Every January orthodontic marketing pundits try to make predictions of what the industry will bring for the upcoming year in different areas. They range from the career conservative to highly aggressive. Even though the accuracy of orthodontic email marketing effectiveness can be debated, almost all have some sort of truth to them. Taking advantage of the power of email marketing increases your exposure with your most valuable referral source… your patients and parents. With that being said, below are my bold predictions. Whether or not these predictions come to fruition for 2009, only time will tell. But one thing I do know, it will happen eventually. The question is will you be at the forefront or lagging behind?
Commercial email volume on all levels will increase exponentially, forcing down email’s open ratio – Unless of course you have an in… As consumers receive more commercial email, marketing messages are lost in the clutter, making the medium less effective and challenging orthodontic marketers to come up with new ways to grab patient attention. Appointment reminders are a great way to sneak in additional marketing messages to patients and parents who open email appointment reminders. The open rate of most email marketing campaigns is less than 10%. However, your patients are expecting the reminder and will click through at a much higher rate… so why not take advantage of it. All you have to do is add a new marketing message every 8-10 weeks. You will easily cover the majority of your patients 6 times a year with this Internet marketin tactic. But remember, your marketing message must grab their attention to create impact with catchy text or delivery. Hence my next prediction….
The demand to stream video via email will increase. All savvy email marketers know that it’s impossible to stream video via email as a result of enhanced anti-spam technology. What was once considered an advanced email marketing trick in 2002 quickly fizzled as inbox providers rushed to put anti-rendering measures in to curb the onslaught of spam. However, increased bandwidth and the fanfare of YouTube and similar video Web sites have resurrected the demand for video via email. Your email provider such as Sesame Communications, Televox, and Ortho II may not allow you to embed video into your emails, but if you add the url link to your video with a targeted sentence of two to grab attention, patients will click on the link to see what your are talking about.
In today’s economy, take advantage of every marketing trick available to continually build upon your personal relationship with patients, parents and referring dentists. Adding marketing messages to your email doesn’t cost you anything other than your time to create your message and linking a video you already created for YouTube and social networking sites. Make sure you add the marketing message above the appointment reminder so they read it before the appointment information… not after. Take advantage of it… its worth it. Where else will you get this type of ROI or return on investment.
Here are a few suggestions to think about:
· Announce the winner of your contests
· Link your practice promotion video
· Link your video of your practice family party
· Link your video office tour
· Invisalign promotion
· Announce theme days
There is no end to what you can promote. I patients like what they see, it is very easy to forward an email to a friend. PR no longer stands for public relations today, it’s Perception and Reality. Give your patients and parents a little bit of both with email marketing.
P.S. Don’t forget to add the video links and announcements in your e-newsletters too.
Do you think my predictions makes sense for 2009 — or are they completely off the mark? I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.
Mary Kay Miller is founder and CEO of Orthopreneur Marketing Solutions. With over 30 years as an orthodontic business and marketing coordinator, Mary Kay has narrowed her business skills and marketing expertise to Internet marketing, Web 2.0 marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) and the creation of marketing systems to save teams valuable time and effort.
As an Internet marketing expert for ten years, Mary Kay evaluates professional practice websites and marketing programs for their ability to increase new patients referrals. Most doctors have no experience in Internet marketing; let alone how to correctly optimize a website and implement internal and external Internet marketing tactics to increase exposure. Most are missing out on a goldmine of new patient opportunities available from new prospects searching for treatment providers online.