This post is part two of “Is Your Dental Office Ready for a Patient Newsletter?”
Whether you build your own dental practice newsletter, have your office manager tackle the task, or use a service, these are 10 primary elements you need to consider.
- Email list: You can’t send an e-newsletter campaign without email addresses! If you subscribe to Demandforce, Smile Reminder, or another patient communication tool, you probably have a list of patient email addresses. Dental offices without a patient email list should start asking for email addresses today. Some patients may not want to provide you with their email address, and that’s fine. Don’t let those few discourage you. Most of your patients will be happy to give you an email address, especially if you explain the purpose: to deliver your dental health newsletter.
- Distribution Service: You can send e-newsletters through your patient communication tool, or you can sign up with a service like MyEmma.com. Many e-newsletter services exist, so do a little research and find one that’s convenient and user-friendly. You might put the task on your office manager, but if you do, be sure to assign a deadline. She should find a tool, write a synopsis, and send you her findings within a week. If you don’t have time for any of this, MDPM can handle all aspects of your newsletter creation and distribution.
- Column Designation: Feature 3-5 regular columns in your newsletter. The more personal, the better. Don’t be that dentist who sends out generic newsletters. With Google, people can find information about dental health when they need it. Instead, feature articles about your patients’ successes in the community. Which of your young patients made the A-honor roll? Which of your adult patients volunteers at the food bank? You might include a recipe from a staff member, photos of your team retreat, and testimonials from happy patients. End your newsletter with an article about a special offer, contest, or new service.
- Layout: If you use a tool, like Demandforce or MyEmma, you’ll have a few templates from which to select your newsletter layout. Before making a selection, consider the number of articles and photos you’ll include. Then choose a template that will accommodate your plan.
- Writing: Assign article writing to employees or hire a copywriter to compose the newsletter articles.
- Pictures: Do not mistakenly assume that photos you find on Google are public domain. The images you find online are copyrighted to the owner, even if no copyright was officially filed. To eliminate the risk for fines or lawsuits, use images that you own or hold rights to use. You can take original photos or create images on your computer, or you can purchase images from websites like Shutterstock or Thinkstock.
- Links: Include links to your website’s internal pages, as well as your blog, Facebook page, and microsites.
- Archives: Your newsletter should be placed on a permanent URL. Services like MyEmma will autogenerate a URL with a newsletter. You can also place the text of your newsletter on a page of your website. The point is, make sure that the newsletter text is online so that you get SEO credit for it! Adding a Newsletter section to your website may be the best solution.
- Distribution: Before sending out your newsletter, send a copy to yourself, your office manager, and two or three trusted friends for review. Allowing multiple people to review the content will ensure better editing. Once the newsletter is ready to go, send it out to your distribution list. Be sure to include an opt-out for recipients.
- Analysis: Two weeks after the newsletter is sent, review the statistics. An open rate of greater than 30% on an initial mailing and 20% on subsequent newsletters is good. This seems low, but it’s accurate. If available, review how many people clicked through on your links, shared the newsletter with a friend or on Facebook, and opted out. To maintain your email list, make note of those emails that reported bounced mail, then have a front office employee contact those patients to update your email list.
When to Send Newsletters
A newsletter has about five sections, usually. This type of communication takes some time to read and shouldn’t be sent out every week. Once a month is adequate. The greatest success (high open rate, low opt-out rate) comes with sending an e-newsletter each quarter.
E-blasts, or email blasts, can keep your brand in front of patients between appointments and newsletters. E-blasts should have a short, to-the-point message. Good content includes promotions, contests, referral incentives, single blog posts, quizzes, recipes, and trivia.
Want a newsletter NOW? Call MDPM at 972-781-8861 or email us. With affordable rates and stellar dental copywriters, we can have your completely custom dental patient newsletter sent out within a week.