8 tips for creating effective emails that avoid the spam folder

February 4, 2016
Patrick Goodness
Patrick Goodness

Patrick Goodness is the CEO of The Goodness Company a global healthcare and dental marketing firm. He is one of the most recognized names in dental practice marketing. Dental clinics and labs rely on Patrick for insightful marketing consultation, marketing planning and public relations services. His results-driven approach to marketing has helped dental offices and dental labs transform their brand and dramatically increase sales and profitability. Patrick offers a wide spectrum of marketing and public relations consulting services focused on building powerful branding and dramatically increasing sales. His extensive dental marketing experience, global network of clients and colleagues, and his ability to build and deliver valuable marketing concepts and tools that generate significant results are the reason for his popularity and his leadership in dental marketing and dental practice business development. You can reach him via email at patrick@goodnesscompany.com.

Click through our slideshow for some tips to greatly increase the probability that your emails will be opened, read and drive potential patients to respond.

Email can be a very effective marketing and relationship-building tool for dentists and dental clinic owners, but it is important to do it the right way.

After all, you’ve worked hard to develop an email list of past patients and prospective new patients. Thoughtful and well-planned email marketing is an effective tool to help existing and potential patients respond positively to your services, products and promotions. It’s also a powerful method for generating referrals from friends and family.

Email is a great marketing tool for dentists and dental practices, but they only work if your patients actually receive them!

Email has become an immensely popular marketing tool. Huge amounts of emails are sent and received every day. Due to the proliferation of email marketing, only a small minority of marketing emails are actually read. The first challenge for an email marketing effort is to avoid having your email identified as “spam.”

Most email apps use a variety of techniques to identify email that appears to be an unwanted solicitation. If you want your email to avoid this trap, you must have the patients on your email list properly “opt-in” (and some email services require “double opt-in”) to assure the emails you send to your list comply with various laws and regulations.

But even if your list is fully compliant, the way your email is written will make a huge difference in whether it is labeled as “spam” or not. Email marketing is hard work. You don’t want all that time and energy spent creating a promotion to go to waste. According to studies by Mail Chimp, medical, dental and health care emails have an open rate of only 22.77 percent on average.  When opened, only 2.56 percent of readers will click on the special offer. A well-designed and skillfully written email should get better results than average.

Click through our slideshow for some tips to greatly increase the probability that your emails will be opened, read and drive potential patients to respond.

 

 

 

1. Make the subject line a “must-open.”

The subject of an email is what differentiates opportunity from spam. Avoid sounding like a commercial. In other words, don’t sell us what’s inside; tell us what’s inside. Understand what your market wants and highlight that. Because the subject of the email determines if the rest of your email is read, it’s important you get it right.

 

 

 

2. Don’t make the subject line too long.

Many email systems, especially those on mobile devices, do not display more than the first few words of a subject. If the important words come at the end of a long subject, your email might not be clicked. Even if the subject is displayed completely, many people just gloss over the first words and decide to read them or get rid of them based on those words.

 

 

 

3.  What is your email about?

Does your email have a clear purpose? Make it useful. Is it a reminder about a checkup or an appointment that’s coming up? Is it a list of tips or helpful suggestions about a recent dental implant procedure? Is it a recommendation about how to deal with a problem or how to care for teeth? Is it a promotion that builds on a previous sale or recommendation? Be clear and deliver on your promise.

 

 

 

4. Make it personal.

This point is closely related with the previous one. If you are a dentist and you send your patients an email that reminds them that it is time to get a crown for their dental implant, that email isn’t going to work for the patient that needs a root canal or veneers.

This means you’re not going to be able to write a single email and send it to everyone with different patients’ names. On the other hand, you show a patient he or she is a valued relationship and not just a nameless customer. What you lose in volume, you will make up for in quality sales growth based on personal relationships.

 

 

 

5. Make your email visually appealing.

Please do not send a text paragraph to your email recipients. Use templates and images to make your email more inviting and visually appealing. On the other hand, do not make it so data heavy that it takes too long to load. If you can’t see it in two seconds, it’s not worth adding a second or third image. Adding a video link is also a great way to build interest.  Make sure you use a good quality video. No one wants to see videos developed by your 14-year-old using an iPhone.

 

 

 

6. Make it shareable on social media.

If you plan your email correctly, you have a higher chance of getting it read. But if it is highly appealing, you also have a higher chance of getting it shared. Don’t hope readers will copy your link and paste it into social media posts. Add links or share buttons that help them do this job so they will be more inclined to tell friends about your services.

 

 

 

7. Don’t send email those who have asked you to stop.

Just because someone asks you to stop sending email doesn’t mean that you’ve lost them as a patient. It may be that they’re busy or they are not interested at this time. However, if their last visit was satisfactory, they will think of you next time a dentist is needed. Sending them more mailings after they have explicitly told you to stop is just going to alienate them.

 

 

 

8. Consider getting help.

There is no reason you need to take a hit-or-miss approach to using email. Get professional help planning auto responses, follow-ups and practice-building campaigns that are integrated with your overall branding. An experienced dental marketing firm can help you get the most from your email list and grow your dental practice.