When Charleen Kuczynski launched an e-mail newsletter for her company, O&P supplier WBC Industries, she faced difficult decisions.
"There is a lot to consider," said Kuczynksi, WBC's director of marketing. "How often (it) will be sent, how to get a subscriber base, what newsletter design should be used, how to maintain it and what will keep (people) from clicking the 'unsubscribe' link."
With some upfront help in these areas from Elizabeth Mansfield of Outsource Marketing Solutions, Kuczynski's now handling it on her own and seeing tangible--and quick--results.
"Hitting 'reply' is easier than making time to call (a company)," Kuczynski said. "We measure newsletter benefits by recording who takes advantage of our e-mail specials and monitoring increased traffic to our website."
The upfront issues Kuczynski faced often make providers hesitate before starting an e-mail newsletter, said Mansfield.
"It's an efficient way of sending out your information but keeping it personal at the same time," Mansfield said. "Within seconds, people are opening it. You know right away you're having an impact."
Each customer contact is an opportunity to collect e-mail addresses, suggested Mansfield. Add a field to your patient information sheet with a box to check "opting in" to the newsletter list. Create a drawing at your retail store to collect e-mails, offering a small prize to the winner.
Design templates are available with most e-mail services. Content should be useful and relevant, she said, without being too promotional.
"The people who are the most successful are the ones who aren't wrapped up in the me, me, me," she said. "People don't want you to sell them all the time. They get tired of that pretty quickly."
Do it right and you can avoid the dreaded "D" word.
"E-mail is very easy to delete," said Kuczynksi. "You have to build interest with design and content for it to be successful."