The answer is … yes they do. And I’m not just saying that! In fact, of thousands and thousands of consumers surveyed directly via Patient News client newsletters, more than 85% report enjoying receiving and reading their dental patient newsletter! We all know that patient communication of any kind is a good thing and has a significant impact on patient loyalty and frequency. But we need to consider the medium we use to ensure our communications have the best impact. Statistical data that continues to pour in from multiple sources proves that mailed pieces offer far more efficacy than any other medium. It reminds me of the news article this past spring that launched discussions about what we did as children that our kids won’t … like: - talking on a phone attached to a wall - biking without a helmet - having a pen pal - and receiving letters in the mail! Instead of mailing our letters, we use e-cards, emails, texts, or posts. These can be great tools and we definitely use them at Patient News too, but they do not have the same personal tangible appeal as receiving something in the mail. So when we combine these facts, doesn’t it seem to be the perfect time to take advantage of increased visibility by mailing our personalized client communications? But mail or not, what makes the difference between a successful versus unsuccessful patient communication initiative? Relevant and special information. One of our longtime clients shared the following anecdote with me when we bumped into each other at a trade show … and his story demonstrates the value of genuine and personalized patient communication. He’d been using Patient News to customize and mail his patient newsletter for several years, and while he knew it was the right thing for him to be doing in terms of patient communication and education, and he believed that customizing and personalizing his message each time was worth it, he kept wondering in the back of his mind how much it was truly being read. He relayed his sad but heartwarming experience … after losing his beloved mother he included a tribute to her in his newsletter. It was personal, it was providing him with some closure, and he didn’t expect anything more. But he ended up being overwhelmed by patient response. He was simply deluged with cards, words of support and sympathy from his patients. Yes, a lot of patients were reading his newsletter. Another client used their newsletter to help one of their staff members in crisis. A 20-year employee was diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiation. They included a custom article and image informing patients of a benefit dinner to raise money for the medical expenses. 150 people attended and helped to raise $8,000. Up until a few years ago our most popular product was our internal patient newsletter, mailed to patients of record, and then as dental competition spiked up and the recession hit, the split shifted to our direct mail campaigns – what we call our “neighborhood newsletter/postcard” program. It seems that every dental practice we talk to is facing increased competition and desires more new patients. That’s why we have tended to focus our news on the success our clients are having with patient acquisition rather than the success of our patient newsletter clients. Dentists and their staff are trying to figure out what the best use of their marketing dollars is and want assurances about return on investment. Professionally created patient newsletters have a tremendously positive effect, but it can be a challenge to place a clear ROI value to internal client communications where the goal is education, communication, information, and strengthening long-term loyalty. Of course that’s a consideration for my team at Patient News, yet despite wanting to focus every marketing dollar on new-client acquisition, we have never missed an issue of our own client Quarterly Update newsletter since we first launched the support tool in 1996. We don’t get astounding response to each issue, but in survey after survey more than 90% of clients report that not only do they read each issue, they share it and file for future reference. It’s a value and it’s appreciated … and clients love to be featured in our profile section. In our current edition we profile Dr. Michael King. He’s utilizing a combination of our patient newsletter program and our neighborhood direct mail (newsletter/postcard) acquisition program. He discontinued all other marketing and generated an increase in revenue of more than $223,000, and we’re not quite finished his first year! These are great results and speak to the value of a multi-channel marketing mix. Dr. King also made a great decision as he began working with us – he involved his entire team from the decision-making process. They worked with their Patient News Account Manager to create uniquely customized newsletters and postcards. He focused on his staff, ensuring they knew their services and goals and encouraged them to speak with patients and people calling in to really talk up their practice and what they offer. Going forward, we’re adding Call Tracker to his campaigns and we’ll be able to further analyze and improve his marketing results … and keep you posted on tips for success. In a May 2011 report by Pitney Bowes, small and medium businesses reported that their ideal marketing mix is a combination of traditional and digital communications. As expected, the multi-channel approach is the way to go, with advertising, email, and direct mail deemed to be proven most effective. First we can reach every client on our list with traditional mail, both active and inactive, and reading from paper improves comprehension. Research shows that people enjoy receiving relevant printed communications. We include email as part of our overall package, but it’s important to remember that email does reach fewer readers, and it’s easier to delete and cancel, so in order to reach 100% of our clients a multi-channel mix works best. And finally, I can tell you that boring newsletters don’t work! Informative visually exciting pieces are proven to boost response. Patients relate to doctors and their teams when they know them a little better. Patients feel more connected when they recognize similarities. An effective patient newsletter becomes an extension of the “small talk” shared at the practice. Include photos of the team, events, before-and-after images of patients, and share information about interests outside of the practice. When you build and strengthen internal patient relationships, you definitely get results! Patient News grew by having the greatest patient newsletter program available to dentists, and we still do. Feel free to call 1.888.377.2404 for immediate expert advice and request free information on developing content and marketing your dental practice. We respect your time. You’ll talk to a real person experienced in dental marketing between 8:30am-6:00pm EST. Outside of these hours, your inquiry will be returned within one business day.