by Diana Moore
Stay in contact and within your budget at the same time
If you haven’t tried reaching your clients by e-mail, you may find e-mail newsletters (e-newsletters) are a personal and cost-effective approach of reaching out and staying in touch with clients between sessions. A good e-newsletter can naturally lead to more frequent scheduling and more new client referrals, which is good for you and your new and established clients.
Make sure your e-newsletter gets read
Remember, people already get a lot of e-mail, so make sure your e-newsletter is not just fluff.
• Send mostly new information in each issue. For example, write about a special, expansion of services, changes in fees or staff, explanation of a technique, a client success story and/or a specific call to action.
• Keep the format simple.
• Keep the newsletter short and easy to read with plenty of white space.
• Send e-newsletters regularly. Your clients will begin to notice they come on a fixed schedule, and may start to look forward to the interesting articles or news.
How to get readers
• Ask clients to sign up when they come in for their sessions.
• Add people to your list when you give demos, presentations or attend networking groups.
• Ask visitors to register on your Web site. Prominently feature an opt-in box, and highlight the word “free.”
Guidelines to follow
These guidelines will help your e-newsletters get read by people who want to receive them.
• Get permission. Ask your clients before you ever send them anything. Include a permission box to check on your intake form. If they decline, accept that. Consider asking them again later, perhaps when you are thinking of an article or a special they may be interested in.
• Ask recipients to add your name to their address book, so the e-mails won’t get automatically dumped into their spam file.
• Tell recipients you will keep their contact information secure when they opt in. You can simply say, “I will never share or sell your e-mail address with anyone for any reason.”
• Make sure your address is recognizable, with a clear and professional subject line.
• Include a method of opting out on every email. It can be as simple as, “If you wish to quit receiving this e-mail, reply to this message with ‘Opt Out’ in the subject line.”
• Briefly say what your newsletter is about, for example: “Sign up for a free newsletter with self-care tips, information on our services and seasonal specials.”
The benefits and problems of including graphics
It’s easiest to send a text-only e-mail without graphics, since graphics pose many potential problems. They can make your e-mails slow to send, and spam filters sometimes filter out e-mails with problematic graphics. In addition, there is a chance your graphics may not look the same to the recipient as they do to you. And, many people “turn off” the graphics in their e-mail preferences, so make sure your information can be understood without them.
With that said, graphics can be worth their weight in gold. Interesting designs and photos intrigue readers. If you decide you would like graphics, you may want to include photos of yourself, other staff and your office. This can add to the personal tone of the message. Make sure you do one or more test e-mails to friends to check how the graphics appear, and try to fix any problems that occur with the help of your e-mail system’s technical support.
If you want to include graphics but find the idea of including them daunting or simply don’t have the time or interest to produce an e-newsletter yourself, check out ready-made e-newsletters for massage therapists that do it all for you. Do some comparison shopping, noting the article content, graphics and layout you like. Try out the samples.
Whether you create your own e-newsletter or purchase a massage e-newsletter service, sending an e-newsletter is an affordable and personal way to remind clients of your care and concern beyond the confines of your office.
Diana Moore is the writer for Natural Touch Marketing™ for the Healing Arts, which offers massage newsletters and other massage marketing materials, including brochures, gift certificates and postcards. Visit www.NaturalTouchMarketing.com for more information and free samples.