As I have mentioned in my previous digital dentistry blogs, online marketing is a growing industry, with companies investing in a number of different digital formats: Search, Video, Rich Media, Social Media, Mobile and Display. One of the areas that digital marketers still spend their advertising budget in is Email Marketing. Email Marketing sounds like it is old fashioned but if done correctly it is still well and truly alive!
Email marketing is directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email. Email marketing in dentistry terms is used in a number of ways. Companies will email current or previous customers to encourage brand loyalty and hopefully win or repeat business. Companies will also send emails in the hope of acquiring new customers. The third way is companies will add advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers. Recent research has suggested that conservative estimates of US companies alone spent US $1.51 billion on email marketing in 2011 and will grow to $2.468 billion by 2016. Amazingly still a growing market.
We now need to look at how email marketing can be used in terms of the dental profession whether you have a new product that you would like dentists to look at, or you would like to attract more patients to your practice. Below are 4 A* reasons (in celebration of exam results) we can still use email marketing to benefit your business and hopefully it will give you some inspiration to revisit your email marketing campaign!
After I hit the snooze button for the third time at about 7:30am, I reach for my phone half awake and peruse my emails. We all love to check our emails and unlike other mediums, virtually everyone uses email. Many of us will check email first thing and see what emails we could have been sent in the 7 and a half hours since we last checked! Recent studies have suggested that reading emails consumes 28% of the average workers week and we each send or receive over 112 emails a day! Those stats suggest we keep a close eye on our email inbox. We all have accounts on social media and many of us also check them with regularity but one thing we all have in common is that we all check the email inbox constantly. This means that if you are looking to promote a new product or service, you need to be in your customers email inbox. Email should therefore not be ignored.
Auto-responders can easily be set up, which allows you to write and schedule a series of emails that will be sent at regular intervals to any potential customers. They immediately provide information to your prospective customers and then will follow up over a set period. This means that over an example 6 month period you have sent a number of emails and engaged with your customers. Mail Chimp and other email marketing companies offer an auto responder service, which is easy to setup and simple to put in practice. Patients could be sent regular special offers for example over a set period.
3. Accountability and Value
An exact return on investment (ROI) can be tracked because you will know how many people have received the email, how many people have opened and what the click rate to your message is. This gives you wonderful accountability and value for money. You will also get results instantly. For example with GDPUK when companies advertise in our daily emails or on the website we provide full stats for our customers once a week and even more if they request it. This means that the customer can see what kind of return they are receiving from their digital campaign, with the opportunity to change the banner or message as the campaign progresses.
After we build up a decent list of contacts, prospects and customers, sometimes we can then be cautious with the list. In my previous employment we very rarely sent out email campaigns because we were afraid of appearing too spammy or aggressive but I believe that was a mistake. Please don’t take this advice and send out hundreds of emails a month but if you have something to say or announce, make sure your email list knows about it. (your competitors will be doing the same) There is nothing wrong with sharing information and showing you are doing a good job or can offer excellent value, you want to stay in front of your customer’s eyes as well as plant your brand in the customers mind! Email marketing needs to be constant, well thought out and engaging.
So how can we use email marketing in dentistry?
At GDPUK we keep our members engaged on the site by sending daily digest emails, 3 times a day. This sounds like a lot but these emails all contain different content and contain the latest dental news and the most recent forum posts of the day. This gives our members a chance to check their email inboxes and then click on subjects that interest them. The emails are certainly popular because in an average month they get opened and read 130,000 times. These emails also contain banner ads, which often get excellent click through rates for our customers because our members want to read the emails and the advertisers are reaching a target audience of engaged dentists.
In a dental practice you could send special offers to your patients or an interesting newsletter every few weeks. It means you are proactively communicating with your existing and potential patients instead of hoping they will call or walk in. This will hopefully increase business and develop further patient loyalty. If you send a good offer for “teeth whitening” for example, you could also invite your patients to forward the email offer to their friends or colleagues who might have interest in the offer. So once organised, a few minutes of work every couple of weeks will hopefully fill an empty one or two appointment spaces in the practice!