More Referrals Even While You Sleep

How To Put Email Marketing On Autopilot

Referrals While You Sleep

“I know how important new referrals are but I barely have enough time to treat my patients and get my documentation done. Who has any time to market anyway?”

If you’re like most therapists you can relate to the above sentiments. However, you’ve probably also experienced times when a steady stream of new patients added vitality and income to your clinic. Plus it’s just more fun when the patient flow hums along.

Knowing the value of new referrals is not the problem.

The problem is how do we generate new referrals when most of our time and focus is on taking care of the patient right in front of us.

The problem is how do we generate new referrals when most of our time and focus is on taking care of the patient right in front of us.Click To Tweet

 

In order to successfully manage my solo therapy practice I had to wear many hats. In addition to a full case load, extra time was devoted to billing, the next moment it might be personnel and the next might be cleaning the bathroom.

One thing I always struggled with was to block out regular time for marketing. It seemed the only time I made it a priority was when our schedules became uncomfortably slow. Only then would I have the  motivation and time to generate more referrals.

It wasn’t like my patients didn’t get great results or that I didn’t have significant database of people I’d helped. The problem have I had NO idea how to use my client list to grow my practice. If only I had a marketing system that operated on autopilot. Now that would be just what the doctor ordered. 

Just What The Doctor Ordered

My main problem was that I had no real strategy to keep in touch with my previous clients. I had no way to nurture relationships in case they needed therapy services in the future.

I remember vividly one particular total knee patient that experienced great results with her rehab at our clinic. Later I found out she had the other knee done but went to another clinic because she forgot about us. I lost the referral because I hadn’t stayed top of mind when she needed therapy. 

My goal is to help you create a system to nurture positive relationships with your current and previous patients. In this series of blog posts I’m showing you a strategy to streamline and automate as much of your email marketing.

This post is the third step in my six-part Word of Mouth Referral Series. In the Word of Mouth Referral series, I’m sharing my step-by-step system to increase referrals by sending great emails. In case you missed the first three blog posts, you can read them by clicking on the links below:

Intro: Word of Mouth Referrals Vs. Traditional Referrals
Step 1: Why a CRM is THE Secret Weapon for Getting Referrals
Step 2: How To Organize And Segment Your Connections Lists
Step 3: How To Automatically Send Group Emails
Step 4: How To Write Great Emails That Get Results
Round Up Post By Experts in Email Marketing

 

Email Markeint Cheatsheet

 

What are the different lists you should have?

The type of lists you should have depends on what stage of business you’re in. In a previous blog post I discussed 3 different phases of practice growth.

3 Steps For A Great Email Marketing System

 

Step 1: Adopt An Email Marketing Mindset

As a full-time therapist/part-time marketer, you need to use a method that gives you the highest ROI than any other marketing channel. You don’t have the extra bandwidth to waste on what doesn’t work.

Your practice’s most valuable asset is your current and previous clients. The most profitable and cost effective way to nurture a positive relationship with them is through email. Don’t take my word for it, let’s look at some stats:

* Email is 40X more effective than social media marketing
* Email generates 17% higher average order values than social media

Simply put, using email over Facebook ads is like loading your practice’s ATM with $50 bills rather than $1 bills. If you adopt a mindset that email is your best use of your time then you’ll be more willing to put in the upfront work.

Simply put, using email over Facebook ads is like loading your practice’s ATM with $50 bills rather than $1 bills.Click To Tweet

You won’t strengthen relationships with clients or generate any referrals if you don’t commit to it. If you go at it half-hearted or when you get around to it, it just won’t work. Your practice grows where your focus goes. Commit to growing and connecting with the people on your lists and you’ll eventually get more referrals(even in your sleep).

 

Step 2: Choose An Email Service Provider

If you’re in the Practice Startup Phase and have less than 500 emails I suggest you use Microsoft Outlook or Gmail to send your emails. Even though sending emails manually will take more time, it’s worth it to keep your setup simple as possible. Since your volume isn’t that great and you have plenty of other things to do, a manual approach is the way to get started. 

The second step in the Word of Mouth Referral Series I showed you how to organize and segment your contacts into different lists. Different lists allow you to send the right email to the right person instead of a generic newsletter.

People are overloaded with emails so they don’t take the time to read a general newsletter. But most people will open a personalized email that contains useful content tailored to their needs. A carefully crafted email that feels like an email from a friend goes a long way in building trust and loyalty with your practice.

Create Reusable Email Templates

Next, you’ll create email templates in either Microsoft Word or Google Docs that you can use to send emails to your lists. A mail merge app will allow you to send the same email to a specific list through your business email account. As long as your list size is small you won’t have to be concerned that your email will be identified as spam.

If you’re in the Practice Growth Phase and have between 500 to 1,000 people you’ll want to choose an email service provider (ESP) that is designed to send out emails to large groups. You’ll also need an ESP to send an automated email sequence to different lists. Most services allow you to tag individuals with unique identifiers such according to diagnosis, age, etc. for sending emails only to specific groups 

Choose an Email Service Provider

Read the A Definitive Review of the Top 7 Email Marketing Services (2017) by Bryan Harris to narrow down your ESP choices. It will save you a lot of time and headaches. Most are comparable in price and features. They usually cost between $15 to $35/month if you have fewer than 1,000 people on your lists.

The ESP you select will allow you to create an email sequence that is automatically sent out to new patients. You’ll be able to automate your patient onboarding and a long term relationship nurturing processes.

I’m experimenting with HubSpot’s free CRM because it integrates with Gmail. It has the potential to link an awesome Client Relationship Management System (CRM) with Gmail for those of you are just getting started out and all for free. I’ll write a summary of my findings in a later post to let you know if it’s workable.

Without an integration feature between your CRM and your ESP, you’ll have to periodically export your contact information into your ESP usually in the form of a CSV file. Not a big time suck for small lists but it’s nice when it can be automated.

Create An Integrated Automated System

If your clinic is in the Practice Scale Phase you’ll want a robust system that integrates with your website and if possible your electronic medical records. A tight integration enables you to automate as much as possible and to capture new patient prospects via your website. An automated system is like hiring one or two employees to do marketing. Once you’ve set up your system you can easily create a form on your website and social media to reach out prospective patients.

The best-integrated product specifically designed for larger practices with large lists is StriveHub. StriveLabs has created a patient relationship management software for healthcare providers. StriveHub has the ability to receive patient demographic information from WebPT’s electronic medical records system. Two other marketing services for therapists to check out are Practice Promotions and BuildPT, both include email marketing capabilities. 

 

Step 3: Identify Touch Points

Your patients are all different. They have different needs, challenges, and goals. But every client that comes in contact with your practice goes through a similar lifecycle. Lifecycle marketing will guide you when using email to connect with your clients.

From the first point of contact, to their initial appointment, and all the way through their lifespan as a paying client, email nurtures deeper client relationships. Throughout a normal client lifespan, there are key touch points that you’ll want to identify.

Here’s what a touchpoint schedule might look like:
First message: Patient schedules an appointment
Second message: Day before the appointment
Third message: 2 Days after the first appointment
Fourth message: Once a week during treatment
Fifth message: Day after last treatment
Sixth message: One week after last treatment
Seventh message: One month after treatment
Eighth message: Recheck invitation six months after treatment

Enhance The Patient Experience Through Email

The client experience will be enhanced through scheduled personal communication. Successful patient outcomes will be reinforced and refferals requested both during and after treatment. Even though you discharge a patient from treatment you should rarely discharge them from a relationship.

 

Email Markeint Cheatsheet

 

What are the different lists you should have?

The type of lists you should have depends on what stage of business you’re in. In a previous blog post I discussed 3 different phases of practice growth.

Successful patient outcomes will be reinforced and refferals requested both during and after treatment. Even though you discharge a patient from treatment you should rarely discharge them from a relationship.Click To Tweet

You’ll want to choose with your staff five key touch points to start with. Begin with 3 to 5 emails as a part of your patient onboarding process. You can always add more email sequences later but start with onboarding emails to create a great first impression.

Once you’ve identified the touch points, the next step is to write great emails. We will cover how to write great emails in the next blog post in the Word of Mouth Referral series so stay tuned. In the meantime, you’ve got some work to do.

Five Benefits Of An Email System

Setting up a system to automatically send out personal, relevant emails to your clients does five things:

  1. Helps create a remarkable patient experience

  2. Nurtures the provider/patient relationships

  3. Saves you time and money

  4. Generates word of mouth referrals

  5. Helps you create impact through income

These tremendous benefits are realized with an email system that runs on autopilot(and yes even while you sleep).

I want to encourage you that no matter where you’re at right now or how you feel, creating a profitable, client relationship management system is within your reach. And I’m here to show you how to do it.

What would it take for you to take the next step in creating an outstanding patient relationship email system?

 

Email Marketing Guide

What are the different lists you should have?

The type of lists you should have depends on what stage of business you’re in. In a previous blog post I discussed 3 different phases of practice growth.

Paul Potter PTPaul Potter is a physical therapist and mentor who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, who is also a therapist. They have four daughters. For more than 35 years he successfully managed his own private practice. He now shares his knowledge and experience through teaching and mentoring therapists who want to have their own practice. 

He has authored On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice and the Cash Practice From Scratch Course. His website PaulPotterpt.com is dedicated to helping therapists achieve professional and financial freedom. Connect with Paul on his website or on LinkedIn paulpotterpt. You can also get more free resources at CashPracticeFromScratch.com