Your Online Dental Newsletter: Tried and Found Guilty?

The dental office newsletter is a tried-and-true method of staying in touch with your dental patients and prospects. That’s if your newsletter is done right. Otherwise, it would be better described as, “Tried and found guilty.”

Your online newsletter offers opportunities for success and failure. The most common causes of failure are:

  • Not considering your audience
  • Poorly or variably written articles
  • Too much text, not enough graphics
  • Inferior production values

Not Considering Your Audience

To be effective, your newsletter articles have to engage your readers. Writing at too technical a level, or at too high a reading level, is a major cause of newsletter failure.

Your readers aren’t dentists, dental assistant, or dental hygienists. They’re not trained in the disciplines and techniques you and your staff are writing about. To put it simply, they won’t get it, and they’ll move on.

The same applies to the reading level of your newsletter. It’s wise to follow the consensus of opinion for online writing: make the reading level about middle school level. It’s surprisingly hard for professionals to write at that level, so using an online reading level calculator is a great idea.

Supposing that your newsletter is written in plain English and at the right level, will they be interested in your content? Few topics will appeal to everyone, and that includes both gum disease and your aunt Minnie’s recipe for brownies. Don’t expect all your articles to be read by everyone; provide a variety of topics so that your odds of engaging your readers with something improve.

Poorly or Variably Written Articles

For most dental practices, newsletters are a group production. That means various staff members, with different writing styles and abilities, producing newsletter articles. While the writing doesn’t have to be identical, it should at least be consistent throughout. Some people are overly fond of exclamation marks, for instance, which is a major disconnect from a somewhat more polished style.

Too Much Text, Not Enough Graphics

Research shows that today’s internet-saturated readers have shorter attention spans. A “wall of text” discourages reading, while interesting and eye-catching graphics and photos help hold readers’ attention.

That doesn’t mean that your dental newsletter should be primarily graphics, but each article should have one or more points of visual interest to hold your readership.

Inferior Production Values

In this day and age, high-quality newsletter templates are widely available. There’s no excuse for your newsletter looking like it was put together by a seventh grader. Your readers are spoiled for choice when it comes to online reading. Your newsletter has to compete with mass of information, so give your readers the high-quality production they expect.

If you avoid these dental newsletter fails, you should find your readership increasing and your dental patients happier to receive your communications. You may need to devote additional staff time to make sure that your newsletter is up to the mark every time.

Of course, your newsletter doesn’t make you any money. Seeing patients and solving their dental problems is how your practice succeeds. If your staff has the bandwidth to consistently produce a quality newsletter, well and good. Otherwise, consider outsourcing this marketing vehicle.