Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first, in all probability you will have received notification of this blog post by e-mail… But let me explain firstly why e-mail is so powerful and secondly how you can use it to lose every single one of your carefully generated leads!
When we look at online marketing there are generally 4 channels of communication:
- The wider internet (articles you may have written or pieces of information about you and your services etc)
- Your Website
- Social Media
This is rather a concise list, but almost everything can fit into it somewhere so let’s look at the dynamics of each of those.
You may find that a potential patient goes to Google looking for information about a particular dental problem they have, perhaps replacing missing teeth. They may land on a resource page on which you have an advert, they could land on someone else’s website which has content written by you and links back to your website.
However it happens, it’s important to remember that this person is actively searching and looking, you have not pushed anything on them at all.
The same principle applies, a potential patient is looking for a solution to a dental problem, they land on your website and continue to read it.
Once again, this person is actively searching and looking, you have not pushed anything on them at all.
This is where the first push from you can happen. A person may have liked your Facebook page (they may not remember doing it as it could be a considerable amount of time ago), your information can then appear on their social media stream.
Whilst the initial contact may have come from the patient, you are now actively pushing information to them which changes the dynamic of the relationship. It’s important to remember in this case however, that this is all done in the public domain. It is a ‘one to many’ form of marketing, but done in public. .
The dynamic with e-mail changes enormously. With e-mail marketing you are pushing information onto other people, it is a ‘one to many’ form of marketing, but done in private. Whilst this person may have given you their e-mail address at some point, the chances are they will have forgotten this and can easily view your e-mail as a useless piece of information.
The fact that e-mail is so personal and done in private, on the one hand can totally p**s people off, but get it right, and these factors make it one of the best forms of personalised marketing available.
How to get e-mail right
Before you undertake any form of marketing the question you need to ask is “What problem is this person trying to solve?”. Are they looking for straighter teeth, to replace missing teeth or to improve their dental health, or perhaps something else?
Never, and I repeat never has a patient come to you wanting to have orthodontics… What they want is straighter teeth.
Never, and I repeat never has a patient come to you wanting to have dental implants… What they want is to replace missing teeth.
You may want to give them orthodontics or dental implants, but that is not why they are coming to see you, they are coming to solve a problem and you are able to offer them that solution… Use this in your marketing. This is one of the most powerful messages that you can give, simply helping people understand more about their problems and then take simple steps to solve them.
And this is where e-mail comes in, forget using e-mail to promote your latest special offer or to sell your next fancy treatment. Use e-mail to build trust and reduce risk by showing that you genuinely care for the local people around your dental practice by handing out useful, free and relevant information.
Its an exchange
Think about the direction of the communication. If all of your marketing communication is about selling and self-promotion then you are just pushing information on anyone that cares to listen, and most won’t!
When you change your communication to be something that the other person genuinely wants to receive, they will engage with it, they will share it and they will like it… Suddenly your e-mails go from annoying people to helping people… And that’s what dentistry is about isn’t it?
When someone opens your e-mail they exchange their time for your content, that exchange should not be equitable, it should be in the favour of the person reading. They should get more out of the e-mail then it costs them for you to have their e-mail address! Think about it, an e-mail address is valuable, don’t abuse it, think carefully about what you send by e-mail and you will see an enormous change in the effectiveness of this marketing medium.
By way of a summary I thought I would give you some top tips to e-mail marketing so that you don’t p**s people off!
- Only send an e-mail when you have something valuable to say, if you have been on my e-mail list for a long time you will notice you’ve not had an e-mail from me for a month.
- Hand out useful, free and relevant information which genuinely helps your reader to understand their problem and ideally, go some way to solving that problem for them.
- Use e-mail to increase trust in you and your business.
- Use e-mail to decrease risk of a new client using your services by demonstrating that you know what you are talking about and respect them.
- Only use special offers and incentives at the end of an e-mail AFTER you have done the above. If your e-mail is purely trying to take from the recipient without giving then you will reduce trust an increase risk… The opposite of what you should be doing.
- If you have nothing to say that is useful and valuable in an e-mail, then say nothing! And by useful and valuable I mean to the recipient NOT you!
So what do you think? Do you use e-mail in your practice and have you found it a valuable asset?