Communicate effectively with a patient newsletter

How To Craft an Effective Patient Newsletter

Healthcare organizations often struggle to ensure successful patient engagement. In such cases, a patient newsletter can be a practical approach to boosting engagement. It can help keep patients up to date on the latest news, events, and happenings at your practice.

If you’re looking to improve patient relations but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. The guide below will show you how to craft an effective patient newsletter and the benefits of using a newsletter to engage patients.

What Should You Include in Your Patient Newsletter?

When crafting a patient newsletter for healthcare services, you should be selective in what topics and stories you feature. In addition, you want to be sure that your newsletter is informative but not overwhelming.

Below are key elements to consider when creating a patient newsletter to share with your mailing list.

A Personalized Greeting

The greeting is the first thing recipients will see when they open your newsletter. You want to make sure it’s personalized so that patients feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

For example, instead of “Dear Valued Patient,” you can write “Dear John.” This small change can significantly affect how patients perceive your newsletter.

You can also personalize the greeting in other ways. For instance, you could use the recipient’s first name or mention something specific about them, like how long they’ve been a patient at your practice.

Or you can start by mentioning their last treatment at your practice. For example ”Dear John, I’m just writing to follow up with you after your recent knee surgery.”

After the greeting, include a brief overview of what patients can expect to find in the newsletter. For example, ”In this issue, we’ll discuss the importance of hydration, the risks of dehydration, and tips for staying hydrated.”

The section will give patients a general idea of the topics you’ll be covering and help them decide whether they want to read the newsletter in the order it’s arranged in or skip to the sections that interest them.

Educational Content

Your newsletter should have a mix of educational and non-educational content. Too much of either will make your newsletter less effective.

Your educational content might include:

  • A column from the doctor or another healthcare provider
  • Answered frequently asked questions
  • Information about a new procedure
  • A recent healthcare update
  • Health and wellness tips

Keep your educational content engaging using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and graphics. You can also use humor to lighten the tone of your educational content and make it more enjoyable to read.

For example, you might start your newsletter with a fun fact about staying hydrated, such as, ”Did you know that the average person should drink eight glasses of water per day?”

The key is to educate the readers about the services you provide. For example, if you run a dental practice, your current patients probably won’t want to read about a recent development in cardiac procedures.

Instead, focus on topics relevant to dental care, such as the importance of flossing, different types of toothbrushes, or how to choose the right toothpaste.

Video Content

Video is among the most popular formats for online content, considering it reached 91.4% of the global internet users in 2021. Thus, you should consider incorporating it into your patient newsletter.

You can use video to:

  • Showcase a new facility: Suppose you’ve recently moved to a new office or made some renovations to your current one. You could include a video tour of the facility in your newsletter so that patients can see the changes for themselves.
  • Introduce new staff: If you’ve hired a new doctor or nurse, you could include a video featuring them in your newsletter. This will allow patients to get to know the new staff member before they come in for an appointment.
  • Show tutorials: You can also use videos to create tutorials, such as how-to videos or educational videos. For example, video tutorials on how to wash your hands for 20 seconds or wear a mask were popular during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Share product information: You could also use video to show new products you’re selling in your practice, such as a heat therapy device or a new type of braces.
  • Share patient testimonials: Video testimonials from patients are an excellent way to build trust and credibility with potential patients. You can include them in your newsletter to show that you provide quality care.

When using video in your newsletter, compress the file size so it doesn’t take too long to load. You should also transcribe the video for patients who prefer to read the content.

Links to Articles To Help Patients Improve Quality of Life

While light-hearted content should be a part of every newsletter, it’s also essential to add content that can help improve your patients’ quality of life.

You can add links to articles about:

  • Healthy lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise
  • Stress management
  • Improving sleep habits

It’s best to include content according to the current health trends. For instance, the beginning of the pandemic was an excellent time to share links to resources about handwashing and social distancing. You can also use your newsletter to promote your blog articles. If you write articles about healthcare topics, you can share them in your newsletter and drive traffic to your website.

Any Updates in Practice Offerings

Whether you’ve started offering a new healthcare service or have onboarded a new doctor, you should share this news in your patient newsletter.

Suppose you’ve recently started offering Botox injections at your medical practice. In that case, you could write a short article about the benefits of Botox and how it can help patients achieve their desired results.

Or you could explain the types of conditions that Botox can treat, such as migraines, wrinkles, or excessive sweating.

How Can Practice Management Software Help You With Email Marketing?

A practice management software suite of integrated software applications can help a medical practice automate and improve many of its critical operations. One area where practice management software can be particularly helpful is email marketing.

Here’s how practice management software can help:

Offers Pre-Built Templates

A patient newsletter template can lay the foundation for a well-designed email marketing campaign. It would typically include sections for:

  • The latest news from the practice
  • A featured physician or staff member
  • Health and wellness tips
  • Upcoming events
  • Links to the practice’s social media channels
  • Community post
  • Contact information

A good practice management software will offer a range of customizable templates that practices can use to get started with their email marketing campaigns.

Provides Customization Options

When it comes to email marketing, one size does not fit all. Practices need to be able to tailor their campaigns to their patients and the services they provide.

A practice management software will offer a range of customization options to allow practices to create email campaigns that are relevant and engaging. 

For example, if you’re a dermatology practice, you might want to include information on the latest skincare products in your newsletters. Meanwhile, if you run a family practice, you should add health and wellness tips relevant to all family members.

The bottom line is that good practice management software will give you the flexibility to create well-tailored email campaigns.

Includes Advanced Segmentation Capabilities of Your Current Email List

Segmentation allows you to send targeted messages to specific groups of people on your email list. You can segment your mailing list based on:

  • Demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)
  • Engagement levels (how often they open and click on your emails)
  • Purchase history (what healthcare services they’ve gotten from you in the past)

Some main benefits of segmentation in email marketing include:

  • Lower bounce rates: When you divide your email list into segments, you can send more targeted emails relevant to the receiver. This in turn leads to fewer people unsubscribing from your email list and a lower overall bounce rate.
  • Higher engagement and open rates: You will see higher engagement rates by sending more targeted emails. Engagement can be in the form of clicks, opens, replies, and even forwards.
  • Higher click-through: Most importantly, your patients will be more likely to click on links and take action when they feel the email is relevant to them. For instance, if you’re a dental practice and send an email about a new whitening treatment to your list of patients, those interested in teeth whitening will likely click on the link to learn more about the treatment.

Patient-centric communication forms the crux of successful email marketing. For example, the content that appeals to millennials is not the same as what interests older patients. By segmenting your list, you can send emails that are more likely to resonate with each group.

Even if an average patient consumes all types of content, they may not use all communication channels. For example, you might reach the younger crowd better with social media communication while designating emails and calls for your elderly patients. 

The Benefits of Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to keep people updated on what’s going on with your company or organization. They can also promote special events, sales, or new products.

In a healthcare setting, newsletters can be used to tell your patients anything from a change in appointment time to a new service you’re offering. You can also highlight special events like health fairs or open houses. Here are some benefits of newsletters:

Patient Engagement

If you want to engage your current patients, a newsletter is a smart way to do it. You can use your newsletter to inform them about changes in the office, doctors’ schedules, or even patient news.

All you need is the patient’s email address and some creativity. Your email newsletter can also be a constant link between you and your patients. 

In this way, you can assure your patients that you are always keeping them in mind and that their health is your number one priority.

Build Relationships

What better way to build a relationship with your patients than by sending them timely, informative newsletters? By providing valuable and interesting information in your newsletter, you’re more likely to build a rapport with your patients.

Think of it this way: If you were to get an email from your doctor that contained helpful tips on staying healthy during the winter, you’d appreciate and respect your doctor. The same goes for patients receiving newsletters from their healthcare providers.

The more people you have on your newsletter list, the more relationships you can build. You can also use your newsletter to cross-promote your other social media channels, like your Facebook page or Twitter feed.

ROI

High patient engagement plus strong relationships often equal a high return on investment (ROI). If you can engage your patients and build relationships with them, they will likely become repeat patients.

Likewise, your email newsletter that tells people about new services or products you’re offering will bring in new patients. Again, the key is to provide value in your newsletter and make it interesting enough that people will want to read it.

Perfect the Newsletter for Your Practice

Now that you know how to create a newsletter email marketing campaign, you need to use the right set of tools to perfect your campaign. For instance, patient engagement software can help you track the results of your newsletter campaign and make necessary changes.

Since newsletters are sent out regularly, you need a system that automates the process. This way, you can focus on other aspects of your practice while keeping your patients updated on what’s happening. Patient relationship management software can help you accomplish this by allowing you to use a strategic marketing mix to get the most out of your newsletter campaign. Besides staying in touch with the community, you can also save time since the software will handle menial tasks.

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