Most dentists should have an e-newsletter; most, but not all.
An e-newsletter can be a vital part of your efforts to attract more and better patients. Where too many dentists go wrong is that they lose sight of that ultimate goal.
Here are four tips for creating a dental e-newsletter that your patients and prospects will actually read.
1. Decide what you want your e-newsletter to accomplish.
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “If you try to be everything to everybody, you’ll wind up being nothing to nobody.” An e-newsletter that’s too general and doesn’t provide enough value for the reader is worse than not having one.
Many e-newsletters lack focus. They’re a potpourri of dental tips, family recipes, vacation photos, and op-ed pieces. Those e-newsletters also feature a variety of writers with differing skill levels. A single badly-written piece tells your reader that this is an amateur publication from a supposedly professional dental practice. It’s an instant credibility-killer.
It’s fine to have an occasional lighthearted article, but your prospects aren’t reading your newsletter for entertainment. They’re looking for advice on how to avoid dental problems, how to have their best smiles, and what solutions you can offer for the problems they have. Stay focused on your readers’ needs.
2. Avoid overselling.
The purpose of your e-newsletter is to influence your prospects to visit your website or to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. You do need to include some calls-to-action (CTAs) but a few of those go a long way.
It’s unlikely that any single issue of your newsletter will be the deciding factor for a prospect to choose you. Instead, it’ll be an accumulation of positive impressions. You provide those positive impressions by furnishing useful information that speaks to their problems. Give your prospects enough positive impressions, and they’ll pick up the phone.
3. Tell them beforehand what they’ll be getting.
There are two parts to this tip. First, make clear what kind of information and focus your potential readers can expect. Too often, marketers take a bait-and-switch approach. They promise one thing (or at least lead you to believe that thing) and then deliver another.
The place for this kind of disclosure is with your Subscribe button. Spell out what your readers can expect and why you’re providing this information.
The second part of giving advance notice is to preview what the new issue of your newsletter will cover. This requires some additional organization and planning, but the results are worth it. Readers who aren’t interested in those topics will appreciate your concern for their time. Readers who are interested will appreciate the heads-up and make a point of watching for that issue.
4. Grab their attention.
People have more types of communication competing for their attention than ever before. If you expect your patients and prospects to notice your email subject line, you’ll need to get creative.
Again, you can’t be everything to everybody, so don’t try. Pick one aspect of the issue and focus on that. Change your subject lines with every issue. Consider using challenging questions like: “Do you know what the worst thing is for your teeth?” “Are you making these brushing mistakes?” “What’s the one thing you should NEVER to your teeth?”
Questions provoke interest and a desire to learn the answers.
Use your dental e-newsletter appropriately. Provide useful content to your readers with the intention of eventually influencing them to make an appointment. That’s how your newsletter will put more butts in chairs.