Is email marketing still successful? Are newsletters a waste of time in today’s social media-based market? The answers to those questions depend entirely on what you do with your newsletter. More precisely, they depend on what your newsletter does for you. You can put your newsletter marketing to work growing your dental practice. Just follow these 4 steps.
Make Sure You Want a Newsletter
There is a common belief that you can package advertisements in a newsletter-like format and people will read them. It doesn’t work. It leads to annoyed readers, unsubscriptions, and possibly even spam reports.
Imagine subscribing to a newspaper and receiving only the inserts or subscribing to a magazine and seeing nothing but ads on the pages. This is exactly how your patients will feel if your newsletter is composed entirely or predominantly of promotional content.
In the world of digital publishing, newsletters are similar to newspapers and magazines. They can include advertisements, but readers expect informational value. If your mailings are only advertisements, consider calling them “special offers.”
You can offer 2 subscription options:
- Newsletters: Featuring current events and interesting, relevant information;
- Special offers: Featuring limited-time deals and promoting your favorite procedures.
Define Your Target Market
You might think it’s best to create a newsletter that will appeal to everyone. Unfortunately, that is not possible. Furthermore, it would not be practical.
Remember that metrics such as readership and click rate aren’t actually a measure of marketing success. Your goal is not clicks. Your goal is growing your practice by reaching new patients and encouraging return patients.
The real question is, then, in what direction do you want to grow?
Marketing is to a dental practice what sunlight is to a plant. Targeted marketing is like choosing which side to turn toward the light. Think about which procedures you want to do more often, and which ones you want to decrease. What type of patients request those procedures? Tailor your newsletter accordingly.
Here is a very effective technique for creating targeted content. Choose a few patients, or create fictional ones in your mind, who personify your target audience. Imagine you are writing to, or designing for, this group of people.
Choose Feature Topics
It is impossible to overstate the importance of providing your reader with value. This is where the distinction between special offers and newsletters is important. People who sign up for specials are seeking value in money-saving deals. People who sign up for newsletters are seeking value in information.
Choose one or several topics that will interest your targeted audience. Good types of content include:
- Current news stories that are relevant and of interest;
- Tips, tricks, and advice from the dentist;
- Other topics that are relevant to patients’ interest, such as parenting articles for a family dental practice or nutritional advice for a holistic practice;
- Local news or events, especially anything that your practice sponsors or supports;
- Office announcements, such as new services or changes in policies, staffing, or office hours;
- Links to mentions of your name in the media, special offers, and other promotional content—in moderation.
Create Quality Content
Again, think of your target audience when choosing a graphical style, writing tone, and overall design. For example, do your patients prefer friendly and casual, or formal and elegant? Are they too busy to read a lengthy writeup? Would they appreciate a holiday design theme?
Quality content includes text and graphics, as well as the overall design and layout of the newsletter:
- Written content should be engaging and well formatted. Long blocks of text tend to lose people’s interest. Break them up with bullet points, subheadings, or graphic elements. Be sure the text is proofread before the newsletter is dispatched.
- Graphics should be visually appealing, but not distracting. Selectively placed bold colors, shapes, or both can attract attention to the most important parts of the page. Choose colors that are complementary or pleasantly contrasting.
- The overall design should be aesthetically pleasing. For a professional appearance, be sure your design is consistent. Use the same fonts and formatting for the headings and lists in each article. Make sure the images are relevant to nearby text.
Do you want to get even more from your email marketing? Try these 3 winning strategies:
- Optimize your landing page. Your newsletter catches their attention and entices them to click. Your landing page should keep their attention and entice them to schedule.
- Ask for feedback. Make sure your unsubscribe option includes a question about why the person is leaving.
- Make use of captions. Some people scan a page, look at pictures, and read captions. Include your most important messages near photos.
Email has become an ingrained part of our daily lives and communication. Therefore, email newsletters will remain a valuable marketing tool and a very successful one when done right. Follow this simple plan, and put newsletters to work for you.
Mr. Arulrajah is president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete Internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education, and the online reputations of dentists. With a team of more than 140 full-time marketers, ekwa.com helps dentists who know where they want to go get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call 855-598-3320.
Disclosure: Mr. Arulrajah is the president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing.
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