22 Ways to Boost Your E-Newsletter and Internal Marketing Results

Internet Marketing for Attorneys, Surgeons, and Dentists

By, Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing

We all probably acknowledge that referrals make for the best leads. They convert at a higher level and are typically more in-line with the services you offer.  They also tend to trust you more immediately and later become referrers themselves.  

Unfortunately, most practices recognize the value and benefits of referrals, but continue to focus and invest money almost exclusively on advertising and marketing to generate new contacts. To help re-direct some of your attention and get you started marketing to your most important target audience, I would like to share an updated 22 Elements and Tips to Improve Your E-Newsletters.

  1. Design – Don't skimp on the design and layout of your newsletter.  It needs to reflect the quality of your practice and information you share. If you don't have a professionally designed newsletter format, or if you need to update your existing one, make an upfront investment.  I will be worth it in the long run.

  2. Branding – In addition to it looking professional, your newsletter needs to be synergistic with the rest of your online marketing and brand.  The use of your branded colors, logo, graphics, slogans need to be strategically included in your design.

  3. Click-worthy Subject Line – One essential key to getting recipients to open your e-newsletter is developing creative and compelling subject lines.  Don't be afraid to try different strategies; avoid developing them in a vacuum by testing them with others.

  4. Quality Content – Your newsletter should be built around a primary, high-interest article or articles.  Your content should be informative, useful and interesting to a large segment of your audience.  This requires that you a) know your audience, b) lose the sales hype and promotion-only focus, and c) compose it with the intent of making it personal and relevant.

  5. Concise and On-point – As with all email-driven content, your newsletter content needs to be informative, but brief and concise for readers that “scan.”  The average person only spends about 51 seconds reading newsletters.  Get to the point quickly and utilize effective headlines, bullet points, shorter sentences and paragraphs.

  6. Visuals – Newsletters that get more widely read include visuals that help tell the story.  We process visuals 60,000 times faster than reading text.  In addition, use as many custom photos as possible and substitute stock photography whenever possible. 

  7. Copyright – Be aware of copyright issues when using images, quotes, statistics, and include citations or references if and when appropriate.

  8. Calls to Action – E-newsletters also need to be interactive and give readers the ability to engage and take next steps.  This should not be limited to sales and promotions.  Other specific calls to action can be found below.

  9. Linking Strategies – In line with being concise, effective newsletters leverage snippets of interesting articles to gain interest and link to the full article on your website.  This helps visitors interact with your message and driving traffic to more substantive content on your website.  This creates more marketing synergy and can even boost your SEO results.

  10. Table of Contents – To help improve newsletter navigation and your link strategy, include a quick table of contents for visitors to quickly identify relevant content. 

  11. Extra Value Content – In addition to your main article, give viewers bonus information that is interesting and useful, such as statistics, links to other resources, infographics, etc.  Other ideas can include monthly tips, how to's, interesting quotes, quizzes, etc.

  12. Proof Read, Re-Proof, and Proof Read Again - The perceived quality of your practice is in the details.  Have your content reviewed by at least two people, but three eyes are better.  Different perspective will catch different issues and provide better feedback.

  13. Sharing – One important strategy to expand your audience is to prompt readers to share it with others.  Include share buttons and calls to action to help grow your viewership.

  14. Opt-in Forms – Once you get new viewers to see and read your newsletter, you need to include an subscription form to add them to your database and those who they may forward it to.

  15. Contact Information – In addition to your branding, your newsletters should also include your business’ full contact information.  List all the possible ways to reach you including your website address, phone number, email, and even a contact person when possible.

  16. Mobile-Ready – Statistics indicate that the majority of email (and e-newsletters) are being received and opened using mobile devices, particularly smartphones.  Thus, not only does your newsletter information need to be concise, it must be designed to maximize mobile navigation and consumption.

  17. Unsubscribe Link – E-newsletters must also provide easy and convenient ways for recipients to opt-out of your mailings, typically located in the footer. However, your unsubscribe process should include a confirmation step.

  18. Feedback – The Unsubscribe link should not be the only way a viewer can provide feedback.  Ask for your audience for “Feedback” and be sure to acknowledge and respond to those that do.

  19. Consistency – Developing a loyal e-newsletter audience and customer base requires consistency in your delivery.  Find the frequency and time that best meets your audience’s needs and deliver a quality newsletter that they expect and even anticipate.

  20. Your Database – The value of your e-newsletter is only as good as the audience you build. Of course you need to manage and clean up your database.  But you also must add to your database.  Every database has some attrition, so it is imperative to continually expand it.  Strategies and protocols to collect emails from your customers, professional referral sources, prospects, social media and website visitors are essential to your overall marketing efforts.

  21. Email Distribution – Although some practice management software includes email capabilities, sending out bulk email through it is not recommended.  Rather, use an email distribution service that is designed specifically for email communication and deliverability.  Your email marketing will be easier, more professional, and can provide much more tracking data to constantly improve your efforts and results.

  22. Promotions and Calls-to-action - Although we don't want to only focus on self-serving promotions (tip #4), we do want some strategic viewers to take some action or "next step".  This can be a subtle referral reminder, new service offering, a seasonal special or offer.  If at all possible, use imagery, photos, or graphics to enhance the visibility and engagement of this section.

In addition, e-newsletters and database marketing need to be seen as an integral part of your "whole" marketing effort. Done right, it can even impact your SEO results, lead generation/conversion, and brand awareness.  So ask yourself, "How much of your marketing budget and attention are you allocating to your most important target audience?"