Four More Ways to Gather E-mail Addresses for Your Optometry Practice
I’ve written before about the process of gathering e-mail addresses from patients as they fill out forms with their basic information. Remember that e-mail updates, particularly those with content of value to your readers, don’t have to be limited to your current patients. In fact, if you publish an optometry eNewsletter, you should actively encourage subscribers—including people who rarely or never come into your office, at least not yet. Here are four ways to do that:
- Place a “subscribe” button on your Web site. You can and should use your Web site to promote your e-mail marketing program. You can include an eye-catching banner, streamer or pop-up that promotes the newsletter. To make it easy for future subscribers, a popular option for many optometry practices is a simple “subscribe to our eNewsletter” button. Make sure it is prominent. Once someone clicks on it, the process of subscribing should be quick and smooth.
- If you publish a blog, or if you guest blog, link to your eNewsletter. Again, make the link prominent and the process effortless. Make it easy to opt in. Don’t require your subscribers to fill out a long form. An e-mail address is all you need. And in most cases, it’s all people will want to give. Once users subscribe, they should receive a confirmation message. That way they will know that the submission went through. It’s also helpful to provide details on what they’ve opted into. A sample message could be something like:
“Thank you for signing up for the Anytown Optometry’s e-mail newsletter! This monthly newsletter will provide timely updates on the health of your eyes. If you have any questions about Anytown Optometry or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us at __________.”
Not only does this confirm receipt of the subscription but it reiterates the value of the communication. And it provides contact information, should the user have an immediate need. This sample response is a low-pressure and professional way to make yourself available to potential patients.
- Send postcards. You can send postcards to patients explaining the free e-mail service offered by your office. Ask them to reply by sending the postcard back with their e-mail address on it. Or, better yet, direct them to your Web site where they can quickly and easily opt in to your database. Postcards are a particularly effective way to reach patients you have not seen in some time. Many times, mailings like this encourage past patients to schedule an appointment or otherwise renew their relationship with you.
- Run a small “fishbowl sweepstakes.” If your e-mail gathering system is separate from your patient paperwork, do not fear. You can put a large glass fishbowl in the reception area, along with a sign that says something like “Sign Up for E-mail Newsletters and Win!” Encourage parents to drop in their business card (with their e-mail address) or jot down their e-mail address on a small sheet of paper. You can even provide an incentive in the way of a prize for those who drop their information into the bowl.
But do be careful. This initiative is probably best for practices that are only beginning to collect e-mail addresses. If you only award prizes to patients for whom you don’t have an e-mail, you may create hard feelings among those who provided this information to you months or even years ago. A way around this is to provide a subscriber appreciation drawing for existing subscribers, at the same time as you do the new e-mail gathering sweepstakes.
If you are creative, you can think of fun and engaging ways to build your e-mail list—all while creating even more loyal patients.
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