10 Email Marketing Tips for Dental Practices
Sending a polished newsletter you can be proud of is as simple as investing in the right tools and following some basic email marketing guidelines. Learn more about email marketing for dentists today.
Email is still one of the most effective marketing tools out there. Research consistently shows that email delivers unbeatable ROI, with one recent study finding that it creates $38 in revenue for every dollar you invest.
That’s a lot of bang for your buck. Most dentists already send out periodic email newsletters to their patients. And frankly, these newsletters tend to be lackluster. That’s completely understandable, of course. Dentists are healthcare providers, not marketers! And email newsletters are a non-critical task that may end up being pushed aside, or handed off to less-senior staff.
Benefits of Dentist Email Marketing
For dentistry practices, email marketing has enormous potential. It not only allows you to communicate directly with your patients, but it also delivers various benefits that can help your practice expand and succeed. Here are four major advantages of email marketing for dentists:
1. Cost-Effective Patient Engagement
One of the primary advantages of email marketing is its low cost. Email marketing takes a little cost when compared to other forms of promotion. Nonetheless, it enables you to reach a broad audience while offering a great return on investment. You may communicate office news, dental care recommendations, and special offers right to your patients' inboxes, making it an ideal tool for creating and maintaining patient relationships.
2. Targeted and Personalized Communication
Email marketing enables extremely tailored and focused communication. You can use it to divide your patient population into different groups depending on their unique features or needs, such as new patients, long-term patients, those who require certain therapies, and others. This segmentation allows you to send customized communications to each group, increasing engagement and response rates. Personalized email contact can help improve patient satisfaction by making patients feel cherished and understood by their dentist.
3. Improved Patient Retention
Regular email communication can help substantially with patient retention. You keep your practice at the forefront of your patients' minds by constantly appearing in their inboxes. This persistent reminder may persuade them to schedule regular check-ups and dental treatments, building patient loyalty. Furthermore, relevant content such as oral hygiene recommendations or descriptions of dental procedures can establish your office as a reliable source of dental knowledge, enhancing patient-practice ties even further.
4. Trackable Results
Email marketing solutions give thorough analytics, giving you vital information into the behavior of your patients. You can track open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to determine what type of material is most appealing to your patients. This information can help you adjust your marketing plan in the future to better meet the requirements and preferences of your patients.
What to add in your dental newsletter
A well-structured, educational, and interesting newsletter may be a great way to communicate with your patients while also promoting your dental office. It is critical to provide a wide range of material that is both useful and entertaining to your viewers. Here are a few ideas for including rich, engaging material in your newsletter:
1. Sharing Oral Health Tips:
Dental health is essential to general health, and your patients will appreciate receiving practical and actionable oral hygiene suggestions. You may include information on proper brushing and flossing practices, the need of regular dental check-ups, and strategies for keeping good oral health at all stages of life.
2. Patient Stories (Before and After):
Real-life stories can be quite interesting. Display the transformations you've assisted in bringing about by including before-and-after stories from your patients. This not only illustrates the caliber of your job, but it also fosters trust among potential patients. To preserve patients' privacy, acquire written permission from them before sharing their story.
3. Promoting Upcoming Events:
Use your newsletter to advertise any community events, charity drives, or educational sessions that your practice conducts or participates in. This strengthens your connection with the community and displays your practice as vibrant and involved.
4. Promoting Elective Services:
Use your newsletter to notify patients about the elective services you provide. Many patients may be unaware of the complete range of services available at your office, whether it's cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, or dental implants. Emphasizing these services may persuade patients to seek more treatment.
5. Promoting Dental Health Week or Month:
Take advantage of dental health weeks or months to raise awareness about oral health. Distribute relevant articles, statistics, and infographics, and even run special campaigns to encourage check-ups and treatments.
6. Include Quizzes and Trivia:
Consider including dental-related quizzes or trivia to make your newsletter more interactive and entertaining. This can be a fun method for patients to test their oral health knowledge, learn something new, and look forward to your next communication.
Remember that your newsletter's ultimate purpose is to provide value to your patients, which builds your relationships with them and promotes your dental business. By incorporating these features into your newsletter, you may provide your patients with an interesting, educational, and helpful resource. To see more examples of blogs and newsletters, check out our article here
Dentist Email Marketing Platforms
- Pros: MailChimp provides a free tier for up to 2,000 contacts (great for small practices getting started). It also offers pre-designed templates which can be easily customized, and the platform is easy to use for beginners.
- Cons: Advanced features are only available in paid plans, and the jump from the free tier to the paid tier can be quite substantial. Additionally, MailChimp has no integrations with EHRs making managing your lists labor intensive.
- Price: Starts with a Free plan, then $9.99/month for Essentials, $14.99/month for Standard, and $299/month for Premium.
- Pros: NexHealth is a full patient experience platform that syncs (read and write) with practice management systems like Dentrix, Eaglesoft, eClinicalWorks, and Practice Web in real-time. Campaigns, when coupled with other features like 1-Click recall, forms, and Online Booking can be used for marketing and directly generating revenue. With a bidirectional integration, doctors send out email campaigns to active patients, without importing any lists. The editor is no-code and intuitive to use, and the system comes with templates to get you started.
- Cons: Must purchase dental email marketing as part of a platform with additional functionality.
- Price: starting at $300 a month
- Pros: Solutionreach offers a suite of tools specifically for dental practices, including patient reminders, online reviews management, and patient satisfaction surveys. It can also help manage and automate recall and reactivation campaigns.
- Cons: The pricing may be higher than other email marketing platforms, and some users have reported that customer service could be improved.
- Price: Pricing is not publicly disclosed; you need to contact Solutionreach for a quote.
- Pros: PracticeMojo specializes in dental recall and reactivation campaigns. It can also automate appointment reminders, birthday greetings, and holiday messages. It offers a number of dental-specific templates.
- Cons: It may not have as many advanced marketing automation features as some general email marketing platforms like online scheduling, appointment journeys, smart waitlist or 1-click recalls. Designing campaigns with images requires advanced knowledge.
- Price: Pricing starts at $149/month.
- Lighthouse 360
- Pros: Lighthouse 360 provides a full suite of patient communication tools for dental practices, including email marketing, appointment reminders, and family messages. It can also help manage patient reviews. They also offer managed marketing, where they help with calendaring, creating, and writing campaign content.
- Cons: It's pricier than many other platforms, especially for managed marketing or templated campaign access, and there may be an initial setup fee. Users also can’t make changes without contacting support and communications cannot embed photos.
- Price: Pricing information is not publicly available; you need to contact Lighthouse 360 for a quote.
- Pros: Demandforce offers an array of features including appointment reminders, online booking, and automated review requests. It also provides custom email campaigns and templates for dental practices.
- Cons: Some users have reported the software can be a bit complex to learn initially.
- Price: Demandforce does not disclose pricing on their website; you'll need to contact them directly for a quote.
Dentist Email Marketing Guidelines
But here’s the good news: You don’t need a slick, professional marketing agency to deliver on-brand messaging that keeps your patients coming back. Sending a polished newsletter you can be proud of is as simple as investing in the right tools and following some basic email marketing guidelines. Here are ten rules to keep you on-track:
1. Deliver value
“Would I read this?” That’s the first question you have to ask yourself. And it may sound obvious, but forgetting to put yourself in the reader’s shoes is the number one rookie mistake dentists make when writing newsletters.
Remember: This newsletter isn’t about you. It’s about your patients, and what you can do for them. Imagine getting an email from your lawyer, accountant, or plumber. Would you read it? Only if it added some kind of value to your day.
In practice, that means you can write about almost anything. You just have to look at it with a critical eye. Should you summarize some recent dental news? Sure… if it actually impacts patient health. An update about new technology your practice acquired? That’s great… if it affects your patient experience. Want to include a little lighthearted humor? Perfect… if it’s genuinely amusing.
Whatever content you put in your practice newsletters, make sure it delivers something valuable to your patients.
2. Use pictures
There’s a reason Instagram is the highest-engagement social media platform: Humans are visual animals. We love pictures.
If your practice newsletters are a wall of text, patients are likely to click delete and never look back. In fact, one researcher found that adding an image to his email increased the response rate by a jaw-dropping 400%. Another study found that choosing a better image improved click-through-rates by nearly half.
Of course, you don’t want to use just any pictures for your newsletters. Make them warm, friendly, well-lit, and high-resolution. You can even take office and staff photos yourself if you have a decent camera and know what you’re doing.
There are also plenty of free stock photo resources available. Just make sure whatever images you get are licensed for commercial use. And stay away from cheesy stock photos and clip art.
3. Give a call to action
If a patient opens your newsletter, you’ve got a golden opportunity. They’re giving you a moment of their time and attention. In exchange, you can ask them for something. Marketers dub this your “Call To Action” (CTA), and it can take almost any form.
Find a Lawyer. Customize Your Wedding Card. Search Now. Your web experience is filled with CTAs like this - usually pasted on a clickable button. They’re a fundamental part of how we interact with technology.
What’s an appropriate CTA for your newsletter? That depends on what you want your patients to do. With a patient relationship management suite like NexHealth, you can give readers the option to Book an Appointment Now, and guide them right back to your office.
If you’d prefer to make your newsletters a more subtle form of advertising, your CTA can ask patients to engage with you on social media, or forward the email to a friend. Again, you have the patient’s attention. Make the most of it!
4. Be consistent
Marketing is a game of repetition. That’s why TV commercials are shown over and over (and over) again. Sending infrequent or sporadic newsletters won’t hurt your practice - but in terms of patient engagement, it won’t help you, either.
If you want to see real impact from your newsletters, you have to commit to a cadence and stick to it. That doesn’t mean your patients need to hear from you every week, or even every month. Once a quarter can be very effective. But once you commit, stay consistent.
The goal is to create a steady drumbeat of engagement. The more your patients hear from you, the more they’ll like you - even if they don’t consciously remember you. It’s called the Familiarity Principle, and it’s an extremely powerful marketing tool.
5. Stay on-brand
Branding is a big, complex subject - but don’t be intimidated. Ensuring that your newsletter reflects your practice brand really just means paying attention to two things.
First, make sure it has the right look and feel. Is the logo identical to the one you use on paper mailings? Is the color palette similar to your physical office? Is the font the same as your website and business cards? It’s OK if it’s not a perfect match, but don't send anything that's jarringly different from your existing visual vocabulary.
Second, speak in your authentic voice. If you tend to be warm and affable with patients during in-person visits, let your newsletter mirror that voice. You don’t need to use a stilted, technical tone just because you’re writing.
The key thing here is to avoid giving patients “whiplash” between the newsletter and the office experience. Keeping your newsletters on-brand is how you smooth out that transition.
6. Use a responsive template
In 2018, more people used mobile phones than desktop computers to get online. So if you’re sending patients an email newsletter, it has to look as good on an iPhone as it does on a laptop.
Technically speaking, this creates an interesting challenge. After all, mobile phone screens are much smaller than normal computer screens. How do you make sure text is large enough to read, buttons are large enough to tap, and pictures shrink down to a manageable size?
The answer: Use a mobile-responsive template. Responsive software is a clever engineering trick that lets your email look right on any screen size. It’s been around for years, but you’d be surprised how many businesses forget to use it.
Whether you download your email newsletter template from a free source or have one custom-built, make sure it’s mobile responsive.
7. Be relevant
A surefire way to make your newsletters more engaging is to tie them into patients’ daily lives. That means taking note of upcoming holidays and planning your content accordingly.
Is the new year coming up? Offer some guidance about how patients can take full advantage of their dental insurance.
Halloween on the horizon? Give some cavity-fighting candy tips for kids. Heading into the dead of summer? Teach patients how to navigate emergency dental care in case something happens while they’re on vacation.
The opportunities are endless. Get creative! Remember how we said that the newsletter isn’t about you - it’s about your patient? That’s what topical, seasonal content is all about. The more relevant you are, the more connected your patients will feel.
8. Make it personal
Do you recall the last cookie-cutter advertisement you received? Of course not. You threw it away and forgot about it instantly. If you want to avoid that fate for your practice newsletters, it’s crucial to forge a personal connection. There are several ways to do this.
First, use the patient’s name in the introduction. With the NexHealth campaign manager, this is as simple as dropping in a placeholder. We’ll automatically insert the patient's name into your email.
Second, target your content. NexHealth also makes it easy to send email blasts to patients within a certain age range. Want to send one newsletter to your millennial patients and another to the baby boomers? No problem.
Third, be smart about the patient relationship. If you haven’t heard from a patient in years, it might be time to stop sending them newsletters. Or conversely, you might want to send them a special message. With NexHealth, you can do all that with a few clicks.
9. Time it
Timing matters. An email that arrives at 10am carries a different message than an email that arrives at 10pm (even if they have the same wording). While the 10am-vs-10pm example may be a little extreme, sending out your emails at an appropriate time can have amazing effects on your open and response rates.
Consider using automated tools to help with timing like MailChimp or Mixmax (or NexHealth). Gmail also recently released an update that allows you to schedule when your email will be sent.
10. Track your efforts
Sending a newsletter without tracking its performance is like oral surgery with no follow-up care. Maybe it got the job done - but are you willing to chance it?
These days, email performance tracking is an art and science in its own right. You can see how many people opened your email (open rate), how many clicked on a link within the email (click-through rate), how many ultimately booked an appointment or completed some other goal (conversion rate), how many emails were undeliverable (bounce rate), and more.
Studying how your emails performed is key to improving them over time. If, for instance, your most recent newsletter had a low open rate, that means you didn’t write a very interesting subject line and you should try a different approach next time. If your click-through rate spiked, your Call to Action must have been effective. Consider reusing it!
With NexHealth, performance tracking is just one of the intuitive tools built into your email marketing platform. We put this data at your fingertips, so you can get better and better at engaging and retaining your patients. Read more about seamless digital newsletters.
The bottom line
Newsletters are a powerful marketing tool for your dental practice. They’re a warm, friendly way to keep patients engaged and build your relationship. Here are the ten rules for writing powerful, effective newsletters:
- Deliver value
- Use pictures
- Give a call to action
- Be consistent
- Stay on-brand
- Use a responsive template
- Be relevant
- Make it personal
- Time it
- Track your efforts