Many hands-on practitioners shudder at the thought of using technology in our practices. Personal connection is our comfort zone, and spending the time to learn and apply computerized marketing or management tools is just not high on our list of fun things to do. Other than using our smartphones, and possibly an online scheduling service, we don’t really want to deal with technology in general.
I would like to make the argument that marketing automation can be an extension of our personal connections with our clients. Once you sent things up, it’s not much harder than sending an email. And most of us can surely do that.
Here’s what I’m talking about…
You schedule a new client appointment for next week. When you complete your pre-appointment interview (usually over the phone), you get their email address so you can send them some information they will need for their first appointment.
*Then they get a personal email from you with your Welcome Packet, which may include:
- New Client Forms
- Office Policies
- “What to expect at your first appointment” Article
*The day before their appointment, they get a personal email from you with an appointment reminder, that tells them you are looking forward to meeting them and helping with their wellness goals.
*The day after their appointment, they get a follow-up email from you with information like: “common experiences to expect after a treatment;” and “how to give your practitioner important feedback on your experiences” (this could include a link to your new client survey*).
*One week after the first appointment, they get another personal email from you, “why I love what I do,” that briefly explains why you got into the healthcare business and what your practice offers to your specific target market(s). For example, if you see people with chronic pain issues (and this client fits that market), you will be sure to include details of your services that help with chronic pain.
*Two weeks later, they receive your “benefits of regular treatments” email, that briefly explains the benefits of receiving your services regularly and encourages them to schedule with you again soon.
*Two weeks after that, they receive a personal message from you with your most recent newsletter. Then you make sure they are on your email list to receive all future newsletters.
Automation can be free.
You can set up a system where everything I mentioned above with an asterisk(*) is sent automatically at the specified time, once you start them in your new-client campaign. In other words, all you have to do is add your new client to your automated marketing system and the system does the rest for you.
You can set this stuff up for free with a platform like MailChimp. MailChimp has tons of email and newsletter templates you can use, they allow you to set up several different campaigns (a campaign is a particular series of emails you want to be sent to a particular group of clients on your list), they have sign-up forms you can integrate with your website or social media accounts (in case you want to allow people to sign-up for your newsletters on their own), and they have free reporting so you can see which of your emails are being read by more people (so you know to use that type of content again!).
Today I happen to be recommending MailChimp because it’s free if you have less than 2,000 people on your list, and it allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. Now, in my opinion, that’s way more than any independent practitioner will ever need. I have, however, included a list of other popular marketing automation platforms below and I recommend you check them out too, in case you have specific needs that MailChimp doesn’t handle.
Links to other popular Marketing Automation Platforms:
- Constant Contact
- Get Response
- Campaign Monitor
- Mailer Lite
- Active Campaign
- Vertical Response
- Marketing 360
Why regular newsletters and not just periodic advertisements or promotions?
A newsletter is like an extension of your business card and client education brochure. People want to know how your work can help reduce pain and stress, right? They want information relevant to their health, their daily activities, and their passions. They want something of value to refer to when they need it. And newsletters accomplish this better than advertising…
- Readers typically find the information in a professional newsletter more credible than ads. Aren’t you more likely to at least glance through a newsletter you find in your inbox than read an unsolicited ad?
- Sending regular newsletters helps establish you as an expert and someone who stands out from the crowd. It will help you take the lead in educating your community about the benefits of what you do. Aren’t you more likely to trust someone who sends you a newsletter rather than an ad?
- A newsletter is very likely to be read by more than one person. When someone who isn’t already a client reads your newsletter, the self-care tips (for example) may catch their attention. Then that person becomes much more likely to call you when in need. Aren’t you more likely to forward a newsletter than an advertisement to someone you love?
We all know regular maintenance is better than putting out fires. With regular marketing, infrequent clients will remember that you are there. The conversation in their heads may go something like this: “Oh yeah, that massage was really great… my back felt better than it had in weeks… I should just make that call.” They may not consciously think about the familiarity and trust they already feel for you, but that’s what you are building on — the great effort you already put into giving that client the best you have to give.
And it doesn’t have to take up more of your time, if you set up automated marketing to do the work for you.