How An Email Newsletter Drove More Patient Visits


By Tanya Handy

If you spend time studying direct marketing as much as I do, you’ll run into smart ways to gain more business.

I’ll share one story that I heard about not too long ago.  The story is about a doctor that got more patients (and the way he did it every month).

While meeting with the doctor, he told me how he stumbled onto a email newsletter method that worked so well for him.

I’m going to walk you through the exact method so that you can use it in your business, too. Believe me, this is worth implementing in your business, even if you’re not a healthcare provider.

The doctor explained how he started the email method when he was first starting his practice.

The Story Of A Doctor Who Used A Monthly Email Newsletter to Build His Practice

doctor-uses-email-newsletterThe doctor said in the first few years of his practice, he would write a short letter and send it to patients via postal mail. He did it once a month and, as his practice grew, it got really expensive. Paper, envelopes, and stamps would cost quite a bit of money.

But, it consistently worked.

Then, an idea hit him like a flash. He decided to stop the printed mailers and just start emailing his newsletters. Within a few minutes of hitting the send button, the doctor’s phone rang. A patient of his that hadn’t been in for a while decided to schedule an adjustment. That wasn’t all. The doctor continued getting calls to book new appointments.

The doctor ended up with an additional 34 patient visits that month and averaged between 20-50 patient visits every month that he sent the newsletter.

He went on to say that it was so effective, he had to hire a writer to help him produce articles. It’s because he had gotten so busy from all the new patient visits.

Why Do Email Newsletters Work?

The peculiar thing about the email newsletter is that they never offer discounts or promotions and they rarely talked about medical topics that other offices talk about.

email-newsletter-attracts-salesThe doctor went on to say that the secret to his emails was that the people he sent them to were actually interested in the content. He always wrote about topics that were relevant to the season or month of the year. He also made sure each topic positioned him as an expert.

The email newsletters drew people back into the office because they served as an unobtrusive excuse to remind folks that he still existed and that they loved his business.

The people that received the emails were already customers and fans of the business. All he needed to do was send them a subtle and entertaining reminder that he was still around and open for business.

But be not misled.

Regardless of how great your business is, people rarely spend much time thinking about you as they go thru their daily battles.  An email newsletter is a good way to remind folks that your business is around and that they should come back.

How To Write Email Newsletters That Spark Visits

The technique for writing great email newsletters that get opened and acted on is to ensure that what you’re writing inside the email newsletter is something that your audience actually wants to read.

There are 2 huge mistakes that companies make when sending email newsletters and both of them can drastically affect results:

Email Newsletter Mistake #1: Sending Promotions Only

One of the mistakes is sending promotional emails only. It may sound backwards because people love getting great deals (especially from local businesses). When the only email that you send is a promotion, recipients can actually get bored with that.

If emails don’t always offer readers a deal, you’ll end up having less and less opens over time.

It’s also not a sustainable tactic, because you’ll create a culture of “sale seekers” in your customer base. Customers and prospects will only come in with a coupon or will wait to come in when you offer a deal.

Promotional or deal emails can be useful as an occasional tactic, but it can hurt your business if this is the only kind of email you send.

Email Newsletter Mistake #2: Sending Boring Content

Many make this mistake, because they just get too busy. The process of writing their monthly newsletter  becomes one more task to do on a longer list. This frequently results in poor newsletter content that isn’t a pleasure to read or even open.

The secret to creating email newsletters that bring people through the  doosr is to offer content that entertains and  teaches (while positioning you or your company as expert.)

An Example of the Type of Email Newsletter that Works:

SUBJECT LINE: Packing Hot Lunches For The Cool Days Of Fall

BODY: Happy September!

After a long Summer, we all look forward to Fall. And with cooler weather coming in, our menus change. Why not change the lunch you pack for your kids as well? Salads, wraps, and cold sandwiches are great hot weather options, but your little ones will appreciate a hot dish in their lunch box when the temperatures start to drop,.

Here are ideas for packing hot lunches for the Fall:

IDEA #1: Soup And A Hot Sandwich

I  loved tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches as a kid. Who doesn’t love soup and a hot sandwich for lunch on a cool, crisp, Fall day? And all it takes is a small thermos, some aluminum foil, and ideally an insulated lunch box.

Make the soup the day before, or heat up some canned soup in the morning before school. Get it piping hot, and if possible, run some hot or even boiling water in the thermos first to get everything as warm as possible. Pour the soup in the thermos and sit it in the insulated lunch box.  Lastly, make the hot sandwich. Grilled cheese is always a favorite around here, as are any type of Panini. Fix the sandwich and then wrap it in several layers of aluminum foil. If you’re worried about the bread getting soggy, wrap it in a paper towel first, then the foil. Keep the sandwich in the insulated lunch box and everything should stay toasty warm for hours.

IDEA #2: Leftovers Galore

Don’t forget about leftovers. They make for great lunch box additions. There are wide mouthed thermos out there that can hold a variety of leftover food from pasta dishes, to things like fried rice, or anything you can think of that would work well put in a bowl.

Does your son or daughter need nutritional testing to maintain good immunity this Fall? We can help! Give our office a call at 555-555-1234 and Sandy will get you scheduled as soon as possible!

The email newsletter above works because, it’s:

  • Timely (sent out in the month of September)
  • Contains actionable information
  • Helps the reader do something… versus educating them about your business

Also, the “Call to Action” at the end is topical, but not pushy.

When you construct content like this, readers connect with the business that sent it (who they already like since they are a customer). This leads to the customers that want to do business with you.

How To Get Results Without Writing Your Own Email Newsletter


Tanya Email Newsletter Writer
Copywriter & Consultant, Tanya Handy

Tanya Handy is an author and copywriter with 10+ years experience in direct response marketing. I work with entrepreneurs and small businesses–software, construction, aerospace, medical, oil & gas and others. Download my 20 Tips For Sending Successful Email Newsletters and get started right away.

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