I am lucky enough to have found the North American Society of Periodontist group. This is a “mastermind” group exclusively for periodontists. Mastermind groups are great to join as you can “pick” each other’s brains about what is/is not working in each other’s practices. It’s also nice to bounce ideas off each other knowing that they are not your local competition.
Bob Salvin, CEO of Salvin Dental, was the keynote speaker at one of these meetings. He gave a humorous talk about how he started his company, like Michael Dell of Dell Computer, out of the trunk of his car in his garage. After dentists initially placed their orders, he would package them in the trunk of his car and make a run a couple of times a day to the local Fed Ex center. That’s how several large companies/corporations are started but are now looked down upon by the government as being TOO successful making them pay more taxes and not understanding how they were started with blood, sweat and tears. Don’t get me started.
One interesting stat that Mr. Salvin shared with us was this: 50% of patients DO NOT know the name of their dentists and more than 50% DO NOT know the name of the specialist(s) that has treated them in the past. This does not surprise me as I see this weekly when asking my patients the name of their referring dentist.
This stat reinforces my belief that most dentists do a poor job with staying in touch with their existing patients. One of the absolute best ways is with a monthly printed newsletter. The first thing you must get out of your head is that a newsletter is an expense. In my opinion, they’re not an expense but actually a profit generator.
Newsletters have a high readership level, they’re not perceived as “salesy,” and most people read them with their “guard down.” In fact, when done properly, your patients will look forward to getting and reading them (just like this one!)
I thoroughly enjoy writing three different newsletters monthly but I know that most would not agree with me. There are plenty of companies out there such as The Newsletter Pro (www.thenewsletterpro.com, tell Shaun I sent you) that can do all of this for you.
And the #1 reason to have a monthly newsletter: It reminds your patients to come back. Most dental patients don’t return because they simply forget about you (remember the stat mentioned earlier?)
So what about content? There are essentially two different kinds of content you can use: relevant and non-relevant content.
You’ll want to strike a good balance between the two. So what can you write about? Here’s a short list of topics that I routinely discuss in my personal newsletter to our patients:
- My staff
- Recent events/holidays
- What’s new in dentistry
Can you guess what section of my newsletters get the most comments? It’s the section that features my family each month. It’s a short write-up of mostly what my wife and two boys have been up to including pictures. Our patients LOVE seeing the boys grow up and routinely comment about their stories.
Remember to stay in touch with your patients so they don’t forget about you and if you don’t want to fool around with publishing it, find someone that can.