Email Marketing Tips for Dental Practices
Chances are you’ve tried some dental marketing channels and ran numerous campaigns in a bid to acquire and engage more patients. While these channels and campaigns may be effective, there’s a marketing channel that dentists are yet to take full advantage of—and that’s email marketing.
Email marketing is a form of marketing that involves sending messages via email to a group of customers or patients. With over 4.3 billion users worldwide, email remains the most effective medium of communication. As a business owner and dentist, you can leverage this medium to engage with your patients and win their loyalty over time.
Despite the widespread usage of emails, only 20% of North American dental practices use email to communicate with their patients. This means that several dentists may be experiencing patient attrition that could have avoided by engaging with patients over time via email. However, it also means that there’s still an opportunity for you to benefit from the advantages of email marketing.
In this article, we’ll share eight tips to help you get the most out of your dental email marketing efforts. These best practices can be applied to several email types, but we’ll focus mainly on newsletters.
8 Email Marketing Tips for Dental Practices
- Set a Goal
Every successful plan or strategy begins with a goal. Without a goal in mind, you’ll end up running in circles and making unnecessary errors. As a business owner, you’re aware of the importance of goal setting, so you’ll agree when we say don’t send any emails without a clear goal.
Before investing in email marketing for your dental practice, you should take some time to consider all the factors that may or may not allow this channel to be effective for you. An excellent place to start is with your patients.
What action do you want patients to take after reading your email? Are you sending emails to gather more patient referrals or to share relevant updates? Think about the metrics you want to target—from email open rate to clickthrough rates to list-growth rate. Be sure to establish a baseline and set a realistic target that your team can work towards.
- Use a Content Calendar and Schedule Emails in Advance
Once you’ve set your goals and target, create a content calendar for your emails. This is highly recommended for dentists who intend to send regular updates in the form of newsletters. Your ideal calendar should include dates for creating email drafts and publishing them. In addition, it should state the team members responsible for the parts of the process and the theme or focus for each email.
Several email marketing tools allow you to create calendars or automatically schedule your emails to go out at future dates and times. Having a content calendar and scheduling your emails in advance will enable you to plan and avoid any hindrances to publications. Calendars keep your team aligned, and scheduling ensures you don’t miss opportunities to send out relevant email communications.
- Personalize Your Emails
In an era when generalized information is so easily accessible, personalization makes your dental practice stand out. Patients want to feel and know that your messaging and communications were written intentionally for them. In other words, the more relevant and timely your emails are, the more likely readers, or patients, will gravitate towards them and take the desired actions outlined in your emails.
The first step to personalizing your dental practice’s emails is to segment your patient’s list. Segmentation involves grouping patients based on their interests, location, dental services, or other factors that help you share the right message with the right patients. If you segment your email list, you can share relevant updates or discounts about specific services to patients who are most likely interested in them.
Little details matter so, in addition to segmenting your email list, address patients using their first name in your emails. Most email marketing tools allow you to add FIRST NAME tags, and with these tags, you can mention readers’ names in emails and make them feel like the email was written intentionally for them.
- Create a Welcome Email
Welcome Emails are a great way to kick off your dental practice’s somewhat new relationship with a subscriber. When a patient signs up for your email list or newsletter, send them a welcome email that lets them know how grateful you are to have them on your list and what they can expect from future newsletters.
Most email marketing platforms allow you to automatically send a welcome email when a patient subscribes to your email list. When planning your newsletter schedule or strategy, be sure to look into creating a welcome email first.
- Optimize Your Subject Lines
Now that we’ve got the planning and welcome process out of the way let’s discuss some details that could make your email resonate more with readers. For starters, we’ll talk about subject lines.
A subject line is a line of text in the space at the very top of an email that tells the reader what the email is all about. It is usually the first thing subscribers see before they open a new email. It could either convince the reader to open the email or discourage them from doing so. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take some time to think about and write a quality subject line.
Think of your subject line as a handshake. It’s the first impression most readers will have with each email you send out. So, you should make sure your subject lines aren’t misleading. They can be witty, funny or obvious but whatever you do, make it relevant to the email’s content and the reader’s interest. Here are some tips on how to write effective subject lines for your dental marketing emails.
Subject lines are usually accompanied by a preview text. Preview text, also known as the email preheader, is a short message right below your subject line that teases the reader with more details about the email’s content. It may be a snippet of copy extracted from the email, or you could get creative and write copy that gets your readers’ attention.
- Improve Your Sending Reputation
Sending reputation is a score that internet service providers assign to an organization’s email communication. It measures and indicates the trustworthiness of an email’s source or sender. The lower your dental practice’s sending reputation score, the more likely your emails will end up in your reader’s spam folders.
Don’t fret: there are ways to protect and even boost your dental practice’s sending reputation.
- Use an Opt-in on your Signup Forms: Opt-in is proof of a subscriber’s consent to be included on your email list. You can include an opt-in request on your sign-up by adding a button or checkbox that subscribers have to click before they are added to your list. Always make your opt-ins clear so that patients know exactly what they are signing up for.
- Clean your Email List Regularly: Every now and then, subscribers get tired of receiving emails from a particular sender for whatever reason. As a result, they may end up marking those emails as spam whenever they receive them. Every time your emails are marked as spam, there’s a chance that your sending reputation score reduces. So, take some time every couple of months to remove disengaged subscribers from your list. This ensures that only subscribers who are most interested in your emails will receive them.
- Improve the Quality of your Email Content: This one might sound obvious but it’s worth noting. If your emails aren’t interesting, engaging, or visually appealing, you could lose the interest of your subscribers, readers, and patients. As a result, many of them may stop reading your emails, delete them, unsubscribe or mark them as spam and none of these actions are good for your sending reputation. So, do your best to improve the quality of your email’s copy and content.
- Comply with HIPAA regulations
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It consists of regulations that guide healthcare practitioners on how to share and publish information with patients through different channels, including emails. Your emails must be HIPAA-compliant to ensure your communication with patients is appropriate and well within the law. To learn more about HIPAA regulations, check out our recent article on the Act.
- Track Your Email Marketing Performance
Finally, you should check your email marketing performance regularly. Pay attention to metrics like Bounce Rate, List Growth Rate, Open Rate, Click-Through Rate, and Number of Unsubscribes amongst others. Use these metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your dental practice’s email marketing campaigns and make any necessary adjustments.
Remember, emails are an excellent channel for engaging your patients and earning their trust and loyalty. If you want to retain more patients, you need to have an email marketing strategy in place. Use the tips we’ve discussed to ensure your strategy thrives but if you need more help with your dental marketing campaigns, contact a Connect the Doc marketing specialist today.