How to Use Email Marketing to Grow Your Dental Practice

Monday, August 10, 2020 | By Tim Stoddart

Dental Practice email marketing

Even though e-mail has been around for decades, it is still an essential marketing tool that can change the way you connect with new patients, retain current ones, and grow your dental practice. Today, many marketing agencies put a heavy focus on social media marketing, chatbots, and other online channels in order to reach their customers. However, according to Hubspot, email marketing generates, on average, $38 for every $1 spent, making email one of the most powerful tools that generates the highest ROI. As a result, it’s important to have an effective dental practice marketing strategy if you want to beat the competition and continue to grow your practice.

Why Every Dental Practice Needs Email Marketing

There are over 3.9 billion email users and 91% of people check their email at least once a day. Still, you’re probably wondering if people really want to receive emails from dentists. Although people don’t generally enjoy going to the dentist, it’s something that they have to do. Being a healthcare provider, patients want a dentist who they can trust and build a long-term relationship with. If you’re making an effort to connect with patients and provide them with useful and informative content, people will gladly open your emails. When you focus on providing email content that solves the particular problems of your patients, you will begin to see results.

Keep Current and Prospective Patients Up to Date

Dental practice email marketing is a great way to retain your current patients by keeping them up to date. The simple act of sending out a reminder that it is time for a routine cleaning will help boost the chances of first-time patients returning for a second visit, building a relationship with you, and ultimately recommending your practice to their friends. In addition to appointment reminders, email marketing is an easy way to spread the word about new services or products being offered at your dental practice.

Use Your Content to Showcase Your Expertise

Email is significantly underused in the dental industry, so there is a lot of room for the opportunity to share your expertise. If the content you provide in your newsletters clearly displays your knowledge and experience in the field, people will begin trusting you as a resource for improving their dental hygiene. Whether this content comes in the form of blogs, videos, or how-to guides, your unique words can set you apart from other local dentists.

Enhance Your Review Strategy

Another reason why every dental practice needs email marketing is for their review strategy. Of course, the key to getting more positive google reviews is providing excellent care, but email marketing is a way to connect with past patients and ask for their feedback. After an appointment, you can send out a thank-you email and inquire about their experience. If they had a positive experience, the email can direct them to one of your review platforms. If they had a negative one, the email can direct them to a form that is sent directly to your office. In many cases, simply asking for feedback is the easiest way to improve your review strategy to attract more patients.

Getting Started With Email Marketing for Dentists

If you do it right, email marketing is a must for dentists. So, how do you build an email list and formulate campaigns that people actually want to read? Let’s take a look at some of the basics.

Identify Your Audience and Build an Email List

As with any other online marketing technique, the first step towards dental practice email marketing is identifying your target audience. You will want to ask yourself who it is you want to target – is it parents with young children, local families, or young adults in your area? Think about your current patients, who they are, what their values are, and why they come to you. Once you know your patients and who you want to target, it’s time to start building your subscriber list.

There are many ways to get people to sign up for your emails, such as:

  • Ask new patients if they would like to receive your newsletter on their new patient paperwork
  • Ask returning patients if they would like to stay updated via e-mail after their appointment
  • Create an email sign up sheet to keep in your office and take with you to community events
  • Add online signup forms to your home page, service pages, and contact page
  • Add a subscribe button to your blog posts
  • Encourage your followers to sign up on social media
  • Use email pop-up forms on your website

Pick The Right Email Marketing Tool

The beautiful thing about email marketing is that there are endless tools available that will help you build, organize, send, and track your emails. These tools will track metrics to help you monitor rates of engagement such as:

  • Open rate
  • Bounce rate
  • New subscribers
  • Click-through rates

Some of the most popular email marketing service providers include Constant Contact, SendinBlue, Drip, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp – some of which even offer free trials, so you can conduct a test run and find the one that is right for you.

Set Up Segmented Campaigns

If you want your email marketing strategy to work, you need to make sure you are sending the right types of emails to the right audience. As a result, it is vital to create separate patient email lists based on the customers you want to target. After all, an email you send to someone who has never visited your office but filled out an online contact form will look extremely different from an email you send to a past patient who hasn’t visited your office in two years. 

According to Hubspot, marketers who use segmented email campaigns see as much as a 760% increase in revenue. Some factors to consider when segmenting your customers into separate campaigns include:

  • The location of your office(s) and patient(s)
  • How long a person has been subscribed to your email list
  • Which insurance provider a person has
  • How a person has interacted with your website and/or past emails

By creating segmented email campaigns, you ensure that you are sending people emails that they will actually be interested in opening. In doing so, a study released by Mailchimp suggests that you can earn 14.31% higher open rates and 9.37% lower unsubscribe rates using segmented emails rather than non-segmented campaigns.

Determine How Often You Should Send Your Emails

If you’re sending out too many emails, you become a nuisance. On the other hand, if you don’t send enough e-mails, your prospects won’t stay engaged and you’ll stop generating leads. By determining when and how often you should send your emails, you will set yourself up to see higher open rates and increased subscriber engagement. 

Data collected by SmartrMail suggests that sending between 4-8 emails a month is optimal for achieving the highest click-through-rates (CTR). At the same time, open rates begin to decline as soon as companies begin sending more than sixteen emails a month. This evidence suggests that most people don’t want to receive daily emails from you, so it’s important to space them out wisely.

Additionally, you will want to consider the day of the week and the time of day you sent your emails. Multiple studies confirm that Tuesday is the best day to send emails followed by Wednesday, while the weekend is the worst time. On the other hand, when it comes to the time of day, most e-mail marketing campaigns are sent out in the late morning around 10 am, so it is sometimes a good idea to schedule your campaign at a different time, such as 6 am when your recipients are waking up or 8 pm when they are getting ready to go to bed.

Many email marketing platforms offer send time optimization services that collect data for you in order to figure out when the best time to send your emails will be, so you only have to focus on understanding your target audience and delivering quality content.

Stay Compliant With HIPAA Laws

Being in the healthcare industry, any email content you use needs to remain in line with HIPAA laws. This means the content in your marketing campaigns should avoid using your patients’ photos, names, and dental history. In order to stay compliant with HIPAA and protect your patients’ personal health information (PHI), it’s important to do these three things when having people sign up for your marketing emails:

  1. Obtain consent or authorization from the patient that they agree to receive marketing emails.
  2. Make it clear to patients why they are opting-in to your emails, whether it be for appointment reminders or updates.
  3. Give patients the option to unsubscribe from your emails at any time.

If you are using a patient’s photos or dental records as part of your marketing content, always obtain written permission. In all other circumstances, whether you are drafting an appointment reminder or your monthly newsletter, keep your content clear and your information generic to steer clear of HIPAA violations.

Make Sure Your Emails are Mobile Friendly

If you’re like most people, you check your personal emails on your phone – and your subscribers will be, too. Up to 78% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so if you’re not optimizing for mobile, you’re missing out on massive online real estate.

Although it is common to design email newsletters on a desktop, it’s crucial that you optimize your content for mobile users. If your newsletter consists of lengthy paragraphs and huge images, mobile users aren’t going to read your email. Instead, use single-column templates, short paragraphs, and appropriately sized text, links, and CTA buttons. Make sure your emails look flawless on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices before sending them to the masses.

Be Careful to Stay Out of Spam

The worst thing that can come from your dental practice email marketing campaign is that people mark your messages as spam. After all, ensuring that you reach your recipient’s inbox and catch their attention is your goal. Although it might be tempting to spruce up your emails with bold text, extra exclamation points, and flashy pictures, these are all things that could make email providers or recipients place your emails in spam. Here are some tips to help you stay whitelisted:

  • Avoid using all capital letters or extra punctuation
  • Double-check your content for spelling errors
  • Don’t buy or sell email lists
  • Use small-sized images and minimal text
  • Regularly update your list of subscribers
  • Don’t send emails too frequently or to people who have bounced on several occasions

How to Create a Great Email: Tips for Dental Patient Marketing

Now that you’ve built your subscriber list, determined your send frequency, and figured out which types of emails you want to send to whom, it’s time to learn how to create a conversion-driven marketing e-mail. Three areas that dental practices should focus on when it comes to email marketing include:

  • Subject line
  • Content
  • Design

Let’s take a look at how you can optimize these features to develop marketing emails that really work.

Capture Readers’ Attention With Your Subject Line

Subject lines are important. This is the first thing subscribers see that helps them determine whether or not they will open an email. Some things to avoid in your subject line include:

  • Using sales terms such as “free” or “one-time-only”
  • Avoid mentioning days of the week
  • Don’t write long sentences

Instead, keep your subject line short and sweet. In 50 characters or less, pose a frequently asked question or capture the reader’s attention with a personalized subject line that solves a dental problem they are having. Start your subject line with action-oriented verbs and use numbers to make your e-mail stand out, for example, “Join more than 100 others who have eliminated tooth pain.” The goal is to be clear, concise, and encourage your reader to open your email. Keep it simple and attractive, but not tacky. 

Curate Personalized Content

Personalization is perhaps the most important aspect of your e-mail marketing content. In fact, Campaign Monitor reports that personalized calls to action convert 202% better than generic ones, and personalized messages have a higher click-through-rate than messages without personalization. While you should already be using your subscriber’s name in the email, you should also talk directly to them as if they are a friend – not like you are trying to sell them something. Personalizing emails might seem like a time-consuming task, but email automation services give businesses many personalization options so you can track a reader’s previous activity and tailor custom messages just for them with minimal effort on your part.

Dental practice email marketing newsletters should contain a variety of different types of content. Between patient reviews, personal videos, and before and after pictures to how-to guides, blog articles, and special updates, having a variety of content options can help you keep things fresh, target specific subscribers with certain types of content, and boost subscriber engagement.

Use a Design That Will Impress

With all of the effort that goes into building your subscriber list and developing the content, it can be easy to overlook the layout and colors of the actual email. However, much like a first impression, creating an email that is visually appealing with a friendly feel will help engage your readers. All of your e-mail templates should contain your name, your practice’s logo, contact information, and a call to action (CTA), However, there are some smaller details to keep in mind as well. For example, some key aspects of a quality email design are:

  • Use colors that are easy on the eye and sticking with the same color scheme across all of your email marketing campaigns.
  • Use on-brand imaging. For example, if you are a children’s dentist, your newsletters should be warm, light-hearted, and family-friendly.
  • Feature real images from your practice such as photos of your office, before and after pictures, or unique products and/or services.
  • Leave plenty of white space to make graphics and text easy for your subscribers to read and look through.

Fortunately, most email marketing services offer pre-made templates with visually appealing color schemes, so all you have to do is curate a personalized message and automate when the messages go out. 

Let Stodzy Manage Your Dental Practice Email Marketing For You

Despite being one of the oldest online marketing channels available, e-mail provides you with a direct and reliable method of communication between your dental practice and your patients. If your practice isn’t using email to send marketing messages to your patients, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to generate more revenue. Having a good email marketing strategy will not only keep your current patients up to date and promote dental hygiene, but it will help you enhance your entire dental patient marketing strategy.

That being said, there is a lot that goes into email marketing for dentists, which is why it is best to leave the process to the experts. At Stodzy Internet Marketing, we have dedicated the last 10 years to establishing ourselves as one of the most trusted healthcare marketing companies out there. Whether you’ve had poor experiences working with marketing agencies in the past or are just starting your dental practice, our experts are here to revolutionize your email strategy to provide you with the results you want to see.

Get started with email marketing for your dental practice by calling us today at 800-761-1426.

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Tim Stoddart

Tim Stoddart is the CEO of Stodzy Internet Marketing. He lives in Nashville with his wife and hit adorable pitbull, Alice. Tim loves to write about digital marketing and personal growth. You can learn more at TimStodz.com

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