I believe that the main reason why practices do not write newsletters is based upon not knowing what to write and who to include. The first part of doing a newsletter has to be scheduling them into your marketing vision; our newsletters always go out in the spring and the autumn and I have a real passion for them. Newsletters take time to write with clear focused objectives.
My main tip is that the newsletter should be written by a celebrity in your practice. What I mean by that is, it must be a person that is very well-known and respected by your patients, who they have built a relationship with. This person will vary from practice to practice so that’s a decision you must make. I have been the Practice Manager at JM Dentalcare for ten years, so I write ours, and I write it as I am speaking to you now.
So how do you start? Well, firstly you have to decide on content, so here’s my structure:
PM chat – I include an introductory paragraph that leads me into talking about what’s new at the practice, investments that we are making, and what we have been up to in the last six months that will benefit patients. I concentrate on new skills that we have developed and new roles we have introduced into our team.
Photographs – People love photos so make sure you take lots throughout the year that you can then use in your newsletter. Pictures speak a thousand words, and happy team photographs add a personal touch.
Interview feature – I have come to the point where I find it boring just doing an article on implants or Invisalign® for example, therefore I decided that I was at that point where I wanted my newsletter to read like a small magazine. The advantage is, I can increase awareness of treatments, but in a more user-friendly way which really highlights the benefits of undertaking a particular treatment with us. I accompany this by taking photos in relation to them and I can guarantee it looks fantastic and has become my key feature.
Team update – The members of your practice love team news, so share it! The team love hearing patients comment on what they have been up to and it shows that they are reading. One of the most powerful team items we wrote was about raising awareness of alopecia. It really helped support one of my team members who was going through a very difficult time. On receiving the newsletter, patients became a positive support to my team member and some even shared their own experiences.
Competition – Run a competition where patients must do something to enter, i.e. write a testimonial for Google or ask them to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, etc. If you have an offer, include a code for patients to quote so you can measure the success of this.
Once you have planned your text, ask Practice Plan or another agency to design your newsletter for you. Please don’t print your own, I see too many hand-printed newsletters, and they diminish your brand in my opinion. Plan the newsletter to be part of your marketing budget so that it reflects your practice positively.
I get so many comments from patients telling me how much they enjoy receiving our newsletter, so go on, have a go and see how a newsletter could help your practice.
About Michael Bentley
Michael is Practice Manager at JM Dentalcare. He also works as a consultant for Practice Plan, providing guidance on how you can be the ‘ultimate’ practice manager and how to develop and grow your team. Michael is also able to provide support through Horton Consulting.