Today, I’m excited to interview Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT about the use of email and email newsletter content to market a private practice, stay fresh in the minds of patients and referral sources, and gain new patients as well. Nitin is a business consultant for hundreds of private practice owners and has created a very impressive email marketing service specifically for Physical Therapy practices.
With Social Media, Blogs, and other relatively inexpensive forms of advertising, what makes email marketing newsletters a necessary part of a PT Practice’s marketing plan? How are they different and effective in ways that other forms of marketing are not?
That’s an excellent question. Email newsletters are just one part of the marketing equation. There are significant advantages to the use of an email newsletter. For starters, it is a legitimate reason to ask for and acquire the patient’s email address. This email address can be used for appointment reminders, auto responder email sequences, birthday reminders and much more. An email address is an important data point for any private practice, just like a patient’s name, mailing address and insurance information.
The advantage of an email address, unlike a blog or social media, is that it is a more direct way to get the patient’s attention. An email newsletter is a simple and effective way of delivering valuable content that is helpful for the patient, and establishes the authority and the expertise of the practice at the same time. Email marketing allows you to reach all your current and past patients, and remind them of the benefits of physical therapy and the importance of referring family and friends.
Unlike other forms of marketing, email newsletters ‘pull’ patients and prospects towards you when written concisely. They are a proactive form of marketing and when implemented correctly, make your practice seem “magnetic”. Traditional advertising, on the other hand, is more reactive in nature and tends to push patients towards services that they may or may not need.
You are a private practice business consultant for many PT practice owners. What are the most common objections you hear when it comes to using email newsletters, or a service like Therapy Newsletter, for keeping contact with patients and marketing to prospective patients?
The biggest objection I hear is, “I don’t have an email list”.
It’s like asking, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” The fact is, you can actually use an email newsletter with a digital gift “e-book giveaway” as an incentive to get people to sign up for your newsletter. What’s more, you can get prospects on your email list even before they have made the decision to become patients. Having an email newsletter without having a single email subscriber is not a bad thing. After all, you can always use a print version of the newsletter and physically hand it out to people who come to your clinic.
Another objection I commonly face is, “My patients don’t check their emails”. The word ‘email’ in email newsletter is exactly as the name suggests; an email. In other words, it’s simply another tool to distribute your newsletter. For best results, distribute your newsletter using multiple modes such as email, print (handouts), regular mail, video and fax. Even if a majority of your patients don’t use email, they’ll appreciate the convenience of a print newsletter they can physically hold in their hands and read. Also, patients who have difficulty reading on the computer screen will appreciate the convenience of watching the newsletter in a video format.
The final objection I hear is that “I can create my own newsletter.” Yes, you certainly can. You may want to consider is the amount of time and effort it takes to select a topic, write the content, edit the newsletter and distribute the article using multiple modes. Depending on your practice, this may be a great idea, or it may not.
If a PT practice owner is going to set up an email newsletter system and create the newsletters themselves, what are your top five tips for doing so?
If you want to create your own newsletter, the top five tips are:
- Ask your patients what they’d like to read about and identify the right topics.
- Narrate your newsletter using a voice recorder and ask someone to help with transcribing your narration into a text file on your computer.
- Include ‘bonding’ content, the type of content that reveals a little bit of you or your family so that patients get to know you as a person.
- Provide ‘authority’ content, the type of content that establishes you as an expert and an authority in your community.
- Finally, make sure your newsletter has light, pleasing colors like blue and green.
Tell us a little bit about Therapy Newsletter* and what it can do for a PT practice.
It’s a done-for-you automated newsletter marketing service built specifically for physical therapy private practice. Twice a month, the system automatically delivers content rich newsletters to patients and doctors in your community and you don’t do a thing.
This system was built by a husband and wife team of physical therapists, who understand you don’t have much time to spend on marketing. This fully customizable, done-for-you newsletter technology allows you to sit back and relax because the content is generated by a team of licensed physical therapists who go to work for you every two weeks, keeping you in front of and in the minds of patients and doctors. You are notified before emails are sent, and you can edit them in any way you like.
- Stimulate patient referrals with the built in ‘refer a friend’ technology for patients and ‘one click’ unlimited faxing to doctors!
- Print and hand out your newsletter to patients, doctors and local businesses.
- Quickly collect email addresses from patients who visit your website by providing them with instantly downloadable eBooks (which they can access after they enter their name and email address on your website).
- Completely automatic, no technical knowledge, no website, no email list of patients required.
- Content Repurposing – Current members can re-use the content on websites / newspaper columns / patient handouts since they own the copyright to the content
- Exclusive License to edit any picture, logo and every single word on your newsletter, with 7 different templates and unlimited color selections to choose from.
Thank you again for your time and expertise, Nitin. For those of you interested in utilizing email newsletters for your practice, I encourage you to check out Therapy Newsletter. If you are more of a do-it-yourself type, you might consider the services: Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. I have used Constant Contact for a few years (primarily for this website) but will likely change to Mail Chimp soon for both cost and usability reasons. With that said, I have been pretty terrible about utilizing email marketing to my patient list because it takes so much time. I’ll send a couple emails a year rather than the 1-2 /month I know I should be sending for best results. For that reason, I’ve thoroughly checked out Therapy Newsletter and will soon use it myself.
The public, and your former patients, have a growing number of options to address musculoskeletal injury and pain, and the competition is obviously not just PT practices in your area. With massage therapists and personal trainers “treating” injuries, Chiropractors and POPT clinics employing PTs, you must do everything you can to be the first professional who comes to mind when a former or prospective patient experiences pain and movement dysfunction. So regardless of the service you choose, make sure you are utilizing this effective method of staying fresh on the minds of your patients and referral sources by providing valuable, helpful information from their movement expert.
* Complete transparency is very important to me. This is an affiliate link, so if you click through it and make a purchase, I will receive a commission (and if you do… thanks!). I do not promote products or services I haven’t thoroughly checked out, and I do not promote services that are not highly valuable to my readers.