As website and online marketing take over a larger share of corporate marketing budgets, there is a…
For most PT Practices, putting together a monthly newsletter is a challenging task.
It takes up a lot of time and requires an investment. Plus, there’s the question I’ve heard a thousand times…
Does Print Marketing work in our modern, digital world?
At Practice Promotions, we help Private PT Clinics get a monthly return on their Newsletter investment with consistent, proven strategies. In this article, I’ll show you real data & examples from some of the hundreds of PT Clinics we’ve worked with over the last decade.
If you want to leverage your patient list to fill your schedule in any economy, here’s everything you need to know:
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
“A written report, issued periodically, typically by a business, institution, or other organization, that presents information and news to people with a specific interest in the organization or subject.” –Dictionary.com
The key phrases in this definition are:
Does your current newsletter strategy meet those three criteria?
Let’s see why it’s important:
Newsletters are made to keep your clinic top of mind. To do that, it must be consistent month to month.
You won’t be able to know the exact moment one of your past patients needs a new round of treatment. But, as you deliver your newsletter over time, you essentially train them to connect pain with your treatment. Then when they DO need help, your newsletter is there to remind them how to get in touch.
Here’s an example:
My friend and client, Leo, owns a practice in California. After just 3 months using a Physical Therapy marketing newsletter, he DOUBLED his number of new patients and received many calls from past patients as well.
He said this about the experience:
“I was confused! They knew about me, they knew they had access to me, but it wasn’t until they got the newsletter that reminded them to call.”
Leo saw firsthand the importance of staying on the top of your past and even current patients’ mind and it not only changed his marketing – it changed his life. They’ve now had to hire additional therapists and are planning to move to a bigger location!
An effective Patient Newsletter is educational & personal before being “salesy.”
Remember, the goal of a newsletter is to train their mind to correlate your clinic name to being pain-free. To do that, you want to educate readers & display your expertise with tips, stretches, and exercises – all information that is designed to help them not sell them.
You also want to be personal. Showing staff highlights, patient testimonies, practice events, and using real photos from your clinic are all ways to deepen the connection to your reader.
Now don’t get me wrong, you absolutely need to call them to action. Invite them to schedule a free screening or about their pain in every issue. But make sure you offer lots of valuable information first.
This is key point – newsletters aren’t the best method for marketing to people who have never heard of you.
Instead, Newsletters & direct-mail should primarily be used to increase your revenue from current & past clients. And because getting patients back is up to 10X cheaper than finding new ones, a newsletter is an excellent investment as part of a greater marketing plan. Leverage the gold mine that is your patient list, you’ll be glad you did!
The notion that “print is dead” is an extremely common misconception about marketing.
In fact, data tells us that digital advertising doesn’t replace print marketing, it makes it work better! That’s because people still trust print media significantly more than digital:
And think about this: 20 years ago your mailbox was littered with sales, while email was reserved for important or personal communication. Now, the tables have turned!
Direct mail is now less cluttered, opening more opportunities for practices to retain and reactivate patients with physical therapy newsletters.
“How do you achieve max results? Reach as MANY patients as possible in as many DIFFERENT ways as possible as OFTEN as possible with the RIGHT message”
-Neil Trickett, PT • Marketing Expert
Your audience consists of more than just one group. It’s important to create practice newsletters that appeal to:
For current & past patients, the key is not to let them forget about you. Encourage them to take action when a condition flares up & not just live with aches & pains. You should also provide an easy referral method to increase word-of-mouth.
For physicians, the key is creating a lasting impression. Your expertise needs to be obvious and valuable. Use content that would be so helpful, they’re willing to have copies in their waiting rooms.
The same goes for health or fitness type partnerships. Maintain a professional brand & impressive print quality so they feel good about having their newsletter advertising in their business. And make sure the content is something that helps their audience without competing with their business.
I’ve already said how your content’s quality makes an impact on different audiences, but what TYPES of content should you include? Here are some examples:
Stories – Patient successes, therapist spotlights, specific techniques or equipment that makes you stand out from competitors, upcoming events… all of these allow you to tell interesting, educational stories.
Custom Photos – It’s easy to rely on stock photography. But no matter how good it is, stock photos always look stock. Plus, what if your local competitor uses the same one? Use custom photos to show your therapists in action, friendly front desk faces, and a welcoming practice gym environment.
Health-Based Value – Make it a point to display your healthcare expertise. Educate past patients on different conditions, encourage people to turn to PT over pain meds, and share health tips & recipes that make patients want to keep your newsletter vs throwing it away.
Call To Action – People will move if a leader tells them to. Be a leader. Invite them to workshops, events, or free screenings and provide incentives for doing so.
Don’t expect to only distribute your newsletter one way & get all the possible results.
Some people read emails more, some people engage on social media, others are more likely to read direct mail. And some may not even be on your list but through local partners and distributing in person you can still get in front of them.
Plan to use all of these methods!
Below, I’ll cover how to maximize your delivery to each of these specific channels.
Track Your New & Reactivated Patients!
The only thing worse than marketing that doesn’t work is not knowing results at all. Even if it’s a simple excel spreadsheet with each month’s new patients and reactivated patients, tracking your numbers over the course of a year is the best way to tell if direct-mail marketing is working.
“When you combine print and digital advertising, you’ll cover all of your marketing bases and deliver a more holistic advertising strategy. In addition to reaching your entire target audience, you’ll deliver a personalized experience.” –CMASolutions.com
The core of your PT marketing newsletter is the template and topic content. You do not want to have to design from scratch each month. Look for a template with areas for articles, exercises, images, and news. This makes it easy to generate a new edition monthly and provides a consistent experience for your readers.
Next, who will be designing & fulfilling your newsletter?
Many clinics use an outside agency for newsletters. The reasons are obvious: professional quality, it saves time, and you can often get a combination of planning, printing, mailing, and digital services like this one.
If you have a marketing designer in-house, that’s great! But you’ll still need to establish a cost-effective relationship with a printing & mailing service. What’s more, don’t ignore how much time a newsletter will take. If your staff member is already at capacity, consider outsourcing & having them manage the vendor instead.
Finally, have a robust topic list and articles ready to go.
Each reader is unique with different interests and perspectives. So, how effective a topic is at encouraging readers to see you for PT will vary. You want to mix the topics up so that while one month’s newsletter on shoulder pain may not feel relevant, but the next month’s on knee pain could hit a nerve (literally!).
We recommend investing your time upfront in the template and topics and build out at least six months’ worth of content to streamline your marketing newsletter process. This is often the biggest use of time, which is another advantage of using an agency with copywriters on staff.
Check out this article for more on creating and branding your newsletter.
For almost every practice, monthly newsletters are most effective when managed by a professional company. I know, sounds biased right? But here’s why I say that… That’s not a marketing pitch I made up. That’s something my clients have said to me after they switched!
If you don’t have marketing staff, you need to treat patients. Agency solutions have the resources to be your marketing team for less than the monthly cost of a part-time employee.
If you have marketing staff in your practice, their job is to coordinate your strategies, develop professional relationships, and drive business development. Spending time designing, writing, printing, and mailing a newsletter is a full-time job in itself and not always a valuable use of your staff’s time. The right PT Newsletter company can empower marketing staff members to be MORE productive and drive BETTER results.
Want To See Samples? Check Out These Digital Newsletter Examples From Real PT Clinics
To get the most results, you need to get in front of a lot of people a lot of times. Between 7 and 20 times before people will take action!
Think of newsletters as a long-term marketing strategy. Utilize email, social media platforms, direct mail, and in-person methods to distribute your newsletter very consistently. If you do, results will increase exponentially over time.
Here are the best ways to deliver your newsletter:
Send your digital newsletters monthly to your current & past patient list. Make sure you’re updating your email list at least 1 or 2 times every month!
Post your digital newsletters on social media 2 or 3 times a month highlighting a different section each time. For increased results, pay to boost the first post to your Facebook or Twitter followers!
Many PT Clinics avoid direct mail because it feels expensive. That provides a competitive advantage to those who choose to invest! Check out these stats:
And you don’t even have to mail to your full list to see results! You can start within your budget and increase later. We recommend focusing on patients from the last 3-5 years and removing bad addresses or any that are outside your local zip codes.
Have at least 100 extra copies on hand each month to send home with each patient, drop off at physician waiting rooms, display with partners (injury attorneys, gyms, health stores, etc.), and hand out at any events that month.
In true 2020 fashion, this clinic provided past patients with a powerful “what to do while at home” resource. It’s a shining example of using a practice newsletter to provide extra value and keep past patients engaged.
Arthritis is not a fun topic, but this is a fun newsletter! AMTA worked closely with their designer to paint the picture of what conquering pain looks like. Showing success is a great way to encourage your patients to come back in!
Do you work with a split or bilingual demographic? No need to pick sides! This great design elegantly includes multiple languages while using strong visuals to communicate the primary message.
This is a beautifully clean design that focuses on one specific topic – back pain. You won’t be able to personally connect with your mailing list in every issue… but if you rotate common conditions you will make a much deeper connection with certain ones each month. Conditions are a great way to get specific people to take action.