As innovations in the age of the internet go, email was one of the first. Before social media and websites with dynamic graphics, we could send these virtual letters. But because it has been a fixture in our lives for so long now, many people overlook its marketing power.
As Forbes said in a recent article titled, “Email Marketing: Still The Most Powerful Tool To Take Your Business To The Next Level,” this approach “still promises to deliver the highest ROI of all marketing channels—$42 back for every dollar you spend.” That is one seriously impressive figure.
And as a dentist, you have an even greater advantage than many other businesses. When people are trying to remember the time they agreed to for their dental appointment, they’re likely to check their inbox. We now consider email to be the catch-all for our important life information.
What does this mean for your marketing efforts? It gives you a position of trust and authority, right off the bat. When an email comes through from you, patients and even potential patients are less likely to ignore it. They’re going to open and read it, because it could be serious and important health, scheduling, or insurance information.
Our message is clear: Dental practices need to be devoting time and effort into email marketing.
But now, let’s talk more about why email marketing is generally so impactful.
Why Email Marketing Works
Key to the effectiveness of email marketing is the voice it allows you to embody. This quote from digital marketing agency Lone Fir Creative says it well: “[It] allows you to build relationships with leads, customers and past customers. It’s your opportunity to speak directly to them in their inbox, at a time that is convenient for them.”
It’s personal and feels personalized. You can write as if you’re having a conversation with the individual recipient, one on one. Even social media doesn’t quite lend itself to such an intimate tone, because you have to write it from the perspective of speaking to the masses rather than a single person via their inbox.
Add to that the fact that email marketing is significantly cheaper than things like television or radio commercials, direct mail, and billboards, and it really is a no-brainer!
Still, you might be thinking, what would I even say?
Well, for starters, let us just note that email is a fantastically effective way to communicate appointment reminders and receive confirmations, share news about closures and policies, etc. An article from Continuum recommends sending a reminder email three days prior to the appointment for optimal response.
But there are myriad types of content you can use to market yourself via email. Below, we share a few of our favorite concepts!
- Announcement of new procedures and other offerings
- Info about special discounts or programs, like your dental membership plan
- Links to blog posts (see our own blog post with content ideas!)
- Seasonal and holiday greetings
- Features on Employees of the Month, Patients of the Month, or Hygienists from time to time
- Links to articles on oral health you would love for your patients to read (whether written by you or someone else)
- Anniversaries, milestones, and promotions
- Awards and distinctions
- Quick, digestible oral health tips (3 Tips for Ideal Flossing, Top 10 Worst Foods for Your Teeth, etc.)
Those are just a few ideas, but keep in mind that the possibilities are limitless. If you have something short and sweet to share, it can go right into an e-blast. If it’s longer, you can post it as a blog and link to it through the e-blast.
Either way, that email will be one of the best ways for you to build a bridge to personal connection with each patient. That is, if they open it, which brings us to our final point.
Key Tip: Email Subjects and Preheaders Matter
You might think the subject should just be something like “A Note from your Dentist.” And on occasion, that would be okay, but it’s a good idea to be creative and mix it up from email to email when it comes to the subject line. This is the first thing the recipient sees. It is what entices them to open the email in the first place. If every one of your emails just says, “Hello from Dr. Smith,” they’re going to stop opening them after the third.
The same goes for preheader text, which is that little sentence or two that you can see below the subject line in the message preview. Think of the subject and preheader as opportunities to capture attention. Let’s look at two examples:
Subject: Hello from Dr. Smith
Preheader: It’s time for another cleaning!
Subject: Your Teeth Will Thank You for Opening This Email
Preheader: Seriously, this common problem doesn’t need to plague you.
There is a time and place for both, because you don’t want to seem too sensational all the time either, but you can see how mixing it up between the two will keep recipients interested and attentive.
Despite the fact that email has been around for a while now, it remains a highly relevant part of our everyday lives. When you can understand why it works and use it to your advantage, you might find your dental practice with fewer canceled or missed appointments, more patients opting into special procedures and programs, and great patient loyalty in the long term.
You can advertise, maintain great relationships, and communicate key info—and you can do it all with email marketing.