How to connect with clients by email
Wikipedia defines email marketing as: "sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business."
Note the key words in this definition: relationship and loyalty.
At its simplest, you can start email marketing right away by adding your contact details to your email signature.
Write down your biggest benefit and turn it into a sentence (or tagline) that advertises and promotes your private practice. For example: "[Your private practice name] - providing the help you need at the most convenient location to you."
Then list your website address, your physical address, your phone number and any other relevant information. Make it easy for people to get in touch with you.
Keeping in touch
A more active approach is to regularly keep in touch with your existing or previous clients.
Good practice management software or customer relationship management software will enable you to keep client details in a database (password protected, of course), and send them occasional emails. You can tell clients about your latest news, special offers and new services, and encourage them to share your details with friends or colleagues.
Advanced email marketing
If and when you’re ready to take the next step, you can try a more advanced form of email marketing. This is when you encourage prospective clients to sign up for a mailing list, so you can send them promotional messages over the course of several weeks.
Here’s how this can work:
Step 1: To get people to sign up to your mailing list, you need to offer them something of real value first. People are always asking the question: "what’s in it for me?"
So answer it with the offer of a free consultation; a discount voucher on their first therapy session; or maybe some free information that they can use (i.e. a report, e-course or PDF ebook).
Step 2: Sign up for an email service like Mailchimp, which you can use to capture email addresses and automatically send out emails to a mailing list.
Step 3: Create an email sequence that starts a dialogue with your mailing list. Note the word dialogue here. This doesn’t mean that you send them your brochure and price list. Instead, it’s an opportunity to make them feel good about what you do, to show what you can do, and to convince them that you’re the best choice for them.
It’s the chance to build a relationship
With this in mind, your first email could be a cheery thank you for subscribing; the second one might offer some helpful free advice; the third one could talk about one aspect of your services; the fourth could offer some more free advice; the fifth might mention a special offer; and so on.
The key to a successful email marketing campaign is to warm your mailing list up so that they view your services favourably. It’s effectively a soft sell, one that regularly mentions what you do but rarely sells your services overtly or aggressively.
The idea is to develop the relationship that you have with your mailing list, talking to them as if they are the only person that matters. By doing so, you build likeability, which leads to trust, which ultimately leads to loyalty.
Step 4: If possible, use your email service to automate the process. When people sign up to your mailing list, they can automatically be sent a sequence of emails on days specified by you, and over a period of time specified by you. It subsequently becomes a hands-off marketing machine that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.