HME Expo preview: Don't overlook newsletters

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The following is the fourth in a series of Q&As with speakers who will present at the inaugural HME Exposition & Conference, April 21-23, in Baltimore. To register for the event, go to

Are you avoiding online marketing strategies because your patients aren't tech-savvy enough? That excuse won't fly with Elizabeth Mansfield, the e-marketing guru who will share how to "Retain Your Customers with E-Mail Newsletters" at the HME Expo and Conference. "Even my mom is on Facebook," she said.

Even if your patients aren't online, their caregivers, family members and healthcare advisers are, Mansfield said, and you're missing out on an inexpensive, easy and targeted form of marketing.

HME News: Why do so few providers use e-mail newsletters when they're so easy and cost-efficient?

Elizabeth Mansfield: People are super busy and may not take the time to learn about this. Changes in the Internet now allow you now to do anything and everything Mercedes Benz does. You can have a newsletter, a blog, a YouTube channel--and you can do it all yourself very cheaply.

HME: Should providers do this themselves or hire someone?

Mansfield: The con of having someone do it is that they are not as passionate about your business as you are, and it can become too cookie-cutter and boring. But if you're doing it yourself, and you're not committed to it, it just won't get done.

HME: What should providers include in their e-mail newsletters?

Mansfield: Include real testimonials and active links. The more opportunities to interact with your content, the better. Include not just stuff you're selling but also information resources, like links to the American Diabetes Association if you're selling diabetes supplies. Include pictures of your store and your people. Remind them of what you're already doing. You may think they see your store, so of course they know you have diabetic socks. But remind them, even if you feel like you're being repetitive.

HME: How is the content different from a print newsletter?

Mansfield: It's different writing than in print. It's written more in fragments, in a more personal tone. But the content is king. If you send it out and it stinks, they're not going to want it again. You can always redo your Web site, but if you start offending or boring people in their inbox, they're never coming back.

HME: If providers take away one piece of advice from your session, what would it be?

Mansfield: To not be intimidated by the resources that are available to them. There are ways for you to level the business playing field very easily and economically.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Title/company: President of Outsource Marketing Solutions

Services provided: Marketing consulting for O&P, HME and other health care markets

Session: "Retain Your Customers With E-Mail Newsletters"

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 8:00 a.m.

Contact: 860-967-4184 or