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Using newsletters in your marketing strategy

Email newsletters can be your cheapest and most effective form of marketing

When it comes to marketing your practice and growing your revenues, you don’t need to make things complicated. There are some simple laws of marketing which always apply in every situation. One of these key laws is that marketing to your existing customers is always more effective than marketing to non-customers.

Why is this?

Your existing customers have already purchased from you, which means that the hardest part of marketing has already taken place and you have gained their trust. Once a customer trusts you, they are more receptive to things you tell them about than someone who has never tried you before. This means that it is vital not to neglect your existing customers when it comes to planning your marketing promotions.

The best way you can inform existing customers of offers that will benefit them is to create a system of email newsletters. Newsletters are a great way to engage with your audience and to bring your business to their attention on a regular basis.

Before you start

Make sure you’re fully clear on your newsletter’s goal and how it fits into your larger marketing strategy. Keep in mind that your goal for the newsletter should be something beyond “how many people opened it”. Instead, it should be more closely tied to your overall business strategy.

Is your newsletter supposed to help you build your brand? Or add value to members of your Pet Health Plan? Whatever your reason, define your goal and let that guide your decisions as to what content you need to include each month.

Make it interesting

Once you’ve defined your strategy, then the next most important thing to bear in mind is that you need to make a newsletter that people want to read! If your email is boring or only about how great you are, then no one will want to read it.

Think carefully before you write. Think about your target customer and what they would like to read about. Make a short plan so that what you’re going to include is relevant and of value to your customers.

Health plans

Many clinics set up health plans and are content to just collect the monthly subscriptions, but there’s so much more you can be doing to give more value to your health plan members.

If health plan members can’t see and feel the benefits of their subscription, they are likely to cancel. By telling them about the special benefits they receive on their plan you reinforce in their minds the reason why they signed up. Give true value to your customers and they will repay you with their repeat custom.

You should be sending out a monthly newsletter to your health plan members. The aim is not to spam people with articles about how great you are, but to share timely and relevant advice to your clients reinforcing the benefits they receive from their plan.

Clients who sign up to a health plan are usually in the top-spending 20 percent of your customers and are your most loyal clients who are also most likely to purchase from you. They value what you have to say and trust your advice for their pets. This offers you a great opportunity, so don’t neglect this incredibly valuable resource!

Keep it simple

You should always keep the word count to a minimum in your newsletter. Don’t be tempted to cram too much in. Two links to interesting pet care articles and one section mentioning health plan benefits is a good ratio to start with.

Instead of including the full text of articles, use the first paragraph from a longer article and add a link through to your website so that people can click through to read the rest.

It’s not advisable to be too pushy about selling either – a good balance for your content should be around 80 percent educational to 20 percent promotional.

Be consistent

If you do decide that newsletters would be good for your practice, be consistent. Give your team a template to follow and make sure you commit to doing one per month. The benefits of being consistent will compound over time and you will be rewarded with the trust of your customers and a corresponding growth in your revenues.

Will Stirling

Will Stirling is a freelance marketing consultant who has worked in small animal practice marketing for over a decade, consulting on marketing strategy. He now spends his time helping independent veterinary clinics to grow and thrive.

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