Recently, I felt like I needed to either hire someone to help me organize my patient email communication process, or find a system that would simplify my life. My goals were simple. I wanted a newsletter, an email response system to educate new patients, and the ability to send birthday emails with a discount coupon. I thought about paying someone, but realized most of the work would fall back on my shoulders anyway. I'd still have to organize my patient data list, write the monthly newsletter, and write the script for the patient education emails. The person I hired would only be in charge of putting the system in place and organizing it.
I did a little research and found that someone had already created a system that fit my needs. You are probably already somewhat aware of this system because you see it come across your inbox on daily basis. If you Google "email marketing" the top two companies that show up are Constant Contact and MailChimp.
I was introduced to Constant Contact several years ago and had a good experience with it. This time around, a marketing specialist in my community suggested MailChimp, so I decided to give it a try. Both programs are similar, but MailChimp offers FREE email service as long as your list is 2,000 recipients or less, allowing up to 12,000 emails per month. Constant Contact, on the other hand, has a minimal fee of $15 per month. If you are just starting out and trying to grow your contact list, you could save considerable money by starting with MailChimp.
I'm not ultra sophisticated when it comes to email marketing systems, but I have to admit that MailChimp did an excellent job of bringing me up to speed with about a half-day of time invested. They offer a simple solution with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.
First, I spent a little time making sure my patient data files were up to date and organized. If I was missing any patient data, I made a quick phone call to say hello and gather the missing information. This was actually a pleasant experience for both my patients and myself. I even booked a few appointments during the process. I'd say, time well spent.
Next, I compiled a spreadsheet containing patient data. I'm not an Excel spreadsheet expert, but it was pretty simple to do. At this point, it's a good idea to scroll through to make sure your data is all in the correct places and that you aren't missing any important information. Make sure that first names and last names are in separate columns, that first names are capitalized and spelled correctly, and that you have everyone's email addresses.
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