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Accordingly to Google, people consult an average of 10.4 online sources of information before making a decision to purchase goods or services. That’s a mixed blessing for dentists. It means that you have some time to convince prospects to choose you rather than a competitor. But it also means that you have to furnish the majority, if not all, of those sources of information.
Keep What You Hook
You website should contain a well thought-out free offer – a white paper, an article, or something else of value within the limits of your state’s regulations. Prospects supply their email addresses in order to receive the offer.
Once prospects agree to opt in to receive additional communication from you – and your website should be very up front about that – you’re faced with the question of what information to send them and how often.
Where Dentists’ Emails Go Wrong
There are three ways that dental practices err when maintaining email communication with prospects – sending the wrong information, sending the right information too often or too seldom, and sending information out of order.
Sending the Wrong Information
It should be obvious that people who are looking for a dentist don’t all have the same concerns. But the number of dentists who send everyone the same emails is astounding.
Younger people looking for whiter teeth don’t care about dentures. The edentulous don’t care about teeth whitening; they’re looking for teeth replacement options. Gum disease patients don’t want to hear about cosmetic dentistry. The list of email marketing gaffes goes on and on.
Sending Information Too Often or Too Seldom
From the patient’s perspective, the only thing that’s possibly worse than getting the wrong information is getting information too often or too seldom. A blitz of emails immediately after a prospect opts in is seen as being pushy and may convey that the dentist is desperate.
Communication that arrives too seldom leaves prospects with the sense that the dental practice doesn’t really care.
Sending Information Out of Order
Your prospect emails should gradually move them along the sales funnel until they choose you to solve their dental problems. But dentists often fail to consider the fact that prospects enter a sales funnel at different times. That requires each prospect to receive the first email in a stream when they sign up. Logistically, that can be hard to accomplish manually and eats up a lot of staff time. And it’s all too easy to wind up sending out a mass email to everyone on the list for a particular concern at one time. That ignores whether patients have just signed up or have already received six or eight of the 12-email content stream.
The Solution: Email Automation
An automated email system is the solution to staying in front of your prospects until they’re ready to choose you. Once a prospect’s email address and the date of sign-on are entered into the system, the systems “drips” the correct email for a prospect’s concern at predetermined intervals.
There are an enormous number of email automation programs available, and they differ in the features they offer and in ease of use. If your practice has a fairly tech-savvy person, then purchasing a program and setting it up yourself may be feasible. Most dentists, though, will be better served by outsourcing their email followup to a trusted, HIPAA-compliant vendor.