Over the years I have heard numerous clients (personal injury lawyers, plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists and dentists) tell me that they get their best cases from referrals. If you actively track your lead sources and look at your ROI for each category, I am sure you will find the same thing. Referred leads are best.
- Higher conversion rates
- Better case value
You know this, too. Yet if you are like many attorneys, doctors and dentists I know, you still spend far more money on TV advertising, Yellow Page advertising, and even website marketing - this one is a good investment ;-) - to try to generate new non-bonded leads than you spend on referral marketing. And, significantly, you haven't really dedicated the time or made the financial investment to develop a dedicated email database marketing strategy.
Don't get me wrong. New leads are important. You should try to generate new leads. Obviously, we strongly believe that if you are a personal injury attorney, plastic surgeon, ophthalmologist or dentist, SEO and website marketing is a tremendous vehicle to generate leads, cases and revenue for your practice.
But, we also firmly believe that you should not ignore your referral sources - including your current and former clients/patients that you already spent a lot of money to generate.
In today's digital world, even with the growth of social media, email database marketing is still the best way to stay in front of your referral sources and generate more quality leads and cases. Remember - Your best leads come from referrals (and from repeat business from existing clients and patients).
Here are the steps you should be taking to set up and manage your email database and to implement your email database marketing program:
- Make sure you capture the email address of every new lead that comes to your practice regardless of whether it is from email, chat or phone. You already paid to generate that lead.
- Confirm that you have the email address of every new and existing client/patient.
- Review your database for all clients whose case you handled (or patients you treated) in the last five years. Confirm that you have an email address for that person. If you don’t, call them and get it. This is important. You need to get the email addresses of all of your current and past clients/patients into your email database.
- Make sure you have the email address of every attorney, doctor or other referral source who has ever referred a client or patient to you. Brainstorm and put together a list of all potential referral sources. Then track down the email address for each and every referral source. This is crucial. If you run an email campaign with a partial list, it will only be partially effective.
- Put all of the email addresses into a database or email management program.
- Separate or group current clients (patients) from past clients (patients).
- Separate out leads that did not become clients or patients.
- Separate out actual referral sources from potential referral sources.
- Create a series of email drip campaigns to each category in your database. The emails should be short and should be relevant to the people in each group.
- Create a drip follow-up campaign for each new lead (encourage them to call you, remind them about your services, use testimonials)
- Create a drip follow-up campaign for each existing client or patient (tips and advice are good on this one)
- Make special offers to encourage them to call
- Write and send a monthly (or at a minimum quarterly) e-newsletter to everybody in your database. The e-newsletter should highlight recent successes and newsworthy items in your practice as well as recent developments that may be relevant for your practice or your clients. The goal here is to demonstrate that you are current in all relevant matters. You should make a point of describing a different practice area (or procedure) each month so that all your referral sources have a clear idea of the full scope of your practice and the types of cases that you want. And don't forget to make special offers if you can, or give them an incentive to call your practice now.
- Last but not least, take time to analyze the data. How many emails were opened? How many clicked through to your website? If you can determine it, figure out who opened various emails so that when you start seeing a pattern you can reach out directly to those people.
There are a number of great email marketing options out there including off the shelf online services like ConstantContact, ResultsMail and MailChimp. Your practice’s CRM software may have an email marketing module that you can use. Or, you can use a custom CRM program like SmileReminder, BlueOrchid or MyLeadConverter and MyMedLeads. Some of these will also help you with your analytics.
Think TOMA - Top Of Mind Awareness. These are people with whom you have relationships. In some cases, you have very good relationships. You want to make sure that you are on top of their minds so that when they hear about one of their friends, colleagues or family members who needs your services, they will think of you and YOU will get the referral rather than one of your competitors.
An email database marketing program can be highly affordable and cost effective. It is one of the best things you can do to increase the ROI from your existing processes advertising and website marketing. Remember - referrals are the easiest to convert and are usually the most valuable leads/clients/patients in your practice.
~ Dan Goldstein
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