8 Steps to Perfecting Your Email Newsletter
by JOY GENDUSA, CEO
Before I tell you how to perfect your email newsletters, let’s talk about why you should use an email newsletter in the first place.
In 2007, MarketingSherpa, a leader in marketing data analysis, published a case study showing that ConAgra Foods generated 34.25% more product sales from consumers who subscribed to email newsletters, as opposed to consumers who did not.
That’s a big difference in revenue, and it’s thanks to the consistent brand exposure an email newsletter provides. Even with social media on the rise, email is still the go-to method of communication for both business and personal correspondence.
There are eight essential elements an email newsletter must have to generate leads and revenue.
1. A Predictable Schedule.
A newsletter’s frequency isn’t nearly as important as its predictability and dependability. Depending on the industry, businesses can send their newsletter weekly, monthly or quarterly. A cosmetic dentist’s newsletter doesn’t need to be as frequent—monthly or quarterly may be enough. The key is keeping your newsletter on a consistent schedule, so prospects can predict when it will arrive and look for it.
Note: The average American receives more than 100 emails a day. If your newsletter is delivered in a flood of other emails, it’s going to get lost in the mix. However, if your newsletter is designed the right way, your customers will eventually become accustomed to your schedule and look forward to receiving it. Then, there’s a good chance they’ll actually read it.
2. A Targeted Audience
Who are you sending this newsletter to? Are you looking to nurture leads from “prospective” patient to “new” patients? Are you looking to keep current patients coming back for check-ups? You have to know what you want to accomplish with your email newsletter. Then, you can target that audience. When you target a specific audience, you can make your newsletter highly relevant to one group, making the news personal to them. The content will be much more compelling.
3. Useful, Valuable and Shareable Content
It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Your content is the most crucial part of the perfect email newsletter. People receive crazy amounts of email these days, as I mentioned earlier. They simply will not read your newsletter unless they get something out of it.
Your content must always provide something useful to subscribers. Industry tips and insights are great because they use your dentistry expertise to offer knowledge. You can explain exactly why drinking soda is going to cost patients more money and lead to unpleasant dental problems down the road. As long as they are able to take away something useful and valuable to them, they’ll keep reading.
Here’s an example of great email newsletter topics for a cosmetic dentist...
• “Why Less Dr. Pepper Keeps the Doctor Away: How Soda Affects Your Teeth”
• “How to Safely Whiten Your Teeth”
• “America’s Most Wanted Teeth Staining Culprits”
4. New Subscribers
You are targeting a specific group with your newsletter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add more people to your email list. You want to reach as many relevant people with your newsletter as possible. To attract more subscribers, add a contact form to your website. If visitors like what they see and want to learn more, they will sign up for your newsletter. This continually adds new opportunities for your newsletter to generate revenue. Also, you should always add new leads you get through referrals or calls to your office to your email database. Get an email address from every prospective patient you come into contact with. Your newsletter can help nurture those leads until they become patients.
5. Company News and Updates
The Nielsen Norman Group recently surveyed email newsletter users and found that 60% of newsletter users rated company news as VALUABLE content for an email newsletter. That means a majority of email newsletter users generated more revenue from their newsletter when it included a section for company news and updates. This section keeps prospective patients tuned in to your practice and lets them know about new products or services you’re offering. The section connects your practice and your prospective patients, which, over the long term, yields more appointments and more revenue.
6. Special Offers and Subscription Incentives
Who doesn’t like discounts? Special offers and bonuses are always attractive to your prospective patients, and they can be powerful motivators for people to subscribe to and read your newsletter. Providing an e-mail address seems like a minimal investment to consumers when there’s an opportunity for a discount on dental services.
7. Links to Drive Traffic to Your Website
In Step 4, we discussed getting new subscribers from your website traffic. Now, go the other way and turn your subscribers into regular website visitors. Provide links to specialized landing pages, and product or service pages where they are relevant to your newsletter’s content.
Your newsletter should accomplish two goals:
1) Offer valuable content to encourage loyal reading.
2) Drive traffic to your website.
Look at each content topic from your newsletter and find opportunities to refer prospects to your website. These links, as long as they are used naturally in relevant content, help you make the connection for prospective patients between your great content and your great dental services.
8. As Many Contact Opportunities As Possible
You want prospective patients to become actual patients. You want them to call your office and schedule an appointment. They can’t do that if you don’t provide contact information, so feature as much contact information as possible in prominent locations in your newsletter. Two good locations are at the top of your newsletter and in your email signature.
How does your email newsletter stack up? Have you taken all eight steps? If not, get to it! Your newsletter could be generating bigger results for your practice. If you haven’t ever used an email newsletter, I recommend getting started right away. Follow these eight steps and become an email newsletter master in no time.
So, How Do You Get Started?
• Set a schedule for your email newsletter.
• Define your target audience (unconverted prospects, current customer, prospects who would be interested in a particular product or service, etc.)
• Brainstorm a list of content ideas to write about in your upcoming newsletters.
• Add all leads into a newsletter email database.
• Make sure your newsletters include company news, contact info, website links, etc.
So what are you waiting for exactly? Get to it!