How to Build an Effective Email Newsletter

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Friday, March 22, 2024

Cellphone and tablet

By Terri Ross, APX Platform

One of the easiest and most direct ways to stay in touch with current, new and prospective clients, as well as to build your audience, aside from social media and blog articles on your website, is to send targeted newsletters as part of your marketing efforts.

Most people think of patient newsletters as strictly marketing tools to promote services/procedures or retail products.

You may have questions about newsletters:

  • How often do I send them?
  • What content should be included?
  • How do I use them to increase sales or offer specials?

Challenge yourself to shift your mindset regarding newsletters from selling to serving and building long-term relationships with your current, new and prospective clients.

Why do you need a patient newsletter?

An effective newsletter can deepen the relationship you have with your clients. It's not just to sell them something.

Whether you have an existing newsletter or want to start one, you need to clearly define or re-evaluate your newsletter goals. Successful newsletters serve an audience by being helpful and educational. Newsletters that solely focus on the practice or are strictly promotional are the ones that typically fall flat or languish unopened in an inbox.

Think of your newsletter as an editorial publication for a specific audience—your patients. If the recipient is on your mailing list, you should already have some brand recognition. It’s a slight mindset shift, but now instead of telling them what you are selling and asking them to “buy” something, create a newsletter that gives them something they look forward to receiving. Not only will you offer valuable information they can use or learn from, but you are keeping your brand top of mind.

If your newsletter becomes only a vehicle to sell, patients may unsubscribe and then will not receive anything you send in the way of email marketing.

How often should you send a patient newsletter?

There are two important things to keep in mind when planning your newsletter strategy: reach and frequency.

“Reach” is the size of your client list or audience—literally, the number of people you reach with your newsletter. “Frequency” refers to how often you send out information to them, whether that’s once a week, once a month or somewhere in between.

Ideally, you’d have both a large reach and the ability to send out newsletters frequently. However, the reality is that resources and bandwidth are often limited in a busy practice. If you don’t have a designated in-house marketing team member who is tasked with putting it together, getting a regular newsletter written and distributed can be a challenge.

Although it seems counterintuitive, frequency (more touchpoints) is more important than the size of your reach or list size. Ideally, a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter works best. But, if monthly newsletters are more feasible, it’s better than not sending one out.

Prospective clients are exposed to an average of 10 marketing messages before making a purchase decision. After they start receiving your newsletters on a regular basis, your brand will be on their radar when they are ready to book a service or procedure.

Reach without frequency is usually a waste of money. Marketing is the process of building a relationship with potential customers. Think about going out on a date with someone for the first time—it is highly unlikely you will marry them after one date. Relationships take time to build, and they grow and deepen over time as you get to know each other and spend more time together.

Remember, it takes time to create a rhythm with people, so establish a cadence that works with your team’s bandwidth and stick with it. For example, send out your newsletter on the same day each week, so clients expect it. You can experiment with which day of the week and time of day gets the most open rates by tracking in your email marketing software.

What kind of content should be included in a patient newsletter?

A rule of thumb is to keep your newsletter content focused on insights and resources that help your patients—not solely focus on your practice.

Ask yourself:

  • Does every bit of content serve them?
  • Does this newsletter deepen the client relationship?
  • Is it a quality client touchpoint?
  • Would you read this content if it came to you? (Put yourself in your patient’s shoes.)
  • Does it convey that your practice cares about them?
  • Does it provide resources to support them?
  • Does the tone feel like it was sent by a friend—that is to say, it is not full of corporate speak?
  • Does it establish your “know, like and trust” factor?
  • Finally, does it deliver quality content that earns you the right to be promotional down the road?

Becoming a trusted source of information earns you the right to throw in a bit of promotional content, especially if it relates to one of the articles you include. Think of it like a bank—each time you send out a newsletter with valuable content, it is like putting a deposit in the “trust bank” of your prospects or patients. That way, when you send out a strictly promotional email or have a special offer to make, your clients are not turned off by it. It is almost like taking a small withdrawal.

10 dos and don'ts for patient newsletters

Are you curious about what makes a good patient newsletter? Here are some best practices for writing and maintaining a quality newsletter:

  1. Don’t make it all about your practice.
  2. Do make it easy to navigate and skim.
  3. Do show your readers that your content is helpful to them.
  4. Do supplement your original content with curated content.
  5. Don’t make it sound too corporate.
  6. Do give clients a path to purchase, if they are compelled to buy something.
  7. Do get creative and test out new ideas.
  8. Do tell a story in multiple parts.
  9. Don’t optimize for desktop views.
  10. Don’t treat your patient newsletter like a burden for your team.

If you have the budget, you can outsource your patient newsletter creation. Just make sure that the person or company to whom you outsource it has a clear understanding of your practice, your ideal client persona, and your brand look, feel and voice.

Terri Ross is a world-renowned practice management consultant, international speaker and founder of APX Platform. She has spent more than 15 years working for Fortune 500 companies in the aesthetics industry, leading sales teams to more than $20 million. She spent five years as managing partner for a high-profile medical spa in Beverly Hills and has been helping hundreds of medical aesthetic practices launch, grow and scale upwards of $1 million and beyond. Ross is a leading speaker who attends more than 20 annual aesthetic conferences and hosts a podcast, Intouch with Terri, where she teaches industry best practices.

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