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Email marketing can be a powerful tool for dentists to attract new patients, nurture relationships with existing patients, and grow their practice. With 91% of patients using email weekly, dental clinics must harness the benefits of email marketing. However, many dentists struggle with getting started or developing an effective email strategy.

This article will provide 11 actionable tips that dentists can implement to strengthen their email marketing efforts and serve more patients. 

Whether your dental clinic is just launching or refining its approach, these dental email marketing best practices will help you better connect with patients and grow your practice

Importance of Email for Dentistry Practices

Email marketing is critical for dentists looking to expand their patient base and increase revenue. Studies show that email generates $44 for every $1 spent, delivering the highest ROI of any marketing channel. 

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More importantly, email enables dentists to build meaningful relationships with patients over time through valuable, personalized communications.

Unlike interruptive forms of outreach like cold calls, email marketing allows dentists to reach patients when it’s most convenient for them. 

Email also facilitates two-way conversations, allowing practices to gather helpful patient feedback. With the average dental practice consisting of two-thirds of existing patients, email presents a major opportunity to improve patient retention and loyalty.

Implementing email marketing best practices gives dentists the power to increase new patient acquisition, encourage repeat visits, upsell treatments, and position their practice as a trusted dental care partner.

1. Build Robust Email Lists

The foundation of any successful email marketing strategy is a robust list of targeted subscriber contacts. Dentists should offer patients options to join email lists on their website, at the front desk, and after appointments. 

Provide a brief, transparent description of what subscribers can expect to receive and the frequency. Segment lists based on customer types like existing patients vs. prospects to send tailored communications catered to their needs.

Avoid buying generic dental email lists, as these contacts did not opt-in to receive your messaging. While list quality trumps quantity, aim to continually grow your permission-based lists organically over time. 

Transfer paper sign-up information to your email service provider promptly to prevent data loss. With accurate, expanding email subscriber lists, dentists gain access to passionate contacts ready to engage further with their practice.

2. Send Welcome Emails to Patients

Make new patients feel valued from day one by sending personalized welcome emails. These introductory messages allow dentists to thank patients for choosing their practice, share the next steps, and set service expectations. 

Keep language warm and conversational while highlighting office values and dental care offerings.

Welcome emails also present opportunities to gather additional patient information not obtained during consultations. 

Use this outreach to ask for insurance details, medical history, consent forms, or patient communication preferences to complete records. When patients commit to an initial appointment, they signal readiness to engage further. Capitalize on this peak interest moment with an email welcoming them into your practice community.

3. Segment Patients

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Instead of sending one generic email blast to all patients, segment lists based on patient types to deliver targeted, relevant messaging. For example, send special promotions only to prospects, appointment reminders exclusively to existing patients, and periodic health tips to all contacts.

Segment patients by location, insurance provider, treatment history, patient loyalty program status, or other meaningful categories that impact their experience and needs. 

This strategic email segmentation results in higher open and click-through rates as subscribers receive tailored communications they want and care about. Monitor the engagement metrics for each segment and adjust email content accordingly over time.

4. Personalize Content for Dental Health

The most effective dental email campaigns share personalized information, tips, and recommendations focused on improving dental health outcomes. 

Avoid overly promotional language and instead, position your practice as a trusted dental health resource. Send emails with timely seasonal guidance like protecting teeth during summer sports or managing dry mouth during winter months.

Tailor content based on patient history as well, reminding them when it’s time to schedule follow-up exams or providing aftercare instructions following procedures.

While educational, these relationship-building touchpoints indirectly market your services by demonstrating genuine care for patients’ well-being beyond their appointments. Patients want a partner invested in their continued oral health. Position your practice as just that through personalized education.

5. Use Trustworthy Subject Lines

The subject line serves as the first impression of your dental email. To maximize opens, use clear subject lines that offer legitimate value by answering pertinent dental health questions. 

For example, “How Often Should I Floss My Teeth?” or “5 Habits That Damage Tooth Enamel.” Avoid spammy phrases, urgent demands, or misleading over-promotions.

Establish brand recognition and credibility by including your practice name in subject lines as well. Test multiple subject line versions and analyze open rate data. While clever or quirky subjects may temporarily spike curiosity, straightforward descriptions endure as trustworthy over time. 

Patients decide email worthiness based on subject lines, so ensure they demonstrate relevance and authenticity.

6. Create Optimized Email Copy

Writing compelling copy ranks among the most valuable email marketing skills dentists can develop. Beyond informative content, optimize copy for readability, scannability, and simplification. 

Use short, scannable paragraphs that enable busy patients to consume content efficiently. Incorporate descriptive headers that break up blocks of text and guide readers.

While brevity boosts engagement, resists condensing to the point quality suffers. Balance concise copy with sufficient background and context to educate readers. Weave in patient reviews and before-and-after case studies that generate responses and conversions. 

Use clear calls-to-action statements directly within the copy to prompt reactions. Choose visuals wisely, selecting images that reinforce key messages rather than distract.

Fine-tune copy voice, style, and length using open and click-through analytics to continually refine messaging effectiveness. Emails with personalized copy aligned to patient needs and preferences demonstrate relevance and resonate more. 

Experiment across patient segments to determine optimal copy formulations. Place high-value information at the top while moving peripheral content down.

7. Mobile-Optimize Your Emails

As over half of dental emails get opened on mobile devices, adopting a mobile-friendly email design is mandatory for dentists to penetrate competitive inboxes. Ensure newsletter templates, calls-to-action buttons, text, and images seamlessly adapt across all screen sizes for consistent branding and usability. 

Consider details like enlarging small tap targets to make clicking easier from a phone. Check that key content areas are visible above the fold without forcing excessive scrolling. Use large visible reply buttons and include a clickable call number to drive calls.

Approximately a quarter of mobile email users will disengage if the content is not readable within 3-4 seconds of opening. To cater to those on the go, shape content for scannability. Lead with value statements summarizing key takeaways upfront. Avoid dense blocks of text or tiny hard-to-read font sizes. 

Streamline layout with enough white space for eyes to navigate mobile displays. Test finalized emails on multiple smartphones to confirm mobile responsiveness before deploying campaigns. Place registration links, contact info, and other essentials are visibly above the fold on mobile.

8. Send Appointment Reminders

Email offers dentists a convenient, automated solution for mitigating last-minute appointment cancellations and no-shows that undercut revenue. Set up one-touch reminder emails through practice software with details like services scheduled, associated costs, and cancellation policies. 

Attach preparatory forms for patients to complete in advance rather than cramming work upon arrival. Confirmation messages provide value immediately at booking while reinforcing selected appointments. Follow-up reminder emails one week out and the day before counter forgetfulness, enabling patients time to reschedule conflicts and keep chair slots filled.

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Friendly email reminders demonstrate dentists value patients’ time and uphold professional standards around appointments. Customize reminders further by including names of specified dentists patients have appointments with. 

Overall, leveraging email confirmation and reminders helps patients prepare, prevents confusion, and protects dental clinics from open holes in schedules when patients fail to show up. Reduce open chair gaps and safeguard revenue with automated email reminders.

9. Offer Patient Loyalty Programs

Email gives dentists a direct channel to promote exclusive loyalty programs that cultivate patient engagement over time. 

Devise multi-tiered programs that reward existing patients for repeat visits, checking in on social media, referring friends, leaving online reviews, and more. For example, launch members-only savings on select services, provide free take-home whitening kits at certain milestones, or surprise top loyalists with thank-you gifts or experience vouchers.

Promote membership sign-up and program perks through dedicated email campaigns. Share patient testimonials showcasing the incremental, lifetime value realized from long-term dental care partnerships amplified through loyalty programs. 

Offering members higher-touch services and partner-like treatment earns enduring patient trust and retention.

10. Highlight Dental Services and Promotions

While educational emails provide continual value, regularly intersperse promotional and service-focused email campaigns as well. Spotlight new dental technology like digital x-ray machines acquired. 

Announce expanded cosmetic treatment options now available through recently hired specialists. Offer limited-time discounts on teeth whitening procedures or Invisalign offerings to drive new patient conversions and trials.

Promote high-demand services quarterly based on seasonality, public holidays, or insurance reimbursement cycles when people have funds.

Feature specialty services like pediatric dentistry for back-to-school health or orthodontics during college application season. Limit promotions to 2-4 weeks to instill urgency without oversaturating patients. Effective promotional emails create visibility and access to help patients proactively improve their health.

11. Measure Performance

To accelerate learning, dentists must actively measure email performance using key metrics like open, click-through, conversion, and unsubscribe rates. Track top-performing email copy, designs, subject lines, and send times. 

Review analytics both macro and micro, assessing metrics for general newsletters and segmented outreach like appointment reminders.

Set measurable email goals and benchmarks aligned to overarching practice growth targets, adjusting strategies based on quantifiable data over emotions. Experiment iteratively with subject lines, copy variations, visuals, and calls to action. 

Email analytics paired with qualitative patient feedback spotlight what resonates, guiding the refinement of dental email excellence over time. Measure for continual gains.

Email marketing represents an immense opportunity for dentists to strengthen patient relationships and grow their practices. 

By implementing the 11 tips outlined in this article, dentists can develop integrated email strategies that attract new patients, improve retention, increase referrals, and boost revenue over time. 

From list-building to segmentation to optimization and measurement, applying these best practices positions dental clinics for email success. 

With consistent testing and improvement guided by performance data, dentists can utilize email to maximize patient lifetime value while delivering better-individualized care. The time for dentists to prioritize email marketing is now – adopt these tips to start serving more patients.

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