To complement “Expert Advice: How can I use digital marketing to grow my practice?” in the February 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: Running a successful email newsletter is all about providing interesting, quality content that engages readers and inspires them to share.
A weekly or monthly email newsletter has several benefits. First, it’s a way to keep in touch with your clients between visits—acting as a regular reminder that you are there to address pain when it arises. Second, your newsletter is a way you can go above and beyond for your clients; you are not only there to address pain, you are there to educate. People talk about businesses that go above and beyond for them, resulting in increased word-of-mouth and a continual stream of new clients.
Start by choosing a software program to manage your email newsletters. This will save you tons of time compared with managing them manually, and you won’t have to worry about complying with anti-spam legislation. Programs such as MailChimp and Constant Contact make it easy to design and send email campaigns, help manage your subscribers and help you comply with anti-spam rules.
Having a newsletter means little if no one reads it. So how do you get people to subscribe to your newsletter—and stay on your list?
1. Score Your First Subscribers
The natural place to start your list is with your existing clients. You have already built trust with them, so many will be open to receiving your email newsletter. There are two strategies you can use to reach out to existing clients:
- Strategy 1: Send out an opt-in email. This email will simply ask clients if they’d like to subscribe to your newsletter and include a link to the sign-up form. (The form itself will be provided by the software program you use to manage your list.) Clients who would like to subscribe will simply click the link and fill out the sign-up form. That’s it—they are now subscribed.
- Strategy 2: Ask clients if they’d like to subscribe to your newsletter. After their massage session, ask them if they’d like to receive your email newsletter and have a paper sign-up form handy for them to fill out. The paper sign-up form just needs a line for their name, a line for their email address, and a checkbox or signature line to confirm that they’d like to subscribe. Once they’ve opted in, you can manually add their names and email addresses to your email program.
2. Build Your Subscriber List
Once you have signed up existing clients, it’s time to get your sign-up form out into the world. The natural place to put your sign-up form is on your website. You may want to work with the person who helped you set up your website for this part, because it’s a bit technical—but for anyone who already knows website coding, this should only take about 10 minutes. Your email program will provide you with code for the sign-up form; it’s typically a simple matter of copying and pasting this code to your website, and the signup form will appear.
Additionally, you can put the link to your sign-up form on your social media profiles, or in Facebook’s case, you can even put the sign-up form directly on your business’ profile page.
3. Give People a Reason to Subscribe to Your Newsletter
Whether it’s your existing clients, or people who find you online, the only way people are going to subscribe is if you give them a reason to subscribe—and your best weapon for gaining subscribers is creating great content. In order to get people interested in your email newsletter (and to keep them from unsubscribing), you have to create content they find very interesting.
We have all signed up to email newsletters in the past. Some we look forward to getting; others we delete right away or unsubscribe from. The difference typically comes down to one thing: One email has good content we’re interested in reading, and the other does not.
Your ultimate goal is finding topics that resonate with your clients. This will keep your open rates high and entice subscribers to share your content with friends and family, helping you grow your subscriber list even more.
A good way to measure if people are interested in your content is by looking at your open rate, a statistic provided by most email programs. If a certain email has a really high open rate, you know that’s a topic your clients are interested in—and you can plan to write more about it in future newsletters.
4. Create an Extra Incentive
While great content will always determine how successful your email newsletters are, sometimes a little extra incentive to subscribe doesn’t hurt. For example, you can offer a discount on the client’s next session, or enter new subscribers into a contest drawing for a valuable prize. Just getting your foot in the door is often the hardest part. Think about what incentive will get people interested in signing up—and then keep them on board by providing amazing content every week or month.
With the right email software, interesting content and strategies in place to gain new email subscribers, you can run a successful email newsletter that gives your clients something to talk about—and inspires them to book appointments with you more often.
Daniel Ruscigno is the co-founder of ClinicSense, which offers clinic management software that helps with scheduling, intake forms, SOAP notes, billing, email marketing and more. He has written several articles for MASSAGE Magazine, including the expert advice column “How can I use digital marketing to grow my practice?” in the February 2016 issue.