How to achieve practice success: Collect Patient Email Addresses

 
Email addresses are gold for your business. Without them, you don’t have a ready and willing audience for the marketing for dentist campaigns necessary to grow your practice and boost revenues. No matter what business you’re in, you should collect email addresses for everyone who walks through the door.

But how to ask? It’s easy when you make email collection part of your office practice. Have your patient information sheet designed so that it includes space for an email address, along with telephone number and  mailing address. If a form is returned without an email address, ensure your staff is trained to ask the patient to please fill in the address if they have one.

Let the patient know you’re asking because you want to keep in touch so that he or she is informed of all important announcements, doesn’t miss out on time-limited special offers and is given the opportunity to save by filling in for a last-minute cancellation. Once patients know that you plan to email them regularly — and that you could be making offers that will benefit them — they will be more willing to hand over their online address. And they will be more likely to look for your emails.

As an alternative, you can add a section on email to your patient information form. For example, along with asking for the patient’s email address, you might want to ask how often they check it. While most people check their emails daily, others rarely do. Knowing this will help improve customer service. You might also want to ask whether the patient prefers to be contacted by email or phone. Chances are he or she will choose email, since emails can be read at the recipient’s leisure, making this a convenient method of communication. Again, this lets the patient know you intend to keep in touch online, which will signal your patient to keep on the lookout for messages from you. This ensures your emails will not be deleted before they are opened and will improve the success of your marketing for dentist.

Email addresses should also be collected when a new patient calls in search of a dentist. By collecting it before the first visit — even before an appointment is made — you will have the opportunity to begin building a strong patient relationship by sending them a “welcome to the practice” email.

Because email addresses often change, staff should ask for a current online address each time a patient calls for an appointment. This way, an important announcement or special offer will not bounce back, causing scheduling problems or missed sales opportunities.

You can also use your website to collect email addresses by having people sign up for a free newsletter or to qualify for a special prize. It is important that visitors to your site feel they are getting something in return for handing over their email addresses. Whenever prizes are handed out, you should always include the name of the winner on your website, preferably with a photo. When visitors to your site see that a “real” person has actually won a prize, they will feel better signing up for the next promotion, knowing this isn’t simply an attempt to build an email marketing list.  Along with gaining another new email address, you also stand to gain a potential new patient.

While signing up visitors to your website is the easiest and fastest way to collect email addresses from non-patients, you can also collect email addresses from friends of patients through your email marketing campaigns by offering the patient and a friend a promotion that requires an email address be collected when the offer is accepted.

Want to maximize your marketing for dentist success? It’s simple: collected email addresses!

david Engelsberg

EmailDocs originated from a collaboration of over 100 healthcare professionals intent on finding ways to overcome the marketing challenges faced within our own private practices.

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