They take time, so make the time you take count!
Here are my 10 top tips to make your patients newsletters attractive and effective:
Show you care
One of the fundamental reasons for producing a patient newsletter should be to educate your patients.
When you include articles on how they can improve their oral health, refine their homecare regime, safeguard their children’s teeth as they grow, you show your patients you care. And this promotes patient loyalty and goodwill towards your dental business.
So make your newsletter of real value to your patients.
A great way to do this: when there is a prominent dental-related report in the media – such as the recent BBC story on NICE’s report about tooth decay in children – you can take the opportunity to provide associated recommendations and tips. So in the case of the NICE report, this would be to provide advice to your patients on how they can avoid their child becoming the ‘one in ten’.
Generate new patients
Your newsletter can help generate new patients. So treat it as an exercise to market to potential new patients too.
An effective way to encourage them to choose your dental business without coming across as overly ‘salesy’ is to TELL A STORY.
Marketing is all about telling a story. Think about the stories you are creating for your patients every day. Not just the obvious aesthetic cases where you are making their teeth whiter or straighter. These all count of course, but stopping gums bleeding and halting gum recession helps create a real difference for patients too.
Include photos and named comments from your patients, so readers know they are real stories. This represents strong and effective third party endorsement for you.
You can also send the newsletter to your lapsed patients as it may encourage them to come back to you.
You can even post copies in your locality to increase awareness of your practice and possibly get new patients that way.
Increase awareness of treatments
When I ask dentists whether all their patients know about all their services, the answer is typically no! So make sure you promote your new and existing treatments and services. Don’t assume your patients will already know about them.
This is best done via patient stories of course (see point above).
Support your current patient ‘campaigns’
Wondering what you can include in your newsletter?..
Consider your current patient strategy. What are you trying to communicate to them at present?
Perhaps you have identified that you have patients who could and should see your hygienist but are not currently. Include an article on the benefits of hygiene care. This helps to increase revenue per patient and the all important lifetime value of a patient.
Just like with the pages on your website, include a ‘call to action’ at the end of every article, telling the reader what you would like them to do as a result of reading it (you can check out point 7 in this blog on how to write a call to action).
Why not take the opportunity to remind your patients they are welcome to recommend you to others?
They might not know they can so TELL THEM you’d love to see their friends and family. This can be part of yourrecommendation systems.
Show you’re human
Again, just like on your website, make sure you show your team’s personality. Include articles about team members and their lives, special occasions, charitable events and so on.
Your team members are unique to your practice – they’re what make you different – so talk about them. This helps potential new patients or existing patients who are fearful of visiting the dentist see you are friendly, caring and approachable.
It also contributes to existing patients’ confidence in recommending you.
Make it special
You can include a special offer available just via your newsletter.
This can help indicate the level of readership (how much response you get to the offer) and is an excuse to give out newsletters for patients to read.
‘Check out our exclusive offer…’ can be a great incentive to read your newsletter when included in an email.
Promote patient plans
Don’t miss the chance to make sure your patients know about the patient finance options you offer.
If you change or develop your plan, your newsletter provides a great platform for letting your patients know.
Support a strong practice brand
It’s tempting to produce your newsletter in-house to cut costs, but I urge you to spend a little to make your newsletter look professional.
When you let an expert design lay it out for you, you know it will be designed so the article placement is effective, the format is attractive and not too complex, and more people are encouraged to read it.
Remember your newsletter contributes to your brand image so make sure it reflects the image you are trying to portray for your dental business.
You may include it in your potential patient or new patient welcome pack, so make it look good!
Support your other marketing activities
Are you running a promotion in connection with oral cancer action month? Providing kids days or activities during the school holidays?
Time your next newsletter to let your patients and potential patients know.
What tips and comments do you have about producing patient newsletters? Do share your comments here or post a query below and I’ll get right back to you with some help.
Always happy to provide my comments on a newsletter draft, so feel free to get in touch!
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