How to Grow Your Dental Practice
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Email is one of the most effective and affordable marketing channels business owners and professionals have in their arsenal – including dentists. It has the best return on investment (ROI) with the least amount of effort and resources.
However, email marketing for dental practices has its own unique nuances and it’s important that you implement it properly. This article will give a brief rundown on how to create an email marketing strategy for your practice, plus the benefits you’ll reap.
Before we get into the marketing aspect of emails, let’s start with the basics: what are common reasons that dental practices email their patients?
The most common dentist’s email is the appointment email. It serves to confirm to the patient that their appointment was successfully booked. Not having it can cause confusion, as patients might think their appointment went through when, in fact, it didn’t (or vice versa).
Confirming appointments is one of the best dental email examples because it’s usually the starting point of the dentist-patient relationship. That’s why it’s important to personalize the email as much as possible. Appointment emails can also help new patients ease into your process by telling them of your policies and procedures. You can even introduce yourself or your team so the patient can be at ease.
However, you can also use emails to nurture your existing patient pool. You can send follow-up emails to remind patients when their appointment date is near, which not only helps grow your practice but it keeps your patients’ well-being as a top priority. Not to mention, it’ll make patients feel taken care of and appreciated. Doing this is easy with a dental appointment reminder email sample.
Educating patients is one of the most effective ways to engage dental mailing lists. By providing free advice, you give users value upfront long before they visit you. This is invaluable for building trust and keeping you top-of-mind over time.
For example, you can email your patients weekly regarding dental hygiene tips or information on how to prevent cavities. They’ll appreciate the useful advice you give them, plus you will come across as an expert and build authority in your field.
You can even create entire courses via email. For instance, you can create a primer on tooth care basics. Then, deliver it as a daily or bi-weekly email your patients can consume. Sequencing trains them to anticipate your emails as well.
Marketing is, of course, the main reason for creating an email list of dentist outreach. You can use it to announce new products or services to your patients. You can also use it to communicate promos and discounts to help attract new patients to your dental clinic.
When done right, promos are one of the most anticipated emails by patients. After all, if it can help them save money or get freebies, most people will take you up on it. A promotion email will only get a negative response if it’s unsolicited. But when sent to an engaged list, you’ll likely get a favorable response. Just make sure not to over-send your promotional emails.
Fostering a trusting relationship with your patients is perhaps the main goal of email marketing for dentists. The good news is it doesn’t take much to start building trust with your patients.
An easy way to do this is to send patients personalized emails during special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. You can even go one step further and offer them a gift or discount. In a sea of marketing emails, a birthday greeting will stand out in their inbox. Just make sure it’s genuine and heartfelt.
Much like any social relationship, a good dentist-patient relationship is a two-way street, so it’s best if your audience also knows something about you. You can do this by sending regular updates about your clinic, dentists, or an introduction email when they make their first appointment.
Chances are that your practice has been involved in the above email marketing practices. But how can you up your marketing strategy using email campaigns? Here’s how to create a strategy for dental email marketing:
The first step of any email marketing strategy starts with the audience. Of course, they’re all people needing dental care, but you should go deeper than that.
It pays to know what makes your target market tick. What are their tastes and preferences? How about their pain points and frustrations, especially regarding dental care? What is their biggest problem that you can help solve?
You should also evaluate your top patients, then look at the commonalities. Why did they pick you? Are you doing something that your competitors aren’t? What problems are you solving?
Doing this can give you insights into the kind of patients you tend to attract so that you can build a list including them. For example, you might find that your patients tend to be from an older demographic; this knowledge allows you to tailor your marketing to get more of them.
Gathering insights about your audience should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. There are plenty of ways to do this, including surveys, questionnaires, or focus group discussions.
How do you know if your email marketing strategy is working? By clearly measuring your progress. That’s where metrics come in.
Metrics are the variables used to measure certain aspects of your email marketing. For example, the open rate metric tells you how many people opened your email. A low open rate means your email content or subject line might not be resonating enough with your audience, or it simply doesn’t stand out in their inbox.
Now, keep in mind that there are tons of metrics available to you. But if you look at each of them, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s vital to only pick the metrics that matter, depending on your goals. These are called your key performance indicators, or KPI. Monitoring only your KPI makes managing your email marketing easier and allows you to focus only on the things that matter.
For instance, the New Subscribers metric would be your top priority if you want to grow your email list. On the other hand, if you’re going to engage your list, you should monitor your open rate and bounces.
Sending an email to a single list might seem trivial, but what if you had to send it to various groups? It can quickly get tedious and time-consuming.
Luckily, you don’t have to do this manually. Email marketing platforms can help automate the process for you. With such platforms, you can plan out your email sequence for weeks ahead, and the program will automatically send it. They also have advanced features like analytics, segmentation, and email list management. Some also provide dental newsletters samples, so you don’t have to write your emails completely from scratch which can take up time and resources.
Once you’ve planned everything, it’s time to build your email list. The best way to do this is through organic (non-paid) means.
For dental practices and clinics, this is easy to do. You can simply ask new patients their email addresses when they make their first appointment, and you can add them to your email list. Of course, make sure to ask their permission first, especially if you’ll be sending them marketing emails. You can also source new subscribers from other marketing channels, such as articles or Facebook posts.
Before growing your list, decide what types of emails you want to send them. Do you want to focus on educational content? Or do you want to throw some promotions in the mix? How often should you send one type of email over the other?
It’s crucial that you have a careful plan for your email campaigns — you should never spam your patients hoping something catches their attention. Newsletters are always good, as they can be great engagement tools. If you find the process overwhelming, you can opt to start with a dental newsletter template.
Lastly, set a schedule and frequency of your email sends. Depending on your audience, there are specific times when emails are best sent. Use data on your target audience to determine these times and plan accordingly.
You may be wondering whether email marketing is still relevant and whether it’s worth your time to create a campaign. While social media certainly has a strong hold on the online space, email campaigns remain an effective marketing strategy. Here’s why:
Dentists should always make an effort to foster a long-term relationship with patients. Yet in today’s digital world, it can be difficult to keep patients engaged.
However, with emails, dentists can maintain relationships and engage with their patients outside the clinic. You can send them educational content, check up on them, or simply greet them on their birthday. It’s one of the easiest ways to make patients feel you care and develop those lifelong partnerships between patient and dentist.
Nothing deters patients faster than a complicated scheduling process or glitches in an online system. Emails can help make scheduling appointments as seamless as possible.
Not only is this a benefit to patients, but it can also be valuable for the clinic. Staff spend less time on the phone discussing appointments with clients, as automated confirmation and reminder emails free up their time to focus on other aspects of the practice. Additionally, you can send constant email reminders as the appointment date draws near.
People are busy, so don’t be discouraged by patients you haven’t heard from for a while — it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unsatisfied with their service or your practice. Often, they simply haven’t had time to make an appointment and just need a bit of encouragement. Well-written and well-timed emails can help “reactivate” these patients with a gentle reminder. Chances are they simply forgot they were due for an appointment and will appreciate you following up.
Communication is key to running any successful business, especially when communicating with patients. You can easily send emails, text messages, and appointment reminders to your patients using Cloud 9’s dental practice management software. To learn more about how we can boost your email marketing strategy, request a free demo today.