For the vast majority of dental offices, email marketing is relatively unexplored territory. And for good reason—after all, how much interaction with your patient’s daily lives is expected, or tolerated? More importantly, how can a dental office produce ongoing, relevant content that provides value?
Maybe, these aren’t easy questions to answer. And strategies might differ depending on the practice and its patients. But one thing is certain: email marketing works. People are twice as likely to sign up for your email list as they are to be active on your Facebook, and consumers overwhelmingly prefer email marketing to other channels.
Simply put, email might be the best way to reach people, and it’s not going away anytime soon. But how does a dental office use this to their advantage?
Below, I’ve outlined the four basic stages of a successful email campaign. This procedure isn’t the only option, but it’s undoubtedly an effective roadmap, and should provide you with results that help grow your practice.
Stage 1: Show Appreciation
Assuming patients are added to your email list following their first appointment, thank them for their business and ask if they’ve enjoyed their visit. This is a great time to ask for their feedback on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Reviews are incredibly important for the visibility and reputation of your business online, and asking for them directly is the best way to get them. (If you want more information about the importance of reviews, check out our recent report here or our optimization software, Boolean).
Stage 2: Provide Value
If you want to keep the interest of your patients, you must begin to provide them with real, tangible value. Maybe it’s an article about the importance of flossing. Maybe it’s information about what your practice is doing in the community, and how they can help. As long as it’s something they may be interested in, it’s providing a value. This content is designed to keep your patients engaged, and to keep your name and image in their minds. Doing this will also position you as an expert, and as someone that can be trusted to inform people about their dental health.
Stage 3: Human Interest
Your patients are far more likely to care about what your practice has to say if they care about the people that work there. Is someone from your office getting married? Is there a birthday? Whatever the reason, there’s plenty of ways to get your office members in front of the eyes of the patients. Show that your practice is friendly, caring, and welcoming. That makes people much less hesitant to schedule their regular cleanings, let alone any extra procedures.
Stage 4: Offer
Here’s how you get people in the door. Find things to offer your patients that are enticing, without costing your practice too much. Teeth whitenings, discounted cleanings, and free consultations are all common options. Maybe give incentives towards patients who refer a friend, or enter your mailing lists in monthly raffles. What’s important is that these deals are exclusive: an advantage you give to people on your waiting list.
Rinse and Repeat
A good campaign will continuously cycle through stage 2, 3, and 4. Different patients may be more interested in value, human interest, or offers, and cycling the types of content is the most effective way to keep everyone interacting. If you have the ability to track open rates, keep an eye on the type of content that seems to get the most interest.
What service should I use to create automated campaigns?
If you’re looking for a free option, MailChimp likely has all the features you need. It’s easy to use, and you can design good-looking emails in minutes. If you’re looking for more advanced features, there’s a number of more professional-grade options such as HubSpot and InfusionSoft. Whatever you use, the basic philosophy should remain the same: cycle the types of content between value, human interest, and offers, always keeping an eye on what performs best.