Email marketing is one of the best tools you have at your disposal. Whether you’re the newest dental practice in your area or an established pillar in your community, you will benefit by implementing an email newsletter.
In today’s post, we’re sharing tips on how to create not just any type of email newsletter, but an email newsletter that gets results. You can absolutely use this affordable marketing strategy to generate more dental appointments for your practice. Let’s discuss how.
An email newsletter is a form of email marketing. It’s an email that you send out regularly to your subscribers to keep them in the loop of what’s happening in your practice.
You can use your email newsletters to share news, tips, testimonials, oral hygiene how-tos, and other educational content. You can also highlight the different services that you offer at your practice.
Email newsletters are separate from other types of email marketing.
Email marketing encompasses several types of emails, including appointment reminders, confirmation notifications, and notes that celebrate your patient’s special occasions, such as their birthday or patient anniversary. However, those forms of emails are usually triggered by the patient’s individual behavior and data. With an email newsletter, you can send out one standard email to everyone on your list.
Why should you worry about sending out an email newsletter? Will your dental practice actually benefit from it?
Spoiler alert: Sending out a regular email newsletter will help you establish a relationship with your subscribers. You can become a trusted voice. Let’s take a look at the major benefits of sending out an email newsletter for your dental practice.
Did you know that three out of every four people who visit your dental practice’s website won’t visit again? It’s not something that you’re doing wrong, it’s just the nature of things. When a prospective patient is in research mode, they tend to visit a dental website and then forget about it (even if they bookmark it). Then, when it’s time to make an appointment, they’ll start with a Google search. And even if they liked your website originally, they may not find it again. So, they’ll likely book with one of the first few sites they click on.
Here’s why you need an email newsletter: An email newsletter allows you to capture those first time visitors onto a list so that you can continue to build a relationship with them after they’ve left your website. By sending out regular emails to them, they won’t forget about your practice. And they’ll be much more likely to schedule an appointment with you in the future because your regular emails have allowed you to reach “top of mind” status with your subscribers.
Social media is great for dental practices. However, you can’t rely on social media alone.
Firstly, your space/ profile/ presence on social media is “rented.” You can’t own the way that your practice is presented on any social platform.
Secondly, when you’re on social media, you’re at the mercy of the platform’s policies and algorithms. They decide when and to whom to show your posts. And your posts may not be visible to all of your followers, which can be maddening. Social media algorithms are notoriously unpredictable and difficult to control.
Thirdly, you “own” your subscriber list. If your social media account is deleted or hacked, you can rely on your subscription list to stay in contact with your followers.
Social media has its place, but creating and maintaining an email list is far superior. It’s more secure, you’re able to control the experience, and you’re also able to speak directly to your audience.
Most people won’t remember to check your dental website on a regular basis. However, when you send out an email newsletter, you’ll be able to effectively drive traffic back to your site. Send out a newsletter when you publish a blog post or start a special promotion at your office. Then, on your newsletter, include a link back to your website so that your subscribers can read or learn more. This allows you to drive traffic back to your site often.
Now that we’ve gone over a few of the benefits of email newsletters, let’s discuss how to effectively create one for your dental practice.
The first thing you need to do is sign up with an email marketing service, like ConvertKit or MailChimp. Your email marketing service will allow you to send mass emails to your subscriber list without breaking the law. (You must use an email marketing service instead of your inbox because this service protects subscribers and allows them to unsubscribe without hassle.)
Your email marketing service will give you an email newsletter signup widget that you can add to your website.
You can add your signup widget anywhere on your website, including on your homepage, embedded within your blog posts, or within your website’s header or footer section. You can also do a timed pop-up on your website or blog.
(If you’re using Great Dental Websites, we can help you set up the signup widget on your website. Contact us here for more information.)
After you’ve created an account with an email marketing service, your next step is to create a welcome email. This will be the first email that you send out to each of your new subscribers. Your welcome email should be short and sweet, and set expectations for future communications. For example, you’ll share how often you plan to send emails to them, and what type of emails you’ll send (promotions, tips, etc.).
It’s also a great idea to include an exclusive gift in the welcome email, such as an email-only coupon for free dental cleaning. In fact, you can use this free gift as an incentive for joining your email list. By offering the coupon in exchange for their subscription, you start off your relationship with a win for them and a win for you. (It’s a win for you because you can continue to market your dental practice to them in the future.)
Once you’ve built up a sizable list (of at least 100 subscribers), divide your list into different groups. For example, you can group your subscribers by the types of services they’re most interested in, or the type of patient they are (pediatric, adult, etc.). This is known as segmenting.
Segmenting your list allows you to personalize your email newsletters. You can draft unique newsletters to send to different audiences. A tweak here or there can make a major impact on your ability to convert subscribers into appointments.
How do you segment?
The easiest way to start segmenting is by sending out a survey. Ask your subscribers to self-identify or to choose which topics they’re interested in reading on your newsletter. This way, you can create slightly different versions of your newsletter that to send out.
Designate a time for sending your email newsletters and stick with that time. Research shows that the best day to send an email newsletter is on Tuesday or Thursday. And the best time of day to send one is in the early afternoon (between 1 pm to 3 pm). Of course, you can play around with these times to see what works best for your individual subscriber list.
Make it a point to send your emails on a regular schedule. Don’t send one email this month, another email next month, and the next email seven years from now. Consistently is the best policy when it comes to email marketing, especially in the form of newsletters.
It’s ideal to send an email every month if you can. It’s best not to go longer than a month between newsletters because people will forget about you, if you do. And the goal is to build a relationship and stay at the top of your patient’s minds so that they’ll immediately think of you when it’s time to book a dental appointment.
Also implement the following email newsletter tactics:
The best email newsletters tend to be short, as in 200 words or less. That’s approximately four paragraphs. Subscribers should be able to read your email newsletter in the span of five minutes. If it takes a long time to read, your subscribers will stop reading and say they’ll return later (but they won’t).
Be brutally honest and put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes. If you were them, would you care about the content of your email?
Create email newsletters that provide immediate value to your subscribers.
Always start your email newsletters with the most important information first. This is considered the inverted pyramid method. If you want to share an event or a special promotion or a new service, that goes at the top of your newsletter so that you can spread the word to as many subscribers as possible. Not everyone will scroll down your entire email, but if you start with something exciting at first, you have a better chance of holding on to their attention.
At the end of your email, give the reader the next step to take, whether that’s making an appointment, redeeming a coupon, or reading a blog post. A call to action ensures that your email is purpose-driven.
Your subject line is the deciding factor that will either make your subscriber open your email or scroll past. Choose a subject line that promises something of value or that piques their curiosity.
Sending out an email newsletter will help you establish a community and eventually lead to increased dental appointments. Use the above tips to start your newsletter today.