Email Marketing For Dentists
Email Marketing for Dental Practices
The practice of emailing has been around for 50 years; it was a part of sending messages to colleagues during the beginning of the Internet. It started to become mainstream in the mid-90s with AOL’s ubiquitous, “You’ve got mail” notification system. Today, email is so common — who doesn’t’ start each day without checking their email — that it’s easy to take for granted.
How email affects the marketing of your dental practice is also taken for granted. With all the focus on SEO and SEM, on Facebook for Business and Google My Business, on directories and review sites, email is often disregarded as a marketing tool. But for dental practices, email marketing can be one of your more effective methods of building loyalty with your existing patients and garnering interest from potential patients.
Because email marketing allows for a personal interaction with patients, we think it’s a good idea for your dental practice to incorporate into your marketing strategies. Here’s why.
First Let’s Look at the Numbers
Because email marketing has been around so long and is part of our daily lives, there have been plenty of studies on its effectiveness. Here are a few interesting statistics:
Email marketing works.
You’re Not Bugging Your Patients
Some dental practice owners can be hesitant to think of email for marketing. “Who’s going to want to get an email from their dentist?” is the line of thinking. But that’s flawed thinking. People have long-term relationships with their dentists. It’s not as if you’re some spammer sending blanket meaningless emails. Patients see your name on an email and they’re likely to open it.
A well-written email message or an engaging e-newsletter from your practice gives your patients a feeling of trust and it builds your sense of expertise. Taking the time to send an email tells the patient you’re thinking of the long-term relationship rather than simply wanting you to “buy” something. For instance, you could use email to tell patients about a new in-office teeth whitening treatment you just added or that you now are an Invisalign dentist. Of course, you can use email to remind patients about upcoming appointments. Or, if you haven’t seen a patient for a period of time, you can send a reminder to schedule their twice-yearly checkup and exam.
Email Is Cost Effective and Easy to Create
Email is very cost effective. You don’t have to buy radio or TV time, no space in the local paper, no auctions for pay per click ads, no buying 1000 imprinted items from a specialty advertising firm. Most email marketing services charge a low monthly fee, such as $9.99, for 500 contacts and some automation features for another $5/month.
Creating emails is easy. Most services offer templates that are easily filled with content. All you do is write your message and you can automate when it will go out, or you can send it right at that time. Services always provide tracking to show your open rates, unsubscription requests, and the like. You simply provide your email list and the emails will go to each inbox. They can be personalized to the recipient.
Still on the Fence?
Think of your own situation. You probably check your email at least a couple times per day. Everyone does. Some people check it compulsively all day. And while we all get way too many commercial emails from having to provide an email address with just about any online purchase, ever notice how you don’t unsubscribe to those that are interesting, have value to you, or have personal importance.
For instance, if you’re a big golfer and have ever purchased used golf balls from LostGolfBalls.com or similar sites, these companies then send you emails just about every day. No one can need that many golf balls. You delete them most days, but when you’re about out of balls you click on that day’s email and buy.
For dental practices, you’re not going to send an email every day, obviously, but twice a month is about the right amount and you’ll find patients opening them and not unsubscribing. This is especially true if they provide valuable information in your email content, such as that the ADA recently approved the first electric toothbrushes or what to do if you chip a tooth.
What’s the Right Time?
The question isn’t if it works, it’s when is the best time to send your email. Timing can be almost as important as what you say.
Research shows that consumers are checking their inboxes when they first wake up and just before they go to sleep at night, although there is variation.
Research has shown differences in the times when people open their email:
So, if your dental office is in New York hitting the “Send” button on that email should be later than if your office is in Salt Lake City. Or perhaps you want to send your emails after 6 p.m.? This is personal preference, but many marketers feel it’s better to hit people early when they are just getting the day going, rather than late when they’re looking for reasons to delete emails.
You’re Not Looking for a Reply
Unlike more commercial emails, your dental practice isn’t looking for instant action. You’re using email to stay in touch, offer advice, remind patients about upcoming appointments, or say thank you after an appointment.
Still, most people don’t just leave emails untouched. Over half of people using email have fewer than 10 unread emails in their inboxes at any given time. Also, most people respond to emails (at least to those necessitating a response) within an hour. With your email marketing, your “response” won’t be a reply by email, but the scheduling of an appointment or simply building trust with the patient for the long haul– a personal interaction.
Hit “Send” for Loyal Patients
If you’re not using email to communicate marketing messages to your patient list, you should be doing so. It may be just a follow-up email after they’ve been in your office for a procedure, or it could be more marketing oriented, trying to expand or encourage repeat business. But if you pay attention to when you send the messages and how engaging you make them, email can be a great marketing tool.
If you need help planning an email campaign, let us help. At Advice Media, we’re versed in all aspects of digital marketing for dental practices, and that most certainly includes email. We’ll show you the ins and outs, and provide suggestions to get you started.