Easy Email Marketing for Dental Offices: Steps for Success
A little while ago we did a blog post on social media marketing for dental offices. That post went over what social media marketing was and how dental offices could use social media to reach new clients and build meaningful online relationships with their online communities. There is another way that dental offices can reach new clients and keep their current ones engaged. That is through email marketing. Email marketing is the act of promoting or engaging clients, through their email. Email marketing is an easy and effective tool that dental offices can use to promote specials, send reminders, and build a community around their brand. Today's email marketing strategies for dental offices are not a one size fits all approach. Modern email marketing strategies for dental offices are all about building relationships with clients, and that starts with consent.
Implied Consent VS Explicit Consent
Before a dental clinic can start building client relationships through email marketing, they need to understand consent. An email subscriber must consent to receive emails. This is law following Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and The Can-Spam Act in the U.S.A. There are two forms of opt-in email consent; implied consent and explicit consent.
Explicit consent is when an email subscriber gives an email for the sole purpose of receiving a company’s email newsletter. It should be no surprise that email subscribers who opt-in to email lists intentionally are the best subscribers. They have the best open rates, the best reading rates, and the best engagement rates when compared to those who gave implied consent to receive email newsletters.
Implied consent is when an email subscriber gives their email for other business purposes, such as when they fill out an online contact form, but not specifically for receiving emails. It is important to note that implied consent only lasts for 2 years in Canada. That means that if a dental office has retained an email more than 2 years ago it would be illegal to add that email to their email subscriber list without explicit consent.
Building An Email Subscriber List
A dental practice could take a manual and time-consuming approach to building and maintaining their email subscriber list. But for busy dental practices, it would be a lot easier to use an email marketing platform. An email marketing platform will not only manage an email list but it will also have email styling tools that make designing visually appealing emails a breeze. Most email marketing platforms have a free plan. MailChimp is a great email management software that has a free plan which includes free email design tools. Most email marketing platforms also come with website integration capabilities. This allows dental offices to have an email sign-up box on their website and build custom opt-in landing pages (even if they don’t have a website).
There are several ways that dental practices can populate the email subscriber lists. We already mentioned sending opt-in emails to those who have implied consent. There are other digital marketing tools a dental office can use to build their subscriber lists.
How Dental Offices Can Build Their Email Subscriber Lists
- Use Lead Manets – A lead magnet is any online content that a client can access in exchange for their email. Any lead magnet a dental clinic offers should only be content that is valuable and specific to their target audience and that the dental clinic has authority to speak about. The goal is to attract new clients and keep existing ones engaged with your brand. For a dental office, a lead magnet might be offering a client a list of things patients can do at home to maintain their healthy smiles in exchange for their email, having a client sign up to receive tips on how to get their little ones to brush their teeth, or even offering an exclusive discount to new subscribers.
- In-Person Opt-Ins – When customers book appointments or settle their accounts, reception can ask if they would like to sign up for the office's newsletter. This will require email addresses to be manually imputed into the dental offices' email marketing platform.
- Contests – Contests are a great way to build an email list and a social media following. You might set the contest up through social media and add signing up for emails as the only entry or as a bonus entry. Don’t forget to automatically enter your current subscribers into the giveaway. The trick to running successful giveaways is to align your prize to your services. You’ll want to select contest types, prizes, and guidelines that are well-aligned to the audience you’re looking to target. Otherwise, you might end up with a lot of entries, but not a lot of people who will be engaging with your social media or opening your emails. Dental offices could offer a couple of our take-home whitening kits as a prize or a service that they already provide in their office.
How To Build Emails That Get Opened
Emails that are well designed, educational, personalized, and have a call-to-action have the best open rates. Email management software will usually have an easy-to-use email building tool that can help keep a dental office's email appealing and allow the sender to personalize each email.
Tips For Building Emails That Get Opened:
- Keep emails on topic
- Keep the design clean and relevant
- Only use a couple of different fonts that are easy to read
- Only use images that are relevant and don’t have watermarks
- Personalize the email (use their name in the subject line or greeting, location for location-specific deals, or even special days like their birthday - go ahead and send them a birthday email!)
- Email subject lines should be short and sweet, nothing spammy
- Brand your email by using your logo and colours
- Keep emails friendly and conversational
- Include a call to action (i.e.: "click here to learn more" or "give us a call to set up an appointment")
Measuring and Maintaining Success
Just like with social media marketing, tracking email marketing progress is a crucial step that helps dental offices see the progress of their email marketing strategy and areas they can improve on. If a dental office is using email marketing software, then there will likely be analytic software built in. Dental offices will want to keep track of open rate (how often an email is opened), click-through rate (how often someone clicks a link in an email), bounce rate (how often someone opens and then immediately closes an email), unsubscribe rate (how often someone unsubscribes from an email list).
To Sum it Up
Email marketing is a great way for dental offices to promote specials, send reminders, and build a community around their dental office brand. Today's email marketing strategies for dental offices are not a one size fits all approach. Modern email marketing strategies for dental offices are all about building relationships with clients, and that starts with consent. A subscriber that has given implicit consent is strongly preferable. Building personalized, eye-catching emails, with short and sweet subject lines will help dental offices build and foster online communities. Just like with a social media strategy, dental offices need to track their email marketing progress and troubleshoot any issues that come up.