5 Best Practices for Getting Started with Email Marketing

Email Marketing Best Practices

 

Are you finding it harder to get patients from traditional referral sources?

All the strategies to hold down healthcare costs are beginning to take a toll on private practice owners. Overhead expenses continue to rise, and profit margins shrink. Both take a significant bite out of therapists salaries.

Raising your fees really doesn’t do any good because no one expects United Healthcare to raise reimbursement rates anytime soon. They haven’t for the last 20 years so why should they now.  (Don’t get me started on that). 

Direct access doesn’t happen overnight. Less reliance on physician referrals hasn’t been a smooth transition for most clinics. 

A new set of marketing and technological skills are needed. 

Practice owners are looking for cost-effective ways to attract and retain patients that are a good fit for their practices.

You’ve probably heard the latest buzz about how easy and inexpensive it is to advertise with ads on Facebook and Google. Before you jump on the bandwagon and spend your hard earned cash on advertising you really don’t understand, consider this.

Nearly half of the world’s population is predicted to be using email by 2020. 

That means most of your patients will be using email as a primary method of communication to an ever-widening circle of people including their healthcare providers.  

Patients have demanded more transparency, value, and personalization from their healthcare providers, progressive owners have adapted.

New technology and best practices for email marketing help therapists to revamp their growth strategies in this new landscape.

As a result, email marketing has become a vital part of a growing therapy practice. Any therapist who is not using email is missing a prime opportunity to improve patient care and have a bottom-line impact.

Any therapist not using email is missing a prime opportunity to improve patient care and have a bottom-line impact.Click To Tweet

However, there’s more to email marketing than meets the eye.

Patient Retention: Hidden Revenue in Your Therapy Practice

PATIENT RETENTION

 

In recent conversations with practice owners, I sensed more anxiety on how to keep their businesses profitable.

Downward pressure on healthcare costs (including therapists’ incomes) has owners looking for ways to generate more revenues to offset rising overhead expenses.(therapists pay for health insurance too)

Some therapists are cranking up the “referral machine” to treat more patients per hour through assistants and techs. Numerous practices are becoming high volume dependent to make ends meet.

A hurried pace with an overbooked schedule can lead to staff burnout, patient dissatisfaction, and missing potential income right under our noses. Let me ask you an honest question.

What would you say will be the most significant driver of your practice’s growth over the next 1-3 years?

If you answered more referrals, you’re probably mistaken.

Most likely, it’s probably retaining patients you already have for a lifetime, according to a KPMG survey.

This article takes a look at this hidden source of income and how to make it yours.

I’ll help you understand how to improve your patient retention and identify actions that might result in producing more revenue.

Is Gmail HIPAA Compliant for Therapy Practices?

Gmail HIPAA Compliant

 

When therapy practices venture into the realm of email marketing, probably the number one question asked is:

Is Gmail HIPAA compliant?

Free personal email services like Gmail, Outlook, or Apple Mail were created to help people conveniently communicate with one another. Ease of use and readable text are higher priorities than security.

Because they are so easy to use there it’s tempting to use apps that you’re familiar with in your business to email prospects and patients. 

Unfortunately, email services like Gmail are not designed for healthcare practices working under HIPAA regulations. Any emails through these services are vulnerable to privacy issues and if you’re not careful a HIPAA violation.

Gmail by default is for personal use and not business use. But there may be a workaround that might allow you to use Google products to send marketing emails that are HIPAA compliant. 

Do’s & Don’ts of Email Marketing In a Therapy Practice

do's and dont's of email marketing in a therapy practice.

 

In one sense, you’ve probably already been using email to develop your therapy practice. Before you had a website or a Facebook account you used email to communicate with colleagues and reach out to prospects.

It’s been nearly 50 years since Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with inventing email sent the first message. After I received an American Online free trial CD in the mail in 1996, I set up my first AOL account and heard my first “You’ve Got Mail” greeting.

Like most of you, I’ve become dependent on email as my primary mode of communication in my personal life and business. 

Typically, the usefulness of a tech tool fades over time but not so with email. To this day email remains the preferred way to communicate with friends, family, and business associates all over the globe.

A recent study by Adestra reports that 73 percent of Millennials prefer businesses communicate with them via email. Also, nearly half of respondents used email to make purchases online.

Email is a fantastic way to communicate with our patients. A growing number of our patients prefer to hear from their therapists by way of email.

A growing number of patients prefer to hear from their therapists by way of email. It's a fantastic way to connect.Click To Tweet

How to Corner the Market As A Trusted Expert

How to corner the market

 

When therapists struggle to fill their schedules they dream about being so well respected that patients flock to them. They believe the fallacy that if they just went to another seminar or earned another certification then the public would recognize them as an expert. They would somehow “corner the market” because no one else does therapy like them and gets the same results.

They would somehow “corner the market” because no one else does therapy like them and gets the same results.

We see course instructors that have mastered knowledge of a subject matter and seemingly have successful practices. When in reality they have learned how to give presentations and make money doing it. This may or may not translate into a steady stream of patients waiting for them when they return.

 

Self-proclaimed experts

 

In these days of social media boasting, it seems like everyone is a self-proclaimed expert. It’s becoming more difficult to establish yourself as a true expert from all the pretenders out there. The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert. That designation is for other people to determine not you.

The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert.Click To Tweet

The first step in becoming a recognized expert is to acknowledge that you are not going to help everyone in your community who needs you. There will always be people who do not choose you. Be honest with yourself, why don’t people choose you?

Be especially careful of any idealized self-image that can come with being a healer. It’s a huge persona to live up to and traps many therapists in a lifelong delusion. The more you are unaware of protecting your professional image, the more it will hinder important self-examination of why people don’t choose you.

But some people do choose you. Why?

How Do We Transform Our Patients Lives?

Lesson Learned from an Africa Missionary

 

holistic healing

 

One of the current trends, when internet marketers sell their products online, is the promise of life transformation. Pat Flynn’s interview with Adam Bruan of Pencils of Promise, touts their ability to show us How to Create Extraordinary Change and Transform the World. In my experience, the road to real transformation is a lot longer and is intertwined with the total person.

So many of our patients need sustainable health transformation rather than the temporary relief of symptoms. Their medical problems don’t begin and end the minute they step into our clinics. Western medicine tends to focus on outward symptoms which fragment people into isolated conditions or body parts.

As therapists need to step back and take into account the whole picture of our patients’ health before we can diagnose and treat our patients. Patients are often in need a change in lifestyle.

The focus of holistic health is to look at the underlying causes of a condition or symptoms. Holistic health as described by the American Holistic Health Association: 

“Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible.”

In order to achieve optimal wellness, most people will need trusted guide to come alongside for the long journey. We might need to get uncomfortable while we let go of our “professional distance”. In order to get a fresh perspective on holistic transformation, I want us to look outside the healthcare industry. 

This post by my friend, Martin Simiyu, an African missionary whom I deeply respect describes the approach his organization, Possibilities Africa, takes to bring about the transformation of entire communities.

My hope is that this blog post will inspire and inform us on how we might bring about lasting life transformation in our patients.

What is Patient Relationship Management?

PATIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

 

Do you take your patients for granted?

 

When I think about the absolute essentials of a thriving therapy practice. Three essentials come to mind:

  1. Remarkable patient experience
  2. Remarkable provider-patient relationships
  3. Remarkable profit margin

In all of these factors, relationships play a vital role. You might say its all about relationships.

Unfortunately in the hurried pace of healthcare sometimes therapists take patients for granted. Some therapists have allowed the minutiae of insurance demands and government regulations to crowd the most important predictor of practice success–positive patient relationships.

Therapists tend to focus their resources on getting new referrals rather than retaining current patients for life. Choosing where to invest your energy and time can be challenging, especially when it comes to marketing. It’s tempting to look beyond investing in the patient relationship right in front of you to a referral stream that’s “out there someplace”. In reality, every one of your patients has the potential to become a referral source.

Some of you may believe you already know what your patients want and that you deliver exceptional service. But have you ever asked them what they think of your scheduling process, your payment policies or their satisfaction with the care they received from your assistants?

A loyal patient is not made just through great therapy, though obviously, results do matter. It’s paying attention to the essential details that make patients’ entire experience at your clinic exceptional. In order for your clinic to stand out, you’ll need to strive to execute the practice essentials with every patient.

A loyal patient is not made just through great therapy outcomes, though obviously, results do matter. It’s paying attention to the essential details that make patients’ entire experience at your clinic exceptional. In order for your clinic to stand out from the competition, you’ll need to strive to execute the practice essentials with every patient.

The question is how do I do this with so many demands on my time?

How To Read Your Patients’ Minds

how to read your patient's minds

Don’t you wish you could read your patients’ minds?

At times it would be helpful to know what people are thinking and feeling when we interact with them. We do our best to motivate them to check out our services or follow through with their plan of care. Too often they just don’t seem to get it and we have no clue why.

Here’s what a prospective patient with back pain might be saying to themselves…

“Severe back pain just hit me again, and I’m anxious that I’ll have to take time off from work.

I can’t decide if I want to see a therapist or a chiropractor, I’ve heard good and bad things about both. Next, if I go with a therapist, I must decide which one.

I do a quick Google search and see there are two clinics the same distance from my work so I base my decision on which clinic has the easiest way to schedule an appointment; I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the phone.(which my boss hates)

An important factor for people like me when deciding where to get healthcare, is can I trust them. What’s their bedside manner like? How much time will it take? How much will cost? What will they do to me?

The problem for us is we don’t know what the experience will be like until we’re already there. That makes me a little anxious but this pain is killing me.

While I definitely prefer physical therapy to chiropractors, I also value my time, and I’m not going to spend a half a day just to get some help. I want the total experience to be something I can live with and afford.”

If a therapist created a patient journey map for this acute back pain patient they could quickly see an opportunity to capitalize on prospects who want to take the hassle out of healthcare. Creating a patient journey map can be a challenge but is well worth the effort.

Lifecycle Marketing – How to Grow your Practice and Feel Good about It

Lifecycle Markeing

 

There are a lot of people who want your money

There are a lot of marketers on the Internet who want to take your money. They promise you how to effortlessly get a steady stream of patients–in exchange for your hard earned cash. Their pitch goes something like this…

 

How Bob Got 22 New Patients In One Hour

By Doing Just “One Thing” Really Well

 

It sounds too good to be true (probably is) but the headline still grabs you. You’re vulnerable, you’ve tried marketing but have nagging doubts you’re doing it right. You’re passionate and good at what you do but this marketing thing is frustrating.

You say to yourself, “It can’t be that hard, I’m intelligent, after all, I made it through graduate school, didn’t I?” Somehow if people knew you and understood how you could help them, your schedule would be packed.

None-the-less, new referrals trickle in and you still have open slots in your schedule. Growing your practice sure seems a lot harder than it should be and it takes forever to see any results.

In a weak moment, when patient visits are down you buy the guru’s book or sign up for a training program. You might even fly to a conference in another city. You jump head first into the hottest marketing program, put in the work and see some initial progress.

But then you hit the wall.

You find things not adding up like you had hoped. The marketing tactics don’t feel right. They feel way too pushy and unprofessional. They take too much time away from patient care and your personal life. Trust me I’ve been down that road a couple of times.

Those of us who have lived most of our careers in the healthcare ecosystem have a limited perspective on attracting people who need our services. We have lived so long under the physician referral system it’s hard to see getting patients any other way.

What we need is a fresh perspective on attracting and keeping new patients. Let’s take a new look on how to attract, connect and delight new patients through a process called lifecycle marketing.

Make Your Practice Something Worth Talking About

Something Worth Talking About

 

If you’re anything like I was when I first started my practice, then you probably believe marketing is using an arsenal of tactics to help bring in patients.

You might have also spent a lot of time reading books, listening to podcasts and going to conferences trying to find an approach that works.

You want a way to market that doesn’t make you feel sleazy, pushy or unprofessional. You don’t one to be “one of those guys”.

 

one of those guys

 

Now it’s time to throw 90% of that information away.