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How to Create a Great Practice Newsletter

Wendy S. Myers
Communication Solutions
1905 E. Mountain Sage Drive
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
(720) 344-2347 office
(509) 277-4088 fax
wmyers@mycommunicationsolutions.com
www.mycommunicationsolutions.com

Seminar Overview

An effective newsletter can help you educate clients, increase repeat visits and market your professional and ancillary services. This seminar includes everything you need to know to get started—how often you should publish, tips on planning a budget, creating your mailing list, and developing content and design that captures clients’ attention.

What you’ll learn

•  How a newsletter can market your professional services

•  Ideas for articles that educate and entertain clients

•  Tips on graphic design

Why you need an effective newsletter

•  Educates clients about medical services, such as ultrasonography, senior care, laser surgery and new drugs

•  Strengthens client relationships

•  Positions your practice as the primary source of veterinary information

Getting started

1.  Decide how often you’ll publish

•  Most clinics choose quarterly

2.  Create a budget

•  Printing

•  Design

•  Writing

•  Mailing

3.  Create your mailing list

•  Active clients (visiting within the past 12 months)

•  Phone shoppers

4.  Consider an online version

•  Post each issue on your hospital website

•  E-mail a shorter version to clients

•  Let clients search past articles by subject

5.  Hire a professional designer

•  Ask for references and work samples

•  Collect newsletters from other practices to decide what design and format you like best

•  Contact companies that specialize in newsletter design for veterinary hospitals

6.  Choose your format

•  Number of pages and size

•  Self-mailer

•  Ink and paper colors

•  Consider a bulk mail permit

•  Use of graphics, clip art and photos

Plan your content

1.  Feature a case

•  Show photographs of the patient

•  Describe how doctors arrived at their diagnosis

•  Explain the quality of care and compassion your team provided

•  Share the "happy ending"

2.  Write about seasonal topics

•     Flea and tick control

•     Exercise in hot or cold weather

•     Holiday hazards (tinsel, poinsettias, etc.)

•     Heartworm prevention

3.  Create interactive tools

•     Photo contest

•     Pet-health quiz

•     Did you know…

•     True or false quiz

•     Coloring contest (see www.aahanet.org for images)

4.  Profile new staff members

•  Associate veterinarians

•  Specialists

•  Practice manager

•  Technicians

•  Client service team

5.  Provide recognition

•     Welcome new clients

•     Thank referring clients

•     Profile a staff member and describe his or her expertise

•     Describe doctors’ continuing education

6.  Educate clients about new services and products

•     Laser surgery

•     Visiting specialist

•     Doggie daycare

•     Post-surgical home visits by a nurse

•     Pet loss counseling

•     New drugs

•     Vaccination guarantees

•     Therapeutic diets

•     Advances in flea control

•     Shampoos and retail items

7.  Keep a file folder of ideas

•     Articles from veterinary journals

•     Pet-health alerts

•     Preventive care tips

•     Articles from pet magazines

•     Vendor brochures and web sites

8.  Use web sites as a resource

•     www.healthypet.org

•     www.avma.org

•     Sites of veterinary colleges

•     Sites of veterinary foundations

•     Breed-specific sites

9.  Balance information and entertainment

•  Avoid medical jargon

•  Use case studies as examples

•  "Ask the Vet" Q & A

•  Pique clients’ interest so they will call or make an appointment (i.e. list signs of hypothyroidism, arthritis or diabetes)

10.  Refer clients to your web site

•     Search past articles by topic

•     Feature a "Case of the Month"

•     Publish your web address and e-mail in every issue

11.  Memorialize deceased pets

•  List pets’ names

•  Include a short poem ("Rainbow Bridge")

•  Mention your donation in memory of the deceased pet (Morris Animal Foundation, AVMF)

12.  Toot your horn

•  Community or veterinary awards

•  Staff members’ and doctors’ CE

•  Team member anniversaries

Going the extra mile

•  Keep extra newsletters in your reception area

•  Insert in new-client welcome letters

•  Provide copies after hospital tours

•  Include in your open house goodie bag

Wendy S. Myers is the former editor of Veterinary Economics. She owns Communication Solutions, a Denver-based consulting firm that helps practice owners and managers improve client service, marketing, newsletters, web sites and communication tools. She lectures at veterinary conferences nationwide on customer service, marketing and practice management. You can reach her at (720) 344-2347 or wmyers@mycommunicationsolutions.com.


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