Even though it has now been around for decades, email marketing is still one of the least expensive, most effective forms of digital marketing. That’s good news because it means you can connect with your target patient audience without breaking the bank.
You already know the basics of email marketing, but you may not know how to get the most for your email marketing investment. Here are 10 tips from email marketing pros to help you.
1. Maintain Your List
Email list hygiene is a must if you want to avoid wasting money. Some people aren’t going to open your emails. Others may abandon email addresses or provide fake addresses when they complete your opt-in form. Either way, cleaning up your list can help you save money.
You can do it by using a two-step opt-in process where new patients must enter their email address and then confirm their sign-up by clicking a link. Research shows that this process increases open rates. For existing patients, send an email asking them to opt in for further emails – and delete anybody who doesn’t respond.
Also for existing patients, list segmentation can be helpful. Send current patients an email asking them to opt in for further marketing-type emails from you (for example, regular emails highlighting the different services you offer, featuring special promotions, etc.), and anyone who doesn’t opt in will be excluded from your email marketing efforts, yet would remain on your main email patient list, which is crucial for necessary appointment-related correspondence.
2. Send Emails Regularly
You may have heard this tip before, but a lot of dental practices follow it imperfectly and it hurts them. When experts suggest sticking to a regular email marketing schedule, they don’t mean “send an email two or three times a week and don’t worry too much about the timing.”
What they mean is that you should create an email schedule where emails are sent on the same days, and at the same times, every week. If you decide you want your dental marketing emails to show up at 9:00 am on Mondays, that’s when they should go out every week. That way, your patients know that they’ll be hearing from you. We are all creatures of habit – so let people know what to expect by sticking to a strict email marketing schedule.
3. Reward Loyal Patients
While email has a higher ROI than many other types of marketing, that doesn’t mean you can take it for granted. You probably have some patients who open every email you send – and they should be rewarded for that!
Every once in a while, the pros recommend sending out a special discount code or coupon that’s just for patients who open your emails regularly. That means you won’t hype it in the subject line. It’s there for the people who open your emails even when there isn’t an obvious reward. The benefit is that a casual opener will see it too – and may be more likely to open your emails in the future.
4. Give Patients Control Over What They Receive
Even people who love your emails probably see an occasional message from you that doesn’t apply to them. Allowing them to self-segment and choose what to receive can increase your open rates – and conversion rates – by making them feel like they’re in control.
Segmentation can be handled easily with a robust email marketing solution. You can send a survey that allows patients to opt into various topics or types of emails, or you can allow them to opt out by including a link to your segmentation survey at the bottom of every email.
Regardless of what they opt in to receive in the way of marketing emails, all active patients would remain on your main patient email list, for necessary correspondence related to appointments, procedures, billing, etc.
5. Don’t Sweat Unsubscribers
Speaking of putting users in control, a lot of dental practice owners fret when people unsubscribe from their lists. Pros don’t sweat it because they recognize that hanging onto a bunch of uninterested subscribers doesn’t help them.
When people don’t open your emails, they’re more likely to get flagged as spam. Ultimately, you want your email marketing messages to be going to the people who are eager to get them – and thus, more likely to book an appointment for your services. When someone unsubscribes, let them go. They weren’t helping you anyway.
6. Run A Reactivation Campaign
If you have people on your list who haven’t actually unsubscribed, but also haven’t engaged with or even opened an email from you within the past year, all is not lost. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing them as uninterested. Perhaps all that’s needed is a friendly reach-out from you showing you haven’t forgotten about them – letting them know you are still here, still treating patients, and still care about their dental health and overall well-being.
Everyone is busy, and life just takes over sometimes. Before we know it, a year has gone by and we’ve just simply put a trip to the dentist on the back burner. Reignite the relationship by making the first move – you’ll be surprised how powerful a reactivation campaign can be to bring some of those long-lost patients back through your door.
7. Use Alt Text
It drives us crazy when we get a marketing email and the images don’t load – especially if there’s no alt text to tell me what we are missing. Don’t make that mistake.
Every image you include in your email marketing should have alt text attached that describes what’s in the image. That way, users with a slow internet connection can see them. It also helps vision-impaired people who may be using a reader. The reader can understand alt text, but it can’t understand images. This is an easy fix that ensures every recipient will be able to understand your content.
8. Use Link Tracking
If you include links in your marketing emails, you’ll need to track them to find out how many of your readers click the link. Most email marketing automation services include a link tracking option.
Tracking links can help you fine-tune your email marketing campaigns and include links that are relevant to your readers. Without tracking, you won’t be sure whether your links are getting any traction at all – and that’s a mistake.
9. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly
More people read their emails on mobile devices than on computers, therefore every marketing email you send must be optimized for mobile users. That means:
- Single column content that can be easily scrolled
- Buttons that are large enough to be tapped by a finger
- Subject lines of no more than 25-30 characters
- Pre-header text that shows readers what’s in the email
- CTAs that are easy to find
You should use responsive email templates that adapt to any mobile device. That way, a user can access your email on a laptop, tablet, or smart phone and get the same experience each time.
10. Keep Files Small
Are you attaching photos or files to your email marketing messages? If so, keep the file size as small as possible. This step is extremely important for mobile users. If they’re using data to read your emails, you don’t want them to blow through their monthly limit because you couldn’t be bothered to resize an image or zip a file.
You should always look at the total file size of the email and adjust it accordingly. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for images to be under 1 MB.
As a dental practice owner, you need to make the most of your marketing budget. These email marketing tips from the pros will help you do that – and to increase your ROI and profits.
The expert team at Dental Marketing Heroes specializes in helping dentists market their practices efficiently and effectively, for the highest ROI possible. Chat with us today to see how we can help you!