Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Features Business Technology
The Inbox Revolution


October 26, 2011
By Stephane Laverdiere DC

Topics

A master e-mail address list is a practice tool you absolutely want to have in place.

A master e-mail address list is a practice tool you absolutely want to have in place.

We all receive monthly or weekly e-mail advertisements from popular retailers announcing product specials ranging from computers to furniture to airline flights. For example, whether or not you’re a fan of Southwest Airlines, they have witty commercials and understand both advertising and e-mail. One of their latest ads is printed on cocktail napkins. It says “Stop searching and start saving with click and save, E-Mails sign up online.” Crazy but brilliant! These are companies that spend millions in print media and TV advertising and now have become experts in e-mail advertising, battling hard for your e-mail spot. Simply stated, e-mail is the most affordable and effective form of reaching potential clients today.

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If we simply observe what these companies are doing, and why they are doing it, we can create a “chiropractic recipe for success” in e-mail marketing and lead generation.

Companies are now shifting advertising campaign money and expending energy growing their prospective e-mail lists. Have you ever noticed that some retailers will ask for your postal code and e-mail address every time you buy something? And when you place an online order, an e-mail address is mandatory. Companies are able to generate a large e-mail database from what we call “warm leads.” These are clients who are already using their products or services, or have inquired about them.

Some companies buy e-mail lists – these are classified as “cold leads.” We already discussed the use of cold leads and the new regulations that pertain to these within the last edition of DC Tech Talk under the topic of Bill C-28. If you are not familiar with Bill C-28, make sure you know the facts before you start using cold leads. There are rules and regulations related to buying an e-mail list and you need to know these. Do your homework before you spend your hard-earned cash on cold leads; better yet, don’t waste your money. Why would you want to buy a list and advertise health products or services to someone who isn’t and may never be health conscious? Food for thought!

As a chiropractor, you have so many avenues for collecting warm leads to create an e-mail wave in your community. Only a handful of chiropractors are doing it, so be the first in your community to master the Internet via e-mail. Let me tell you about some of these gems that so few chiropractors are tapping into.

ROCK YOUR TALK!
A good number of chiropractors present talks outside their offices or hold outreach events in order to build chiropractic awareness and promote their practice. If you are one of these DCs, you should be collecting valuable e-mail addresses at all of these events. If you don’t have a huge advertising budget you need to communicate with prospective patients via e-mail.

For example, if you do a screening, the potential new patient is interested enough in your service to stop and take part in the screening. Many times we are disappointed that they don’t accept the offer of a discounted examination. What you do with their name and the e-mail they may have left with you, however, will make all the difference in the world. Most chiropractors will, at best, send these people a letter or a newsletter. But, if a person wasn’t interested at your screening, what makes you think they’re going to respond to a letter in the next two weeks? If someone is interested in a product but not ready to buy, it could take months before that person decides to buy that item. The same concept applies to health care, especially if the person in question is not in tune with the concept of wellness. However, most people are in tune with the idea of needing care in a crisis period. Potential patients might not understand the whole concept of wellness – and/or how chiropractic fits into this – as of yet, and until they have a crisis they might not be ready to use your chiropractic services. Therefore, in order to keep that lead viable, you need to stay in constant contact with that person every single month until they do one of two things: sign up or ask you to stop sending them information. Either way, you will have made contact with them, and given them something to think about. If you lose contact with that warm lead, don’t fret: if you have a period of contact with them, and they have a health problem down the road, you will have exponentially increased the chances of them deciding to try chiropractic.

The key is sending them pertinent information that is communicated with cutting-edge technology sent right to their inboxes. A great e-mail campaign will not only keep you in front of your warm leads, but also help you convert them into new patients.

Collecting e-mails at screenings, corporate talks and outside events is a great way to build your database of warm leads.

MAKE IT INTERESTING AND RELEVANT TO HEALTH
By offering to send folks pertinent health information, you’re going to prompt some of the guests at your talks, corporate events, etc., to provide their e-mail addresses – but not all of them will. Most people, today, need an incentive to drive them over the edge and make that decision to share their e-mail. So, make it interesting for them to do so! When you ask them for their e-mail, let them know you’re going to send them important health information and include them in a draw for a prize. Make the prize attractive and relevant to health: not a barbecue set. You laugh, but chiropractors sometimes come up with the strangest ideas.

What if your practice style is driven mostly by internal marketing? Then you may want to consider ideas like letting your patients know you’re starting a new patient education initiative that involves e-mail, and they are going to be receiving information about the chiropractic lifestyle right to their inbox. If you communicate the importance of forwarding these e-mails to friends and family, you create a viral component to your e-mail, which is another topic in itself.

If you already have some e-mail addresses and just want to expand your patient e-mail list, make a compelling offer. Everyone wants something and people these days know their e-mail is valuable. I was even asked for my e-mail at the local gas station recently and the offer was the usual – my name was entered in a draw. Ask your patients for their e-mail addresses and offer them a chance at an interesting prize for giving them to you. Better yet, have them campaign for their friends’ e-mail addresses and give them an incentive for every e-mail address they provide.

UTILIZING YOUR OWN WEBSITE
Your website is also an important means of collecting e-mail addresses. Have easy access for potential patients who are surfing and make it simple for them to sign up for e-mails. If you are not collecting e-mail addresses, or if you make it difficult for them to sign up for e-mails, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

THE VALUE OF NETWORKING
Another idea is to create relationships with other vendors in your community as a way to collect e-mail addresses. Work with the local health-food store, your dentist, your local optometrist and other health professionals to create a master e-mail list. The sign-up form might simply state they will receive information on health and wellness from the participating professionals. Each professional, and the name of their office or clinic, would be listed on the sign-up form. Wow! What a great way to network and collect leads.

Have a staff meeting and start building on and using some of these ideas to increase your master e-mail list. Be creative and start collecting: e-mail lists are golden!

If you have unique ideas, e-mail Canadian Chiropractor and share them. We will include them in a future article.


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