Your Best Marketing Tip

The Best Marketing Tip You’ll Ever Get

Write a Simple Thank You Note

In today’s environment, there is much emphasis on social media. And rightfully so – it is a great way to reach your patients – both current and potential. But even those in the marketing industry would agree that online presence must be complimented with other marketing efforts.

My Best Marketing Tool

Let me explain one of best (and cheapest!) marketing tools I ever used. As often happened, the idea came from one of our weekly staff meetings. We had always done sporadic follow up phone calls to patients who had received glasses or contacts from our office, and people were always appreciative. In some cases, particularly with large sales, we had our opticians write a brief thank-you note to the patient, and sometimes gave a little gift. Patients were very appreciative.

Staff Takes It To The Next Level

So the staff asked: “Why not take it to the next level and have the doctor send a thank you note to every new patient”? And that is exactly what I did. I bought nice personalized stationery with envelopes, and sent a short thank you note to all the new patients. It was typically only two or three sentences, but the patient response was overwhelmingly positive. The common response was “This is the first time I got a letter from my doctor”.

Let’s Send To All Patients

Well of course, at the next office meeting, the staff now says “hey doc, this is working so well, how about you send a note to ALL our patients! We shouldn’t leave out the established patients. They’re the ones that built our business – let’s show them our appreciation, too.” Uh, well, OK, I guess. So I bought more stationery and sent a personal note to every patient that I had examined (and so did my associate).

Hand Written, Personal Notes

These were hand-written notes, including addressing the envelopes, and now there was a practical concern: this was taking a ton of time, and I was getting writer’s cramp! And it was difficult for me to remember who was new, who was established, and anything personal about that particular patient.

We Create A System

Going back to the original premise of creating an emotional, personalized bond with each and every patient, we ended up creating a system:

  • Once a week, the staff would hand me two stacks of charts: new patients and established patients. They would also indicate whether the patient was a contact lens or glasses patient.
  • Each chart had a pre-addressed envelope. (You’d be surprised at how much quicker it was if you don’t have to do the envelope yourself.) Sending the note to the work address is the best – it always brightens up the patient’s day, and they will share it with their co-workers.
  • In order for me to personalize the note, the staff would jot down something personal about the patient. Example: “this is the lady whose grand-daughter just graduated from high school”; “this is the guy you talked to about fishing”.  Honestly, without those notes I never would remember these things.

Gifts For Large Purchases

If the person had a large purchase, they indicated that as well, and I would include a Starbucks gift certificate (from $5.00 to $25.00 depending on their purchase).

Once a week, I sat at my desk and wrote the notes. The beginning of the note was generic, and categorized as either a new or established patient. And whenever possible I would add a personal touch. Here’s an example for a new patient: “Dear Mrs. Smith, Thank you so much for choosing our office for your eyecare. We know there are lots of choices, and we are honored you chose us. I hope your contacts are doing great, and that they help you at your grand-daughter’s graduation!”

My staff applied stamps and in the mail they went.

Time Well Spent

The only cost is stationery and stamps. It took me from 30 minutes to 90 minutes per week. And if we were running any kind of promotion (an upcoming trunk show, for example), we of course would include a flier as well. People love getting things in the mail besides bills – and this is a simple way to interact with them personally.

And that is what marketing is all about! Using this system I built a very successful private practice and you can too.

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