Posted by: juliegriffey | July 8, 2012

Marketing Your Optical Practice: Building Your E-mail List and Starting a Newsletter

Do you collect email addresses of your patients and send them a regular email newsletter?  Building your email subscription list is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with your patients and encourage referrals to new ones.  Think about it, how often do you put off making a medical appointment until something triggers your memory and you finally do it?  A friendly email newsletter from a medical practice can be that reminder that gets patients back in the door.

Consider another scenario… let’s say a friend asks for an eye doctor recommendation.  My reaction would be – “Oh sure – I’ll send you the info…” But I may or may not actually remember to do so.  When the weekly/monthly email newsletter from your practice hits my in box, simply forwarding it on is an easy way to refer the practice to someone else (especially if there is an incentive to do so!)

Creating a newsletter also helps build your credibility and reputation.  If the newsletter features interesting, intelligent and useful information, it will only make your practice appear passionate, engaged and helpful.

So how do you do it?  First, when collecting patient information, make sure email address is a piece of the patient profile.   If you are using some type of computer software to manage patient data, enter email addresses in this software.  Most software will allow you to export data, so you should be able to export an email address list at any time.  You might even be able to export a patient’s name with the email address which would enable you to send out personalized email messages.

Allow interested parties to subscribe to your newsletter by other means.  Provide a link to subscribe on the email newsletter, itself.  If your email newsletter gets forwarded to someone who is not a patient, it will be easy for them to sign up.  Also create links to sign up to your newsletter on your web site as well as in your signature file in your email.

Once you have a sizable list you need to sign up with an email newsletter service that will send the emails out for you.  You do not want to send a mass email  from your own account because your email could get blocked and then you will have a hard time with people being able to receive your emails.  Some email companies will assign you an email address from which you will broadcast your email newsletters and others will require you to create your own special email address for this purpose.  I recommend setting up a free account with gmail.

A bulk email company will provide you with the tools to design and build your email newsletter.  Or you can upload a custom design that a web designer / developer can create for you.   It’s important to use a design that reflects the look and feel of your practice so that your recipients immediately understand that it is associated with your practice.

Some bulk email companies I have have either used or researched are:

While this technical information may sound complicated, it really is not a big deal once you get your account set up and learn your way around the email company’s interface.  The real challenge is figuring out what to say.

Speaking of figuring out what to say… I think I have said enough for this week.  Now it’s your turn.  Does your practice send out an email newsletter? Why?  What impact has it made?



  1. My dentist’s office sends text messages to my phone as appointment reminders (this is in addition to the reminder postcards they send out). My optometry center does the email newsletters. They even send out coupons for your birthday!

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