How to Create Amazing Newsletters
I had a member recently ask me about communication with patients and what we should be communicating in letters and emails. It made me think about the value of sending newsletters to our patients and how important regular communication really is.
Our patients come into the practice once every four or six months, sometimes once a year, sometimes only once every two years depending on the health of the patient. In the time between when they come in or when they are not in our practice, they are not thinking about us. They are not thinking, “Oh my gosh, my dentist is so great and I love my dentist” and that they should be referring their friends to the office – they are NOT thinking about us! It is our job to make sure that we are reminding them how amazing we are, any chance we get.
The number one complaint I hear from patients is that they used to feel like family when they came into the practice but our practice has grown and now they feel like a number. We need to make sure we are doing everything possible to not let our patients feel that way.
Newsletters are a great opportunity to keep our patients informed and to remind them how awesome we are during that time between their visit!
10 tips to help create amazing newsletters!
1. There are two different kinds of newsletters. There is the printed newsletter and the email newsletter. I lean more towards doing an email newsletter because of the cost and the amount of time it requires to mail a regular newsletter. A printed newsletter is not realistic for most dental offices. That being said, I have seen some amazing things get mailed from offices and it really depends on what your desired outcome is for the communications being mailed.
2. What are your expectations? What is your budget? Mail, printing and mailing newsletters can be expensive, however, I have seen some that are so amazing that the newsletter looks and reads almost like a magazine. They have recipes, pictures of their team having fun, pictures of the team giving back to the community. There is a motivational article written by one of the team members, they have got quotes, games, and special features that make the patient want to keep this as they would magazine. These newsletters are so amazing that you want to put it out on the coffee table and keep it to refer back to it.
In that case, mailing a printed newsletter makes sense. This is an expensive ordeal though and it really needs to make sense for your individual practice. For larger cosmetic practices, or high-end dental offices where they really want to build that value with their patient, then a printed newsletter can be the best option, potentially, for most of us an email newsletter is more realistic. Now, creating a newsletter with the software available today is relatively easy. However, when I say easy, I do have a few tips for your team to consider before diving in to these software programs:
3. Does a member of your team have the skills needed to create a newsletter? If you’ve got somebody who’s got some graphic experience, a team member who has built powerpoints in the past, if you’ve got somebody in your team that is creative and capable of putting together something like a digital newsletter, it is easy nowadays. You can simply drag and drop, write an article, throw it in there, put a picture here, then, and then send it. However it can be time consuming if the wrong person is working on it that does not have the needed abilities.
I would be really careful to make sure that you are having the right person on your team put the newsletters together.
4. How much time is needed to create a newsletter? It should not take more than an hour. Writing the content for the newsletter might take longer but putting the newsletter together should take no longer than an hour.
5. Make sure that you have the right person helping you! If your team is taking more than an hour to do it, then you probably need to find somebody else.
6. Yes, newsletters should be sent out on a regular basis! When I say regular basis, I would not say weekly, but maybe once a month. If you have enough content that you think will be read by your patients, then once a month, or once a quarter. The minimum I would send is once a quarter.
7. How many newsletters should a dental practice send? If you don’t have enough to say once a quarter, then your practice isn’t growing and doing enough new fun stuff! I would say at least four times a year but you can send newsletters out up to 12 times a year!
8. When should newsletters be sent? I would not stress too much to say newsletters have to be emailed on the first day of every month because patients are not likely waiting for it.
If you do not send one every month and your practice prefers to only send a newsletter when you have enough new content, that is okay too. My opinion is to make sure you are sending something out to your patients, at least four times a year though.
9. What information should be included in a newsletter? My suggestion is that your newsletter should not be ALL clinical information, your content should also not be all about how amazing your cases are either. It needs to be fun!
Your content needs to grab your patients attention, your newsletter should feature information that will make your patients want to read it! Your newsletter is where you can put information and content that will be interesting to your patients, or sprinkle in updates about new technology recently introduced into your practice, or those new cases that you are doing.
Here are some suggestions on what to feature in your next newsletter:
–♦ New technology: If your office just got a CEREC, or maybe you have just purchased a new 3D cone beam, or are now offering sleep, you will definitely want to highlight that. Your patients need to see that your practice is growing and doing new things!
–♦ New services: Highlight your services! Does your office do sleep apnea, or offer Invisalign now? Maybe you have just started offering some new service, your newsletter is where you will want to feature that.
I would also highlight a recent case or a procedure that you have done that you would love to do more of. Maybe you just did a smile makeover or started doing sleep apnea and you have changed somebody’s life, then highlight that. Showcase these stories so that patients can see something they might relate to that will trigger them to pick up the phone, call your office and say, “Hey I have sleep apnea, I need some help with that.” Highlight those procedures that you want more of, and then like I said, be sure to add some fun stuff in there too.
–♦ Dental team events, photos & FUN: Your office team should be taking pictures all the time, your newsletter is a great place to highlight some of these photos! Did your team just do a charity walk together, did you donate money, did you have a fun Halloween costume contest? Whatever it is, highlight these activities for your patients, they love to see this type of content!
–♦ Employee of the month: Does your office have an employee of the month, you could include a photo and feature about this special employee in your newsletter. Use this opportunity to recognize that employee that went above and beyond that month and show your patients. Feature something this employee has done, or simply introduce the employee. Your patients will appreciate this chance to connect and learn more about your team members.
–♦ Team articles & participation: Does your hygienist also have an incredible knack for writing, or maybe one of your dental assistants, or the office manager? Ask your team members to write an article! Ask them to write an article on a topic in their scope of expertise to amaze your patients! These articles do not have to come ONLY from the dentist. Your team members also have knowledge and information to share with your patients. Don’t be afraid to get your team involved – I think your patients would love to see that.
10. How to add personality to a newsletter! Maybe it’s National Dog Month, your team could include photos of all their dogs. Maybe your team had a cookout and you have great pictures from the day to share to personalize your newsletter. There are many ways this can be achieved.
The important point to remember when creating newsletters is to always make it fun, make sure your content is not all clinical, and that you add a bit of personality.
Your patients are not going to look at your newsletters if everything is clinical all the time.
Your patients are not going to look at your newsletters if you are constantly showing them unappealing dental pictures either, this is not what your patients want to see.
So, there are my two cents on newsletters – make your newsletters fun, make it something that your patients look forward to receiving and that they will want to open and read!