line was "This is what you were asking about." I had previously had many patients ask about a specific event, and although the newsletter didn't apply to every reader personally, they felt drawn to know what I was talking about. Anytime you can use the word "you" in your subject line, do it. It will increase your open rate significantly.
Keep the newsletter itself short and sweet. Use pictures, if you can. Allow it to reflect who you are. People aren't reading these for fun; they want to get something out of it, and perhaps get to know you a little better. I've sent newsletters giving little details about my life, such as vacations or personal stories, and these have gotten more patients to reactivate than anything else. People choose your business because of who you are as well as what you do, and giving them a small glimpse of your life is often all they need as a reminder that they are due for a visit with you.
Now that they have opened your newsletter, read it, and decided to schedule something, don't give them a reason to wait. Make sure you have contact links EVERYWHERE in the mailing. Your email and phone number should be all over the place so they can't miss it. If you have online scheduling, make sure you set up hyperlinks so that they can just click and schedule. Provide links to your Facebook page as well, and also include links to any review sites you'd like them to visit.