Using Email Marketing to Grow Your Practice

Though often underutilized, dental email marketing can completely change the way you connect with patients while growing your practice.

By now you know that getting patients to the dentist takes more than just an appointment card.

From sweeping social media campaigns to individual phone calls, there are plenty of ways to strategize. But in all the noise, many practices are missing out on one of the easiest ways to connect with patients.

We’re talking about email marketing.

The potential is undeniable, considering that 89 percent of Americans check their email once a day, with over 20 percent checking in five or more times daily.

Because people open their email as naturally as they look at their phones, email marketing has become more important than ever before.

Dentists in particular stand to benefit while building recall and reactivation campaigns.

Email marketing goals

The goal of any email marketing campaign should always be to provide value to your patients. As you bring value, you can accomplish several marketing goals, such as:

  • Sending appointment reminders — The option to receive email reminders provides both a useful service and decreases the likelihood of a no-show. Provide automatic and repeat reminder emails to the 65 percent of people who schedule appointments online. It's a great way to fill the chair!
  • Bringing back lapsed patients — Odds are, you have a list of emails from patients who have missed a few cleanings. Sending them a personal message or a promotional offer to bring them back into the office can be incredibly effective.
  • Asking for patient reviews — Right after an appointment, email a brief “thank you” along with a request for feedback. This rounds out a patient’s experience and can help improve processes.
  • Increasing engagement — Send a monthly email newsletter with offers, updates, or reminders about the services you offer. The newsletter keeps your practice top of mind and can make it easier for patients to make appointments online.
  • Making a personal connection — Create email campaigns that are thoughtful and personal. These build a trustworthy relationship with your patients. They're also a great way link to your social media accounts and grow your practice’s online community.

With all of its potential benefits, dental email marketing is a must, but only if you do it right.

In the constant onslaught of social media, email has become a safe place. People get to decide what they want to see and unsubscribe or delete the rest.

For this reason, it takes a strong marketing strategy to land in patients’ inboxes. You need an eye for what emails patients actually want to open.

As you get started, here are a few tips for creating a successful dental marketing campaign.

Build a strong subscriber list

The first step in any email campaign is getting permission and collecting email addresses.

You can build your list offline by including email in new patient paperwork. Ask patients if they would like to receive any updates or your monthly newsletter.

You can also sign current patients up and ask if they would like to subscribe to your email list.

There are even more ways to build your list online by including an online signup form to your website, adding a subscribe button to your blog, or including a subscription button to all of your social media platforms.

Take advantage of your welcome email

The best, and maybe only, chance to win patients over is with the first email they receive from your practice.

The welcome email should be short and should have tons of personality. Include an inviting image (smiling picture of your staff or patients) and create a call-to-action that makes the patient want to keep getting your emails.

For example, let them know they can receive special email-exclusive offers. Or tell them that a beautiful smile starts with staying in the know!

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Create audience segments

In order to make sure you are sending the right messages to the right people, create different patient email lists.

The email you send to your most loyal patient will look much different from the email you send to the guy who hasn’t had a cleaning in 10 years.

Even in your general newsletter, it is worth taking the time to customize your email content for specific groups of patients.

Remain HIPAA compliant

Email marketing content should steer clear of any protected health information (PHI) — this means patient names, photos, or any other type of dental records.

Even still, the HIPAA laws can seem a bit murky when it comes to direct email marketing campaigns.

The best way to remain compliant is to let patients know exactly what they will be receiving in the emails. You should always get permission to use any patient photos or personal identifiers.

Whether you are sending a monthly newsletter or an appointment reminder, always make it clear, get consent, and keep information generic.

Stay out of spam

Reaching a patient’s primary inbox should always be the goal when mapping out your dental email marketing strategy. After all, getting whitelisted is a major marketing win!

Most email service providers will do everything they can to keep your emails out of spam, but there is plenty you can do to ensure your emails don’t get lost.

Do Not:

  • Use all caps
  • Use multiple exclamation points
  • Have any spelling errors
  • Buy or rent email lists
  • Email people who have bounced multiple times
  • Use giant images
  • Cram keywords into your text
  • Scrape sites for email addresses

Instead, use minimal text with small images. Present a clear message and send it to a regularly updated list of subscribers.

Optimize for mobile users

Remember that most patients check email on their phone.

While you might design your emails on your desktop, patients are likely to be having a much more mobile experience.

One study proved that a whopping 61 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices, making it crucial to choose a optimized email template.

Be sure to test to test on multiple mobile devices, but also write emails for a mobile experience. Nobody wants to read four long paragraphs on their phone, so make it easy to skim with a clear call to action.

Start strategizing today

A strong email marketing strategy gives your practice the unique opportunity to provide patients with exactly what they need when they need it.

From reminders and promotions to post-surgery treatments and updates, a well-designed email campaign will keep your patients’ attention wherever they are on their patient journey — and these best practices will help you get from idea to inbox in no time.

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Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.