(This article is a 9-minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. Seven examples of bad content ideas for an email newsletter
2. An explanation of why these ideas don’t work
3. The basic principle that should drive all your newsletter content
Where do dentists get their content ideas for an email newsletter? Having an email newsletter is an important part of your dental marketing mix, but coming up with content ideas can seem more trouble than it's worth. Particularly for busy dentists and practise managers who have plenty of other things to do with their day.
You can see how they deal with that problem when you look at a lot of dental practice newsletters. They are filled with promotions or special deals.
There's nothing with sending out a promotion to your customer base, but promotions tend to have quite a low response rate. We've written before on this blog about the common response rate to dental email newsletters, which often sits under around the 2 or 3 percent mark.
This is because the only people responding to the newsletter are the ones who immediately want the service you're offering. They can see a benefit for themselves getting it at a discount.
Bad content ideas for an email newsletter
You don’t send out your newsletter to give away business to someone who is going to book anyway, do you? You send it to increase engagement with your practice. You want to build a relationship with patients.
If you find yourself filling your newsletter with the following ideas, please stop. It’s not benefiting your practice, and it’s not generating loyalty. You’re only filling space.
Bad idea #1: Inspiring quotes
We've all seen them on Facebook. An inspiring quote which generally has nothing to do with anything except advising you to feel good about your place in the world.
Inspirational quotes are rarely helpful. More often than not, they’re kinda cheesy. Yes, we know that the world is a wonderful place, and that there is no “I” in team, and … well, you get the idea. None of that helps cure a toothache.
Bad idea #2: Customer testimonials
For dentists, publishing customer testimonials contravenes the law. The national law is straightforward about customer testimonials. Which is hard to stomach when you’ve done some awesome work, you're proud of it, and your patient is thrilled with.
You know you’re telling the truth. But there is no way a potential customer can verify that the testimonial is true. That’s why they’re not allowed.
So take the praise with humble silence. Don’t tell the world. The best you can hope for is the patient tells all their friends voluntarily.
Bad idea #3: Customer photographs
Customer photographs are not a good idea unless your patient is famous. Famous people tend to know how to look good in photos. It’s a skill they learn. They also tend to be photographed by professionals. And professionals don’t take those photos on their iPhones.
The vast majority of patient photographs will be awkward and uncomfortable looking people sitting at an unflattering angle in a dental chair. Even if they're smiling, it's probably not going to inspire anyone else to come to your surgery.
Professional photographers use high-end equipment, proper lighting, and years of experience in knowing how to construct photos. If you don’t pay attention to these things, you’ll end up with poorly constructed photos with flat lighting and dull colours. All of which mitigate against you and your practice looking good.
Bad idea #4: Celebrating all your professional achievements
You should be proud of all you’ve achieved in your profession. You have worked hard. You’ve studied hard. You care about being the best you can be.
Your patients don’t care as much as you do. Don’t get me wrong—they do care a bit. But not as much as you. We know that dentists are smart, but we're not going to book an appointment with you because of your long list of qualifications. We're going to book an appointment with you because we think you’ll solve problems. You can help us determine what those problems are. We expect you to be able to do that.
Bad idea #5: News about your practice renovation
I've just gone through renovations. It was a very exciting and interesting time for me. If your practice is getting some new rooms added, or getting a makeover, that’s great. It's not a very exciting and interesting time for patients who may see it as you telling them not to come into the office because it's closed.
Even if the renovation is finished and you're really proud of it, no patient is going to come to your practise just because you've repainted. They're going to come again because they have a problem and they want you to solve it. So don't waste space in your email newsletter telling them about why they should come in and check out the new surgery.
Bad idea #6: Staff profiles
Many people profile staff members in their email newsletter. It's a common way of introducing patients to your team. That's why you should put staff profiles on your website. But when you send out an email newsletter it doesn't really mean a lot to potential patients that you have a new dental hygienist. It's only of interest to that hygienist, other staff members and to their friends.
But, you say, I put a profile of our new receptionist in the last newsletter and it got the most clicks of anything!
That may be true. But who was clicking? That new receptionist? Her mum? The associate dentist who runs in the door two days a week and never gets to properly meet anyone? More importantly, how many people who read about the new receptionist are booking appointments?
Bad idea #7: Photos of your holiday, your new car, or your hobby.
Unless we're friends, I don't want to see your holiday photos. All they will do is remind me that I've used up all of my own leave and I can't afford to go anywhere.
The one thing all bad ideas have in common
I could list a few more bad ideas, but this article is getting too negative. But before I finish, I’ll point out what all the bad ideas have in common.
They are all about you. They are not about your patients.
Think of it like a conversation. If you only talk about yourself, you won’t establish a relationship with whoever is listening. You can’t even tell if people are listening. The only way to really engage someone is to answer their questions. To solve their problems.
if you spend a minute thinking about what your patients what to know and the type of information that they would be interested in, then you're going to have a lot more success and a lot of higher response rate when you send that email newsletter out.