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You can’t deny the impact of the Internet on the business aspect of running your doctor or dentist’s office. Increasingly, patients who have a choice of medical offices make their choice on the Internet, they read reviews on Yelp.com to find the best doctor, and rely on their phones to remind them when it’s time to schedule an appointment.
You may wonder what is email marketing, and if it can help increase profits in your doctor or dentist’s office? Email marketing can help you retain patients, increase efficiency in your office, and recruit new patients.
To get started:
- Build your email database by asking for email addresses as part of the new patient registration procedure.
- Send welcome emails to new patients after their first visit. Send reminders for annual check-up or other necessary visits.
- Email links to your online calendar. Consider posting your schedule on a Google doc so patients can see for themselves when a slot is available.
- Make scheduling easy by writing a signature for every email with your phone number, email, chat line to your appointments administrator, hours, and location. Assume your patients will forward your emails to family and friends, so this email will make it easy for new patients to make an appointment.
Informative Email Newsletters
You email campaign can go beyond appointments and reminders. Show you’re an involved, modern office by sending short monthly, informative newsletters.
Make content specific to each customer. Use web tools to gather relevant information about your customers’ needs and preferences. Your email service provider, like The Mission Suite, can use customer data to send specific messages to segmented portions of your list.
Send messages that specifically target:
- Parents – Email reminders to make 6 month appointments for their kids, as well as health and safety tips for small children. Parents of small children will appreciate the ease of confirming their appointment in email, and the ability to automatically add the appointment to their phone or Google calendar.
- Pregnant women – Young women are statistically the highest group who use mobile phones to check their email. Make sure you use web tools or an extra pair of human eyes to ensure that your newsletter for pregnant women loads correctly on as many different brands of mobile devices as possible. Use HTML and a single column forma, and always create a text-based version as well.
- Men – Men, particularly older men, are notoriously reluctant to schedule tests and check-ups. A dedicated email campaign can help reach this high-risk group.
- Teens – For the age group just learning to take responsibility for their own health, send emails about issues that are most relevant to teenagers: Adolescent body changes, stress management, healthy eating, sports safety, safer sex, drug and alcohol safety, and seeking help for depression are all newsletters that teens will open and read if they’re delivered in a mature, sophisticated tone. Check out Planned Parenthood’s Tumblr for the best tone to adopt when professionally conveying medical information over the Internet to teens.
- By condition or medication — Rather than tying up your staff’s time with phone calls, draft email to send to patients with tips for maintenance of their health conditions. You also can send tips of a new study that can help patients be more informed about their condition — link to articles and videos and provide your commentary.
Finding New Patients
According to the CAN SPAM Act of 2003, it’s illegal to buy email lists, and you can’t email anyone without their permission. However, you can still recruit via email marketing by making it easy for your patients to forward your informative emails to friends and relatives. Writing informative, friendly, modern emails is good advertising material to help spread word-of-mouth promotion.
If you have a website or Facebook, print the address on every paper you give to patients.