After doing some practice innovations (group visits are restarting, I’m undiagnosing patients from hypertension treatment with my ABPM) I may have some availability in my practice without affecting my continuity.
That means I can potentially increase my panel size a bit and still provide similar care.
I’ve just done a little free within-my-practice advertising and wanted to share what I learned.
First, Don’t do email lists yourself. This is a solved problem that can be done much better than doing it yourself. I love Mailchimp. The free plan is way more than I need. If you ever need to do this on a larger practice basis (more frequent, more providers), it would scale just fine.
With MailChimp you get tools that allow you to automatically do things right:
- Include unsubscribe and other bits that make this not spam.
- Automatic removal of bounced emails from the list.
- free templates (Pick the stethoscope one. Bang, you’re done.)
- Awesome analytics…
What does a lil panel campaign look like?
My clinic started collected addresses more seriously about 18 months ago (when we started Portal to get ready for Meaningful Use.) That’s a relatively recent/fresh list of emails. Call it about 1/3 of my panel.
I used a crystal report to generate a list of ~650 patients. After importing to MailChimp, this was cleaned up to 637.
- 637 Sent
- 62 bounced messages (auto-removed from the list)
- 306 Opened
- 201 Opened within first 8 hours, sent at noon.
- 269 Unopened after a couple weeks.
- 1 patient sent me a custom card with the picture of me/Becca
- 0 Unsubscribes (after a specific call to action to unsubscribe!)
- 4 People Verbally asked me about it in 2 weeks
- 5 New patients have established in the last 2 weeks (and each one mentioned the email when asked.) And I know of 2 more patients who will be establishing.
Here’s the first 2 days of opens:
My Campaign Design
I wanted this email to be personal (vs. corporate) so I included a picture of me with one of my daughters. I aimed the ‘voice’ as being from me, not my clinic. I also wrote the text for simplicity (low reading level is a theme on unchart….) It looks partly like this:
When someone recommends me to a family member or friend, it’s one of my biggest compliments.
My practice has been closed for a few years. I want to be available when you need me. I’ve been accepting family members but sometimes it gets confusing when you talk to my receptionists.
I’m opening my practice again temporarily. If you know someone who needs a family physician, would you recommend they make an appointment with me. Give us a call at (360) 428-1700.
(I hate spam as much as anyone! If you feel it’s inappropriate for me to email, click the unsubscribe link in the message. I’ll be tracking that….)
– Jonathan Ploudre, MD.
One mistake: Open/Closed is jargon. My manager caught that but I had sent it before I got a second pair of eyes. It’s confused some people but I guess I’m thinking all publicity is good publicity.
Another mistake: This needed to be more carefully proofed.
Third mistake: I might have considered making this ‘likable’ for facebook. If 2% on the list had liked this on facebook, it may have doubled the exposure. I don’t need to get the word out super-fast but it would have been easy to do and probably would have increased the number of new patients. Who knows?
That said: In 2 weeks, I’ve added 5 patients who were personally recommended to me by people I know. These have been fun because each person is also an embedded compliment from a patient. And having a connection is great for getting to know people. My guess is that this will end up with 10 new patients (people will forget this pretty quickly.) Not bad for a few minutes of work and no money spent. And it’s building community.