Email Marketing is Not Dead for Dentists and Dental Practice Marketing
There is an awful lot of hype out there about how social networks will make email and email marketing obsolete. As a consultant in the internet and electronic marketing worlds, as well as a consultant and advisor in the dental industry, I strongly disagree.
As the email marketing industry continues to grow, and as more and more people are looking at ways to cut marketing costs or improve their layers of contacting prospects and customers, email marketing is still a strong, growing tool across many industries.
Email marketing and the effectiveness of email marketing continues to grow in many fields, including the dental industry and here are a few reasons why:
1- Many people will continue to use email for personal reasons
2- Many younger and older people are learning to use email for the first time (and most of them have teeth)
3- Millions of people still like the control they have when filtering through emails and how they receive information
4- Millions of people do not want to be marketed to on social channels, but they are ok with receiving email newsletters, coupons and updates
5- Email has not saturated any market to my knowledge, and therefore will continue to grow as a viable communication tool
These are perhaps only a few of several valid reasons why email marketing will continue to grow as a valid option for dentists and other dental professionals to contact, reach, and market to their prospects and customer bases.
With the growth of dental conglomerates using email marketing and other cutting edge media, direct and social marketing avenues, who usually have more money than private, solo dental practice owners, the sole dentist who is an owner-operator will continue to have to keep up and find ways to remain relevant and in touch with their prospective base and customer base.
Email marketing is one avenue where people still selectively enjoy reading newsletters and receiving special updates, coupons, and incentives at a pace they feel that they can control.
If operated with class and effectiveness, any dentist or dental office can learn to start or improve upon their own email marketing campaign if they do a few things:
1- Do not over sell
2- Use 1/3 of their email messages to teach valuable information your patients and prospects want to read
3- Use 1/3 of their email messages to relate or share a personal or relational story (let them know you are a human being with a family and a heart).
4- Use 1/3 (or less) of your email messages to promote or sell.
5- Let them respond and feel like they are an important part of your dental family and community
6- Use email marketing to open the doors for other means of connection or promotion (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, etc).
If you (as a dentist or dental professional) think through logically, why you love certain emails and hate others, you can come up with a common sense list of things you should do and things you should not do to your audience!
You can also use surveys or polls from time to time to ask your email list what they like and what they don't like. You can track clicks on your email marketing software as well in order to find out what subjects and messages are resonating with your list, without them knowing they are taking part in a passive poll. These metrics can help you create more messages that your base wants to hear, thereby improving your email list retention rate and reducing your list attrition rate.
Also, by offering value, insight, a human touch and recognition of your patient and prospect base as genuine people who do not want to be over-sold or marketed to, you can maintain a frequency and tone of messages that resonates with one of the most valued parts of your business, your patients.
Across industries, and for you, the dentist, email marketing is still a valuable tool to connect because:
1- It's faster than snail mail
2- It's relatively cheaper than other marketing channels
3- It's a great way to control the frequency and modality of your contacting efforts
4 - Many people expect to hear from most of their professional service providers at least occasionally through email
5- Your message or reach can go viral in a hurry because email is very easy for people to share with friends and family
6- You can build relationships and consistency if practiced correctly and with taste
7- It gives people an additional choice of "how" they want to connect with you
8- It allows you to send timely promotions for special dental services such as "whitening" and other add-on services that increase revenues for your dental business
And this list only begins to scratch the surface of benefits that a well planned and consistent, tasteful email marketing campaign can bring to your dental business. It is not the only arsenal that you should use to promote your dental practice, but it should be considered as a "hub" or center of your list of marketing and connection efforts that will help center and tie in all of your other means of marketing and social reach. Remember, that behind every email address is a person, not a dollar sign, and those persons should be considered, at least in part as your dental partners for success. You are their partner in bringing solid oral healthcare and thus a better quality of life, and they are your partners in bringing in revenues, problems for you to solve, and a powerful word-of-mouth marketing army that can work for or against you. It's in how you handle them that makes the difference, and their email address and inbox is no different.
Aaron Schulman has been an internet and email marketing strategist for years, serving many industries as well as the dental industry. He currently works as a strategist and Advisory Board Member for 5th Avenue Acquisitions and Venture Capitalists who specialize in dental practice transitions. Their seasoned dental practice brokers throughout the U.S. bring a wealth of experience and transition expertise that will ensure the best transition experience for both the buyer and the seller of any dental practice. You can read more about them at 5thaavc.com.