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Your eNewsletter Stinks: Tips to Improve Your Medical Practice Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

doctor shoutTalk about a compelling subject line. It’s hard to resist opening and reading an email, e-newsletter or news article with a provocative hook to turn your head. It worked with us recently, and having an attention-getting headline is the first tip for improving your healthcare marketing communications.

Here are a few more ideas for better doctor marketing, hospital newsletters and health system communications. It was Drew McLellan’s article that caught our attention recently. Drew is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group in Des Moines, and he offers three tips about more effective e-newsletters.

Admittedly, his headline might be a little harsh, but an e-newsletter can be a cost-effective marketing tool…provided the reader doesn’t “unsubscribe” due to lack of interesting and engaging content. Here are the three “big mistakes” for marketing-minded professionals to avoid.

It’s not supposed to be about you. Surprise…readers are just not that into you. “Most e-newsletters blather on about the sender,” Drew writes. “That’s a guaranteed trip to the trash bin. [An e-newsletter is] a relationship-building piece. It’s not that you can’t make an appearance. But your appearance should be wrapped in helpful information. Write to them and for them.”

A classic example that we see all-too-frequently is the e-newsletter that reports office staff news, like “Office Manager Julie had a baby,” or “You’ll want to see the new wallpaper in our reception area.” Readers will hit the delete button before they finish yawning.

Long-winded is short-lived. A few brief (and interesting) stories can engage and entice. “We have short attention spans. Couple that with the fact that they’re reading your e-newsletter either on a laptop or a smartphone, and you have a recipe for short and sweet, please.”

Your e-newsletter is not a weekend assignment for the practice receptionist. Few people know how to identify story ideas that are interesting and to write them in a brief and compelling style. You may want professional help with this.

Inconsistent is uncomfortable. “Your e-newsletter should go out on the same day or date every time. If it’s a monthly e-newsletter and it goes out on the first Wednesday of the month, then that’s not an optional deadline. Hit the mark every time, and your audience will notice.”

Yea, we know. Reality intrudes. “We were just too busy this month.” “Sally was on vacation.” “The staff in-service training was the priority.” If an e-newsletter is part of your medical practice marketing plan don’t allow it to become an afterthought.

Our thanks to Top Dog Drew who blogs at Drew’s Marketing Minute. Read full article online here. Related article: Read about building a permission-based contact list for e-newsletters and other healthcare provider marketing communications.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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