Collecting patients’ email addresses is very important in today hi-tech world. They can be utilized to market new techniques and procedures to your patients. But patients will be cautious about giving you their email with concerns about spam and privacy. However, with a legitimate reason such as “we are sending you a link by email to fill out your forms online,” most will respond positively. Any good marketing program consists of non-intrusive communication on a regular and consistent basis. Patient Studio provides this outlet. “According to a Harris Interactive Survey, almost all Internet users would like to communicate with their doctors online, more than half would choose doctors based on their online availability, and more than one-third would even be willing to pay for this service.” [Medscape today News].
You have to ask. Don’t be shy. It’s important that you explain to the patient that you want their e-mail address to make their lives easier [i.e. 15% discount for short notice hygiene cancellation fill-ins, e-mail appointment confirmations and recall notices, tooth whitening specials, receiving health update newsletter, etc.]. Make sure the entire staff is on the same page.
Add these questions to your history form and be sure to update the e-mail information at each recall visit: (1) What is your e-mail address? (2) How often do you check your e-mail? (3) Do you prefer to be contacted by e-mail, phone or either?
Have your office manager or anyone else answering the phone ask each person for their e-mail address saying, “We’re updating our records.”
Have an office contest with a DVD player or Color TV as the winning prize; place a bowl at the front desk for 3-6 months with a sign asking patients to fill out a card with their name and e-mail address. Do the same on your website. If you have an Internet-based eNewsletter, take a digital photo of the winner and send it out in your next issue.
When new patients schedule their first appointment, ask for their e-mail address so you can use PatientStudio to send them an e-mail, welcoming them to the practice. Add a note on your billing invoices to write their e-mail address on the return portion.
Ask on your web site if they want to receive a free monthly newsletter by e-mail and have them register. Run a contest on your web site with winners being notified by e-mail [i.e. drawing for a free tooth whitening or cleaning]. Try to get a photo of the winner and post them on your web site.
Get list of people who have recently bought a home in your area [from local real estate agents and/or Internet] Contact them by phone or send them a post card and ask for their e-mail. To prospect for new patients, buy local zip code e-mail lists. Search on Internet for e-mail suppliers.
For more information on monthly email marketing to patients with the PatientStudio eNewsletter click on this link for a white paper.