- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On March 20, 2014
“You drive for show, but putt for dough.”
Spring is here (today) and the Masters golf tournament starts in 3 weeks. If you’ve every played more than one round of golf, one of your playing partners has probably uttered this classic Bobby Locke expression.
So what does this have to do with marketing a medical practice? Today’s post is about email addresses. If I we were talking marketing rather than golf I’d change this phrase to:
“You get Facebook fans for show, but gather email addresses for dough”.I’ve talked to several medical practices recently that have been coveting their competitors Facebook fans. “Those guys have 10,500 fans”.
Email addresses outrank Facebook fans
What matters a lot more than Facebook fans is email addresses. And not any email addresses—only opt-in email addresses (people that have requested to be on your email list.) It’s no good buying a list of email addresses. These days those emails are essentially worthless and worse violate the CAN-SPAM law.
When you’ve got someone to opt-in to your email list you’re on your way to nurturing them toward becoming a patient. This applies even more if you’re a specialist and need to nurture relationships with referring physicians.
In fact according to the Direct Marketing Association this kind of opt-in email marketing offers a roughly $40 return on investment (ROI) for every $1 spent. You don’t own your Facebook fans (or your Twitter followers or Linkedin connections) but your opt-in email list is yours to keep. It’s a true asset. Facebook could turn off your fans any day. In fact, did you know you can only see the names of your last 250 Facebook fans? Not much of a marketing list really.
In fact, Facebook fans are in an earlier stage of the buying process than people that have opted into your email list. Your goal with your Facebook fans should be to get them to the point where they are willing to sign up to your email list. You should make offers on your Facebook page that will entice prospective patients, or physicians, to sign up to your email list.
What to send
Once someone is signed up to your email list, what do you send them?
You have a few options. You can start an e-newsletter or you can send a series of pre-scheduled emails using an autoresponder–a program that will send out a series of predetermined emails on a predetermined schedule.
One way to make the content generation process easier on you and your staff is to start a blog. Material from your blog can be repurposed as content for an e-newsletter or autoresponder email series.
There are many formats of email content but whatever you send should have value. Or as Sonia Simone of Copyblogger says should be “cookie content”, meaning that when your reader gets your email it’s something they want to read. Eventually if you keep sending them good stuff (“cookies”) your readers will be eager to open your emails—and may even recommend others sign up. Most content sent out by companies is not much like a cookie at all. It’s more like cough medicine. We don’t look forward to consuming it all. We hit delete as fast as we can and when we finally get around to it we unsubscribe.
So don’t covet your competitor’s Facebook fans, just their email list—until your list is bigger and better than theirs that is.