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Email Marketing Tips for Dental Practices

Looking for a new way to grow your dental practice? Look no further than your inbox.

Yes, we’re talking about email. 

Email is one of the best marketing tools that you’re not using. While you likely use email for simple transactional tasks, such as to confirm upcoming dental appointments, you probably aren’t using email to its full potential. 

In this post, we’ll discuss how to take advantage of email to market your dental practice and services. Let’s get started.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a simple but effective marketing strategy. It's the act of sending promotional emails to your prospective, current, and previous patients. 

The goal of email marketing is simple: Build a relationship with your patients through the inbox. You can do this through an assortment of email types, including: 

Transactional - This is the type of email that you're most familiar with. These are automatically triggered emails, such as appointment confirmations. These are different from main marketing emails because they’re automated and initiated by a patient’s behavior. Unlike traditional marketing emails, transactional messages are sent on a 1-to-1 basis instead of 1-to-many.

Newsletters - These are weekly or monthly digests about your dental practice. Use these emails to share recent news about your practice that your patients will care about. You can also use your newsletters to promote individual services, and book more appointments.

Lead nurturing - These emails can run the gamut from educational content to event invitations. The goal of these emails is to build a relationship with your subscribers and stay at the top of their minds so that when it's time to schedule a dental appointment, you're the first one they think of.

Later on in this post, we’ll share more types of emails that you can send, but this is a good sample to help you see the power of a robust email marketing strategy. 

To recap, here are the top benefits you’ll gain from email marketing:

  • You can develop a relationship of trust with your patients—both prospective and current.
  • You can educate your patients about their oral health and dental procedures.
  • Your patients will remember you when it’s time to book a dental appointment.
  • You can use email marketing to actively drive new appointments.

How to Use Email Marketing to Grow Your Practice

Email Marketing Tips for Dental Practices

Now that we’ve discussed why email is such a great tool for growing your practice, let’s discuss how to use it effectively.

Choose an Email Marketing Tool

Here’s the thing about marketing emails: You cannot send marketing emails from your inbox directly, even if you use blind carbon copy (BCC). Instead, you’ll need to use an email marketing tool, like ConvertKit, Constant Contact, or MailChimp.

Not only will this allow you to easily send emails to a large group of people at once, but an email marketing service will also ensure that you're complying with the law. When sending promotional emails, you must observe the CAN-SPAM Act, which is a set of federal regulations for marketing emails. 

There are a lot of rules involved in CAN-SPAM but one of the most important is that you must give your subscribers the ability to opt-out of future emails. Ideally, if someone subscribes to your email but later decides that they don't want to continue receiving your emails, they should be able to click a button and unsubscribe immediately. If you don't have this option, you could be setting yourself up for major penalties.

This is why you definitely need to use an email marketing tool. Popular email marketing tools are set up to ensure that you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. 

This one is a non-negotiable, but the good news is that there are many great email marketing tools to choose from. Some are completely free to use.

Invite Sign Ups

Once you’ve signed up for an email marketing tool, it’s time to get subscribers for your email list. You could simply ask your website visitors to sign up for your email list, but that’s not effective. Very few people will sign up that way because no one wants to subscribe to another newsletter—especially if they’re not sure what type of emails you’ll send. Will they be valuable or just junk?

The best way to encourage new email signups is to incentivize it. Offer something in return for their newsletter subscription. For example, you can offer a coupon, free consultation, add-on service, or maybe even a goodie bag at their next appointment. These are known as lead magnets and can sweeten the ask and make them excited to sign up for your email newsletter.

There are several places to advertise your email newsletter, including:

  • Your website - Invite visitors to sign up from every page on your site (encourage them with a lead magnet like we discussed above).
  • In office - When your patient checks in, ask them to sign up (be sure to offer up that goodie bag in exchange for the signup!).
  • Your email signature - If you’re sending a transactional email, you can ask them to sign up for your promotional emails as well. By law, patients who receive transactional emails should not automatically be signed up for promotional emails. They need to give explicit permission before you can send marketing emails.
  • Via social media - You can actively promote your email newsletter on your social media platforms as you would on your website—by dangling a lead magnet.

Send a Welcome Email

Once someone signs up for your marketing emails, it’s a good idea to send out a welcome email. In this email, confirm that they’ve subscribed to your email newsletters. Also set expectations for how often you’ll send out your emails and what types of emails you’ll share (promotional, educational, etc.).

In your welcome email, encourage your new subscriber to set their email preferences. Many email marketing tools allow you to set up an email preference center that your subscribers can use to tailor their email experience. This feature also allows you to segment your email list (we’ll discuss this later).

Finally, end your welcome email with an unexpected surprise, such as a discount on cleaning. This reinforces the idea that signing up for your email list will be a valuable and rewarding experience.

Mix Up Your Emails

Newsletters are just one type of email to use in email marketing campaigns. Here’s a list of emails that you can send to your subscribers:

  • Educational - Discuss a dental-related topic in detail
  • Seasonal - Highlight the season and tie it into your practice (such as a back-to-school dental exam promotion)
  • Re-engagement - Reserved for patients who haven't booked in a while, send them a series of emails to get them excited about your practice (such as a high-value coupon)
  • New blog post - Share a snippet of your latest blog post and encourage subscribers to click through and read the full post
  • Birthday or special event - Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or any event that matters to your patients
  • Thank you - Send an email to thank your subscriber for being a part of your list

Send Emails Regularly

The only way to effectively grow your business with email marketing is by being consistent. Don’t send a newsletter tomorrow and then wait eight months to send the next one. By that time, most of your subscribers will have forgotten about you. And they may even hit unsubscribe.

Instead, send emails regularly and dependability. Sending emails once a week is best, but if you can’t send that often, don’t go beyond once a month. That’s the bare minimum to stay top of mind with your patients.

Email Marketing Tips for Dental Practices

Segment Your Email List

As your email list grows, it’s a good idea to divide your list into groups. This allows you to better serve your subscribers by providing them with more individualized content. For example, your patients with dentures or partials will likely have different interests than your pediatric patients. So, it’s a good idea to divide your list based on similar needs or interests. This is known as segmentation.

Here are a few ways to segment your list:

  • By activity - Your most active patients go in one list and your inactive patients go in another
  • By loyalty - Segment your subscribers based on how long they’ve been patients
  • By dentist - If you have more than one dentist at your practice, separate your list based on practitioner 
  • By interest - If you have an email preference center, your patients can decide which types of emails and which topics they’d like to receive

A word of caution when segmenting your list: Be mindful that your marketing emails are HIPAA compliant. You don’t want to violate the recipient’s privacy if the email is seen accidentally by someone other than the intended party. Never include personal or protected health information in your marketing emails.

Clean Your List Regularly

Don’t forget to clean your email list regularly. It may be tempting to hold on to your subscribers, but the ones who aren’t opening your emails are negatively affecting your email deliverability rate. 

Email services, like Gmail and Outlook, monitor your email open rate to determine if your emails are high quality or spam. If you have a higher percentage of unopened emails, it signifies that your emails may not be high quality emails, and so email services will automatically route your emails to promotional or, worse, junk folders. 

To prevent this from happening, clean out your email list at least twice a year. Send out a series of re-engagement emails with the aim of getting them to respond. But, if they don’t, then delete them from your list. An engaged list of subscribers is more important than a long one.

A/B Test Your Emails

To write more effective emails in the future, it’s a good idea to test your current emails. 

Change a small element of your email, such as the subject line or the call to action text, to find out what resonates with your subscribers. This process is known as A/B split testing, and it’s a feature that’s available on most popular email marketing tools. The more you test, the better you’ll be able to connect with your subscribers.

Start Right Now

Email marketing is a great tool for staying connected with your patients. If you have a website, and even one visitor, it’s time to collect email addresses and start sending promotional emails. Don’t wait!
Interested in building a new dental website? Let’s talk.