Email Marketing for Dentists: An In-depth Guide
Growing a dental practice is not an easy feat.
While most patients prioritize dental care, others only see a dentist when they really need to. In order to keep your practice profitable, you have got to find ways to attract new patients and keep existing patients engaged and make appointments.
The question is: Is email marketing for dentists a really good investment?
The answer is yes.
Email marketing may not be the newest and shiniest promotion tool in your marketing strategy, but it is reliable and effective. We have created this guide to introduce everything you need to know about email marketing for dentists.
Table of contents
- Why does email marketing for dentists work?
- 6 types of email marketing for dentists
- 14 email marketing strategies for dentists
- 1. Identify your target audience
- 2. Decide what you’ll measure
- 3. Pick the right tool for your email marketing needs
- 4. Build a good subscriber list
- 5. Segment smartly
- 6. Determine your send frequency
- 7. Focus on your subject line
- 8. Provide content that is valuable and shareable
- 9. Remain HIPAA compliant
- 10. Stay out of spam
- 11. Optimize for mobile users
- 12. Make CTAs clear and concise
- 13. Tie in social media
- 14. A/B test some elements
- The bottom line
Why does email marketing for dentists work?
Do you know that more than 280 billion emails are delivered every day? Your patients’ inboxes are crowded. That’s why many people complain of spam, ads, self-promotion, and an excess of content that all looks the same.
So, think about which emails you open up on a regular basis. You probably open emails that are beneficial to you, solve a problem, or answer a question.
Many patients may not enjoy going to the dentist, but they have to. By concentrating on email content that addresses the specific pain points of your patients, you’ll get results!
Do you need more reasons to start email marketing at your dental practice? We’ll give you 7!
- It’s cost-effective
- It increases your website traffic
- It maintains an ongoing relationship with your existing patients
- It positions you as an expert
- It’s a good opportunity to encourage referrals
- It keeps patients up-to-date on your new services and promotions
- It allows for asking for reviews
6 types of email marketing for dentists
Email marketing for dentists can take many different forms. You may want to apply all of these at times, depending on your marketing goals and budget. Let’s see 6 types and examples of email marketing campaigns that dentists send to their patients and contacts.
1. Appointment confirmation emails
Appointment confirmation emails are generally no-brainers for healthcare professionals and dentists.
If a prospective patient fills your appointment form and doesn’t receive a confirmation email, they would think:
- Their appointment wasn’t accepted
- Their booking didn’t go through
- They are not welcomed to show up
As a dental practitioner, you are expected to provide your patients with a comfortable experience and help them get rid of any confusion. Confirmation emails allow you to welcome new patients and reassure them that their appointment was successful and they will be in good hands.
|The example from **The Practice||Beverly Hills** below confirms the booked appointment and shares a link to ask patients to fill out a dental and medical history form in advance.|
It not only confirms the appointment but also makes the visit go smoothly because patients don’t have to bother filling it in the office.
2. Introducing new products or services
New product/ service announcement emails help you boost your brand value and your sales performance.
The following email example from Smile Direct Club includes:
- A powerful headline
- A detailed how-to-use guide
- 2 CTAs, one at the start and another below
You can see the full email right here.
The last section of the email was used to increase brand authority by showcasing the technology and safety protocols.
3. Announcing discounts and other promotions
Customers are often hungry for good deals and opportunities to save money when buying a product or service.
Offering discounts can win you new patients or make existing previous ones return. Such deals will motivate patients to try your services and come back again.
Let’s take a look at the email from Lady Lake Smiles Dentistry right below:
The email includes:
- An irresistible offer
- A direct CTA to book appointments
- A free guide to help with teeth-related issues
- A URL to find a local dentist nearby
4. Celebrating a patient’s birthday or anniversary
Sending birthday greetings and wishes should be a part of your patient management strategy.
Maintaining a stable relationship with patients is crucial. If not doing so, you’ll risk missed appointments, unhealthy relationships, and ultimately, no revenue.
There is no doubt that your patients receive multiple emails from businesses every day. What could make yours stand out and be considered.
As a healthcare provider, your patients expect you to care for their well-being. And by sending your patients a happy birthday email, you are engaging them in a positive, caring manner.
Here is an example of a healthcare birthday email template sent to patients.
5. Sharing interesting office updates
Trident General Dentistry sent a simple design announcement email to their patients by sharing the most recent updates.
This makes them feel imported and included in major updates about their favorite doctors.
6. Motivating patients to write reviews
Social proofing is not only useful for corporate businesses to show that they have been around and people liked them. Dentists can build social proof to persuade prospective patients to book an appointment or purchase a product after seeing a positive review.
This is another tactic to include in your dental email marketing arsenal.
Send emails to existing patients in order to motivate them to leave you a review and share their experience. You can offer them a discount for their next consultation or product purchase to give them another reason to write a review.
Below is an example of an email marketing campaign delivered by New York & New Jersey Family Dental asking their patients to write them a review.
You can see a short email copy with a large CTA standing out in the middle of the email. And most of all, the design is responsive for different devices.
14 email marketing strategies for dentists
It takes robust marketing strategies to land in patients’ inboxes. You really need an eye for what emails your patients want to open. As you just get started, here are a few strategies for creating a prosperous dental email marketing campaign.
1. Identify your target audience
All marketing strategies start with the target audience; in this case, it’s your patient. Answer these questions in your strategy:
- Who are your current best patients?
- What qualities do they have in common?
- Why did they come to you, and how?
- What problems does your patient have, and how do you solve them?
- What can you do that your competitors don’t?
Think about your patients’ values, beliefs, and what really makes them tick. If you’d like to establish real relationships with your patients, you should know them inside and out. If you are not making a habit of surveying your patients on a regular basis, this is a good time to do so.
2. Decide what you’ll measure
One of the most awesome aspects of email marketing is the sheer amount of data you can analyze with each campaign.
For each email marketing campaign, you should track:
- Open rates
- New subscribers
- Click-through rate
- Time spent viewing the email
- Bounce rates
Every campaign needs something measured. What would you like to achieve at the end of your campaign? You may want to build a bigger list or increase your rates of engagement. What you really want to achieve will determine which metrics you should keep your eye on.
The decision on what you measure is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator).
3. Pick the right tool for your email marketing needs
You don’t need to spend time emailing each individual patient. All you need is an email marketing tool to help you build, deliver, organize, and track your emails.
There are actually dozens of major providers out there - which one you choose will depend on your own budget and what features and functionalities you absolutely need.
Start by researching the best email marketing service providers. This ensures you get the necessary options while getting some advanced features tailored to you.
Plus, don’t forget to contact your network of marketers and ask what they recommend.
4. Build a good subscriber list
You will need a solid contact list to grow your email marketing efforts. The more subscribers you have, the wider your message spreads and the more segmentation options you will have.
Your website and social media networks will drive most of your online subscriptions:
- Update your blog, or create content that your customers care about. Include a CTA button that asks for their email address and any other data you’ll need.
- Include an opt-in form at the header and footer of your website.
- Use your business social media accounts to create awareness and drive subscriptions. Most email marketing service providers make it easy to share your emails on popular social media networks.
- Add a pop-up email form to your website to capture visitor information.
There are also a lot of ways to get opt-ins offline, such as:
- Each time a new patient fills out paperwork, ask for their email address
- After each appointment, ask the patient if they would like to stay updated via email
- Create an email sign-up sheet, and bring it to every community event you attend
- Set up an educational booth with big giveaway or free swag, in exchange for an email address
Once you’ve built a healthy email list, you need to keep it clean. Make a note to check your email list at regular intervals. Don’t forget to get rid of any inactive and unengaged users on your list. If you keep holding onto low-quality contacts, you will see your overall engagement levels drop significantly.
When you’re starting out with 0 subscribers, it might be tempting to purchase an email list.
Don’t do it!
Many contacts in purchased email lists are fake and won’t give you any value. And if you deliver emails to contacts that ultimately send your emails straight to their spam folder, your domain will ultimately have a bad reputation!
- How to Build an Email List from Scratch Fastest?
- Email Marketing List Management Explained (with 8 Best Practices)
5. Segment smartly
Segmenting will make your campaigns more effective. You can start segmenting your subscribers based on:
- Their location
- Their behavior on your website (i.e., visiting a certain page, filling out a contact form, etc.)
- How long they have been on your email list. It’s a good way to separate more engaged users from less engaged ones.
- Their dental insurance provider. This allows you to deliver separate messages to users of a particular provider.
You can actually expand your segmentation to include users who just want a particular type of email or the frequency of email updates. It all comes down to what your patients want.
6. Determine your send frequency
If you deliver your emails during the most strategic days and times, you will see better open rates and engagement. The best send times depend on your subscriber list. Therefore, the only way you can truly know is to test various times.
However, you can read some suggestions by experts to know when the best time is to send marketing emails. Read this blog post to know more!
Send as many messages as you need to deliver, depending on your goals and how frequently you post your content. However, ensure to not bombard your subscribers with multiple messages a day. Space out your emails throughout the week.
7. Focus on your subject line
Don’t discount the utmost importance of your subject line!
Emails with personalized subject lines can receive up to 26% more opens.
It’s the very first thing that your subscriber sees and ultimately determines whether your email will get opened or not.
There’s actually no magic formula to create a winning email subject line. Many factors are involved, such as your message’s content, what you expect your recipient to do, and to what segment your email is being delivered.
Several tips for creating an email subject line include:
- Keep your subject lines short - preferably 50 characters or less. As more emails are being read on mobile devices, you have less real estate.
- Avoid sales-like and spammy words, such as “Free” or anything related to money
- Ask a question or even call to a conversation with the recipient
8. Provide content that is valuable and shareable
One goal that is worth pursuing is getting your subscribers to share your content with their friends and family. You can do this by including content that offers immediate and obvious value to your subscribers.
A dry email about the dental procedure is unlikely to be shared. Instead, try including:
- Before and after photos
- A colorful infographic
- An entertaining video
Visual content has more chances to be shared than plain text. By keeping share-ability in mind, you can expand your reach without increasing your spending.
9. Remain HIPAA compliant
An essential consideration for dental email marketing is the compliance with HIPAA regulations. HIPAA protects particular patient information, and dental practices that fail to comply with these regulations may be subject to fines.
Below are some of the most vital considerations for HIPAA-compliant email marketing for dentists.
- All emails sent to existing patients should be encrypted.
- When you ask your patients to sign up for your email list, make it clear that they will be getting regular emails from you.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe from your email list.
- Use a HIPAA-compliant email solution. Any reputable dental practice management platform is HIPAA-compliant, and many include email automation. If you decide to partner with an outside company, it is your responsibility to ensure a signed BAA (Business Associate Agreement) is in place.
As a matter of fact, protecting your patients’ privacy should be your priority whenever you deliver a marketing email. Keep that in mind, and you won’t need to worry about non-compliance.
10. Stay out of spam
Reaching a patient’s inbox should always be the goal when mapping out your email marketing strategy. After all, getting whitelisted is a major marketing win!
Most email marketing service providers will do everything they can to keep your emails out of spam, but there’s plenty you can do to ensure your emails don’t get lost.
- Buy or rent email lists
- Use all caps
- Use multiple exclamation points
- Include any spelling errors
- Email people who have bounced multiple times
- Use heavy images
- Cram keywords into your text
- Scrape websites for email addresses
- 10+ Expert Tips to Prevent Your Emails Sent to Promo/ Spam Box
- How to Optimize Email Content for Anti-spamming?
11. Optimize for mobile users
It is safe to assume that your emails will be read on mobile devices. So, make sure you optimize your content and design for mobile readers.
You can apply the following tips:
- Use a responsive email template to ensure that your email will fit most screens.
- Make sure that your text is easy to read. In most cases, using a default size and font will suffice. Otherwise, apply a 22-point font for the subject line and a 14-point font for the body of your email. Likewise, only use web-safe fonts that can be readable on most devices.
- Stick to a single-column template, so your subscribers aren’t required to scroll horizontally to read.
- Break up your email content with short sentences and paragraphs
- Increase link size
- Use appropriately-sized CTA buttons
- Don’t stack links
12. Make CTAs clear and concise
Every email you deliver should include a clear and concise CTA. By this, we mean:
- Your patients should understand that you want them to click the CTA
- They should understand what will happen once they click
For example, if you want your patients to leave a review, the CTA might say “Click Here to Leave a Review,” and it should lead to your own page on a reputable review site.
Or, if you want them to book an appointment, the CTA should say “Book an Appointment” or something similar and direct them to your booking page.
If you include a specific, clear CTA, your subscribers are far more likely to do what you want them to do.
13. Tie in social media
You might already know that social media provides a great way to connect with your followers, boost their engagement, and turn them into lifelong and loyal patients.
Thus, one way to make the most of your dental email marketing practices is to tie your social media accounts to your emails. Below are some tips:
- Include social media follow buttons within your emails
- If you want your subscribers to leave comments or reviews, include a direct link to your Facebook review page or Instagram post.
- Use a plugin in order to allow your readers to click to Tweet key points or statistics from your emails.
There is no reason your marketing emails can’t also be a good way for you to grow your social media following.
14. A/B test some elements
A/B testing is your friend. It can help you optimize the particular goals you have for your email marketing, or it can have a failing strategy back on track.
With every email campaign you create, think of various elements you can swap out to see which ones perform the best:
- The subject line. Test different messages in order to realize which one gets the most open.
- CTA. See which ones drive the best CTAR (click-through rate).
- Font-size/ color. Test these to optimize spent reading your emails
- Images. Which kinds of images drive clicks?
- Headlines. A compelling headline can affect whether or not a user reads to the end.
- Amount of content. Decide the type of emails your subscribers prefer reading.
Give your email marketing campaign a week to build up user data, and analyze the metrics.
The bottom line
You can see that there’s a big opportunity in email marketing for dentists. A good strategy can help you forge stronger relationships with your patients, keep them more informed, and then help promote good health to all your subscribers.