Turn First-Time Visitors Into Repeat Patients With Dentist Marketing Emails

Published on April 20, 2021
No matter which type of dentistry you perform or what patients you see most often, the news that Millennials are particularly lax about dental health should have you rethinking your dentist marketing.
No matter which type of dentistry you perform or what patients you see most often, the news that Millennials are particularly lax about dental health should have you rethinking your dentist marketing.

According to a recent study, 30% of Millennials brush their teeth only once a day. On top of that, dental anxiety continues to have a tight grip on the population, with 62% of American adults avoiding the dentist even though nearly as many say they worry about losing teeth as a result of untreated oral health concerns.

These facts point to three conclusions:

  • Many Millennials will develop significant dental health issues due in part to brushing habits
  • Those conditions, once they develop, may worsen for months or years without treatment
  • At some point, symptoms will become drastic enough that many seek an emergency dentist

It is important to remember that, despite how they have often been written about online and off, we are not talking about children when we talk Millennials. In fact, they are the largest cohort in the American workforce.

The eldest among them are nearing 40, and the consequences of poor dental health habits are growing.

Over the next 20 years, dentist marketing will focus increasingly on the preferences of Millennials. Millions of them will be thrust into a situation where, having never developed a relationship with a local dentist, their need for one is suddenly urgent. The question is, what happens after those immediate problems are solved?

No doubt, even after a close encounter with the most troubling consequences of avoiding the dentist, some of them will still wish to do so. After all, severe symptoms, involved and possibly uncomfortable procedures, and a costly bill for care are all of the things that make dental anxiety so ferocious in the first place.

It’s up to your dentist marketing to keep those first-time patients coming back.

In a previous post, we discussed how to convert online leads into patients by making your office anxiety-friendly. Anxious patients can become your biggest fans and supporters when you meet them where they are and address their reservations. But you also need methods for keeping relationships strong in the long term.

Email dentist marketing is the answer.

Email Marketing For Dentists Is The Most Powerful Tool For Keeping Patient Relationships Fresh

Marketing for dentists has two big jobs to do:

  • Attract new leads who become first-time patients, often after a year or longer with no dentist
  • Maintain existing customer relationships so those patients continue to come back regularly

In the recent past, many practices have limited their dentist marketing to mailers sent out in their neighborhood. They may target people new to the area or address every unit in an apartment building. This is a step above cold calling strangers to ask about their teeth, but it can hardly be called targeted advertising.

The drawback to these old-fashioned approaches is they cast a wide net, including countless people who are already pleased with their dentist. And even if you catch the eye of one or two newcomers every month, dentist marketing can fall flat unless it also includes a strategy to develop lifetime customer value.

Email marketing is the cornerstone of such a strategy.

It produces three winning advantages for dental offices:

  • Email marketing is personal and direct, giving you access to a patient’s own space – their email inbox
  • No matter how many subscribers you get, your email can be personalized to deliver the human touch
  • Email marketing is extremely cost-effective, adding only a few pennies for every hundred subscribers

This last point should not be underestimated. Experts conclude that email marketing may have the highest ROI of any digital marketing technique when used correctly. It generates anywhere from $44 to $58 for every dollar invested by making it far more likely patients will contact you for follow-up appointments and procedures.

When it comes to keeping your value proposition front and center, email is even better than social media.

Social media is a potent brand-building tool. For dentists, however, these networks spend far too much time creating arcane “most popular content” algorithms that limit your reach and isolate your patients in bubbles.

When someone opts in to receive your email, on the other hand, it is like continuing a conversation. You can contact them weekly, secure in the knowledge there’s a high chance they’ll see every message you send them.

As long as you select helpful and informative content, your subscribers will appreciate your efforts. And even when dentistry is the last thing on their minds, they will know you are out there, ready to help.

Launching Your Email List For Dentist Marketing

Ideally, your email list should consist of at least two distinct subscriber segments:

  • Leads who have visited your dentist website but not made an appointment with you
  • Patients who have had at least one visit and who were satisfied with the experience

Of these, your satisfied patients are far easier to get on board. Both can move your business forward, but you will need to craft the right offer to get their attention. Remember, you should always collect affirmative consent before sending any dentist marketing emails. Without it, your messages can be marked as spam.

In the most severe cases, you could even face fines under the CAN-SPAM Act.

You win consent by offering subscribers perks and benefits they can’t get anywhere else. For newcomers, that could take the form of a detailed e-book or video series on the dental topics that matter to them, like keeping their teeth whiter for longer. For existing patients, it can mean coupons like 10% off a dental cleaning.

When you provide quality content to leads, you give them an exciting preview of what you have to offer. You are also helping them set buying criteria so they know what to look for when comparing other dentists. By framing the conversation, you position yourself as a trusted advisor much more likely to be chosen in the end.

For existing patients, your goal is even more concrete: Give them an incentive to come back soon.
The American Dental Association recommends regular dentist visits on a schedule determined between doctor and patient. That can mean visits every six months for patients at higher risk of serious dental complications. A simple time-limited coupon could be enough to get the follow-up visit and help patients maintain their results.

With each subscriber, you get closer to self-sustaining follow-ups and a full calendar of appointments.

Strengthening Patient Relationships Through Email Dentist Marketing

Gone are the days when an “email newsletter” was simply a collection of ads and plugs for the latest technology or products. That may still work in retail, but dentists have a far different mission: To persuade and inform patients so they make proactive dental care part of their commitment to total wellness.

That takes some creativity, but with each passing week, you deepen the doctor-patient relationship. At a time when medical professionals from all walks of life believe they are no longer given enough time with their patients – and patients largely agree with them – that is an edge, nothing else can replace.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Document Your Goals And Stick To Them

Before you start soliciting subscribers, be sure you clarify what your goals are. When you set expectations upfront about how often you will be in touch, people know what to expect and are far more likely to stick with you. A target of one email a week enables you to touch on important subjects without overwhelming readers.

2. Share Posts From Your Dentist Blog

If you already have a dentist blog, your email list is the perfect place to showcase your latest posts. Blog posts serve two vital goals: They attract more search engine traffic on the one hand while guiding subscribers back to your website on the other. Professional blog writing by an agency can help you publish quality content faster.

3. Customize Content To Your Subscriber Segments

As above, you should cater to at least two distinct audiences: Existing patients and new leads. This means they should be on separate “list segments” that you can address in one click. While you’re bound to lose a handful of subscribers over time, sending only the most relevant content to each segment reduces these losses.

4. Narrow Your Focus With Personalization

Once you’ve mastered using segments, you can customize your emails even more. For example, you could direct emails about maintaining whitening results to someone who recently had an in-office laser procedure. Those patients might also be more amenable to a discount on dental cleaning and even a future whitening touch-up.

5. Embed Enticing Visuals In Your Emails

You need to enlighten your patients and do it in a way they’ll remember and act on. Visual content is the key. Infographics present information and statistics in a compelling way that grants an all-new perspective. This is a great technique for helping patients who are still confused about fundamentals such as brushing and flossing.

6. Embrace The Power of Video

Any message is more believable when it’s heard right from the doctor’s mouth. You can’t always be there in person to answer questions, but a video is the next best thing: It’s more likely than any other type of content to attract likes, comments, and shares. Just one minute of video can liven up email and get people to take action.

7. Don’t Forget Simple Reminders

When it’s time for someone to get their teeth cleaned or have an X-ray done, don’t reach for the postcards first. Simple email reminders are much more effective when they reach one of your active subscribers. You can follow up twice by email before you break out the stamps. If you do, remember that a handwritten note works best!

Dentist Marketing By Email Opens The Door To Years of On-Time Dental Appointments For Your Patients

With care and forethought, dentist marketing can help you do what you do best – support your patients’ life-long quest to protect their teeth and gums. Inbound marketing with a light, humane touch is the royal road to becoming known as a trusted local expert that your patients will look forward to visiting again and again.

New York Ave can help you integrate email into your dentist marketing simply. From family dentists to cosmetic dentists and everybody in between, our experts have helped practices grow, turn patients into brand advocates, and make more money. Our email marketing will put a smile on your face.

To learn more, contact us today.

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