Congratulations! You’ve generated a new patient lead through your dental website.
Most of your leads won’t be ready to schedule their first dental appointment right away. (Marketo says only 50% of leads are ready to make a decision on the spot.) And if you just sit back and wait to hear back from them, you may never hear from them at all.
You definitely need to keep the conversation with each new patient lead going, and that’s what drip emails are for.
So, what are drip emails, and how are they different from regular “broadcast” emails?
Whereas “broadcast” emails go out to groups of people based on timing of campaigns, drips are automated, pre-written emails that go out based on specific individual timelines or user actions. For example, if someone signs up for your monthly email newsletter, they’ll receive that group email once a month, the same time as everyone else (broadcast email). But, they may also receive an individual welcome email immediately after they subscribe, and perhaps another one exactly 30 days afterward asking their opinion about the first newsletter they received (drip).
Drips are also more effective than broadcast emails. Email software provider Emma reported that targeted drips generate 18 times more revenue and 119% higher click rate than broadcast emails.
Drips can be used to interact with people at just about any stage of the patient journey, and can be triggered by almost any action they take (or don’t take), depending on how robust your email and patient management systems are. Software like RevenueWell can automate recall, reactivation, insurance-reminder, treatment-plan follow-up, product-focused, and treatment focused campaigns for your current patients. Leads who aren’t in your patient database yet can be managed in email software like Mailchimp or ConstantContact.
It’s not really that difficult to create effective email drips. You just need to consider the five Ws (and one H).
First, decide first which people you are going to email to. You can target people who completed a particular form on your website, visited your office, purchased a particular service, or completed some other action as a trigger. You could also go in the opposite direction and focus on people who didn’t take a particular action, like schedule a 6-month checkup or complete treatment for recommended restorative work.
Next, you need to have your goal in mind for any drip you set up. What action do you want the email recipient to take? That will primarily determine your messaging and timing.
What do you want to tell them? You can educate them about the benefits of recommended treatment, ask for feedback, or remind them about services you offer that they may be interested in. You want to lean more toward being helpful and away from sales pitches.
The timing and frequency of your drips will need to be balanced against the next action you want them to take and how close they are to getting there. Most drips start with an immediate message to start the conversation. Data from Experian shows that more than 88% of people open emails that are received immediately after they submit a form.
Many patient management platforms have drip email capabilities built in. If yours doesn’t, or if you’re marketing to leads that aren’t in your patient database yet, software like Mailchimp, Aweber, or ConstantContact can do the job at a reasonable price.
The software mentioned above have reporting capabilities built in, but you also need to know what numbers you will be tracking. Open rates and click through rates are most important, but also keep an eye on the number of unsubscribes you receive, which can indicate poor content or too frequent mailings.
Before you can start emailing to your potential new patients, you need to get them to opt in to your mailing list. And to do that, you need a great promotional offer that will get them to fill out your form and hit the submit button. Download our FREE Dental Promotional Offer Idea Guide to find the incentive that will get new patient leads pouring into your marketing funnel.