Most patients have selective memories when it comes to visiting the dentist every six months. For many, it’s not a priority. For your practice, however, it’s a huge priority. Because securing new patients isn’t your only focus. Repeat appointments are essential to keeping your dental chairs filled.
Solidifying trust is a big part of bringing patients back to your office, and email marketing is a great way to achieve this. To encourage regular office visits, it’s important to remind patients about their oral health. This, of course, requires communication. And what better way to communicate than through one of the most popular communication channels? Email.
Dental email marketing helps you target patients with specific information related to their health. And putting yourself in their email inbox on a regular, but not excessive, basis might be the reason they schedule their next cleaning.
According to Blue Hornet, 39 percent of people check their emails 1 to 3 times per day; 33.8 percent of people check their email “throughout the day.”
The Benefits of Dental Email Marketing
Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment. Why? For one, it’s virtually free (minus the time it takes to work it). Through your campaigns you’ll see more website traffic, more social shares, and potentially more new patients. By reaching hundreds of people with a single message, email is a critical part of your overall marketing strategy.
Know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind?” This certainly applies to the perception your patients have of you. What makes email so powerful is its ability to maintain ongoing patient relationships in an efficient manner. Meanwhile, you position yourself as an expert in the dental field, reducing the chances that a competitor steps in.
So what are the key benefits of email marketing?
- Improve retention: Email marketing promotes top-of-mind awareness, as it reminds patients that you’re the go-to source for all their dental needs – and that it’s time to schedule their next appointment.
- Stimulate referrals: Email marketing can produce new patients via referrals. By keeping your practice at the top of patients’ minds, they’ll be more apt to vouch for you when one of their peers is searching for a new dentist.
“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.” – David Newman
3 Ways to Market Your Practice Through Email
Understanding the benefits of email marketing is one thing, knowing where to start is another. There are many ways to nurture patient relationships through email. First, you must understand how your practice website integrates with your overall strategy.
Your website is the hub of all your online marketing efforts. And to pack the biggest punch, your website and email marketing campaigns must work in harmony.
Here are three email marketing initiatives to start with:
1. New Patient Surveys
Your digital reputation is a pivotal component of your online presence. Not only do five-star reviews establish trust, they can improve your Google rankings. Of course, securing those five-star reviews isn’t easy. That’s where new patient surveys can help.
Emailing a survey after a new patient visits your office can encourage them to review your practice online. For example, the Smile Marketing New Patient Survey sends a welcome email on your behalf when a new patient is added to your website. This will direct them to a page where they can fill out a quick survey.
At the end of each survey patients will have the opportunity to share a brief review of their office visit. Patients that give positive feedback will be provided links to Yelp, Google, and other review sites for them to share their experiences online.
2. Monthly Newsletters
Why bother sending out a practice newsletter? Because by linking to your newsletter that is housed on your practice website, you can drive more qualified traffic to your site. And when patients spend time on your site, you keep them engaged and create top-of-mind awareness about your practice.
A once-a-month newsletter gently reminds patients that you are the best – and only – solution for their oral health needs. In turn, this can improve retention while stimulating more patient referrals.
3. Birthday Greetings
Birthdays are a time when we tend to think about our health. Sending a birthday greeting each year can help spark this in your patients. By reminding patients that you’re thinking about them, you’re in fact reminding them to think about you.
Of course, scanning your patient roster each month for birth dates can be very time consuming. That’s why it’s important to automate your patient database. With the right software, like that which is built-in to a Smile Marketing website, you can have birthday greetings sent automatically without you even knowing about it!
“An email address is like a customer’s ‘digital fingerprint’” – David Daniels
7 Email Marketing Best Practices
If your emails aren’t optimized, they’ll be much less effective. So it’s important to understand some basic email marketing principles.
- Branding: Your emails should align with your brand’s overall look and feel. Meaning, your logo, colors, and social media pages should be consistent across all marketing channels. Also, be sure that your email address is branded with your domain (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com).
- Consistency: The timing of your email campaigns should be consistent. For instance, your newsletter should be published around the same time each month. Avoid large gaps in your publishing schedule, so your patients know when to expect your next newsletter.
- Mobile-optimized: A whopping 66 percent of emails are now opened on smartphones or tablets. If your emails are not optimized for the mobile user, the number of patients that click on and read your emails will undoubtedly suffer.
- Educational: Your patients’ inboxes are already flooded with salesy overtures. By offering tips on how to maintain their oral health, you’ll provide value to patients, showing them that you’re not simply a bill collector.
- Subject lines: The subject line of your email is your first impression. A compelling subject line is essential to compete against the countless other emails patients receive each day.
- Readability: Make sure your emails aren’t too text-heavy. They should include at least one image, with headings throughout to make the content more readable.
- Clean Lists: Only send emails to people who have given you their email address. Purchasing a list that contains unsolicited contacts will hurt deliverability. And consistently poor deliverability could send future campaigns straight to the spam folder.
Drafting an impactful dental email marketing campaign can be intimidating at first. After all, it’s more than just writing and clicking the “send” button. The goal is to get your emails opened, read, clicked – and, ultimately, converted into office visits.
Need ideas for your monthly newsletter? Download a free copy of our 101 Dental Newsletter Topic Ideas below.