By Terry Fine
When asking a laboratory owner if they have ever thought of doing an eNewsletter, the common response is, “That’s a great idea, but I don’t have the time or know where to start.” Of course, this initial dialogue is commonly followed by, “I don’t know where to start, and I have very few email addresses for my dentists.”
The trend in marketing today, like the workflow in a laboratory, is focused on digital. The linchpin of digital marketing is great content. Some of the best content is found by mining what goes on in the laboratory on a day-to-day basis. For example, requesting your laboratory technicians write down the questions they are asked by dentists for one week will provide plenty of relevant topics to publish, since these are clearly on your customer’s minds.
Getting started with an eNewsletter is easier than you think. The following are a few key items to keep in mind when developing this important marketing tool.
Stick To a Regular Schedule
For most laboratories a monthly eNewsletter might not be realistic. If that situation fits your laboratory, look to do a quarterly eNewsletter that can be supplemented with some other email communications that are specific to an upcoming CE event, new product introduction, or promotions. This supplemental communication will ensure that you maintain top-of-mind position with your clients.
Deliver Relevant, Trustworthy Content
Remember the FAQs you have been gathering? I can assure you that these questions are timely and relevant to what is going on in the dental world and what doctors are interested in. The proliferation of new materials in both fixed and removables coupled with the continued advancement in technology is sure to be of interest and some of the most read content.
Keep It Brief
Doctors don’t want to be bombarded with an in-depth eNewsletter detailing every piece of dental happenings. They’ll look forward to your eNewsletter for a break in their day—something to educate or entertain them that won’t take too long to read. To facilitate that, it’s best to keep your eNewsletter short and on point. Give the reader snippets of the story and make them click a hyperlink to read more. This will allow you to see statistically what information is driving the most engagement.
Offer Promotions and Special Deals
We are all aware of the old axiom of “it is more cost effective to grow your business by increasing revenue and referrals from existing clients than to pursue new clients.” Your eNewsletter offers you a great communication vehicle to introduce promotions on new products or services. Everybody loves a great deal, and this will help ensure your dentist is on the lookout for your next eNewsletter. Be sure to add the eNewsletter signup to your homepage, and add an incentive for them to sign up.
Let’s face it, dentists aren’t spending all of their time thinking about your laboratory or brand. Sending out an eNewsletter, however, encourages dentists to think about your laboratory more often than they normally would. And when you’re sending them content that provides useful, relevant information they can use in their practice, they start to think of you as a valuable resource and industry leader, not just another laboratory.
How To Create and Deliver My eNewsletter
There are many excellent email service providers (ESPs) that are cost-effective and easy to use. Some of the top companies include Constant Contact, MailChimp, and VerticalResponse. They all provide predefined templates and a simple, straightforward interface that helps you design and deliver a professional-looking eNewsletter in no time. In addition to ESP platforms, the leading automated marketing platforms—like HubSpot, SharpSpring, and Infusionsoft—facilitate the process as well. What these platforms provide above the others is full integration to your website and the ability to track the end users in detail. Now, instead of just getting a basic report with the number of site opens and clicks, you can see detailed analytics associated with the end user activities such as what links were clicked on, what additional pages they viewed on your website, and any items downloaded or forms filled out. The platform will continue to monitor their activity relative to future visits to your site, helping you identify how your clients are engaging with your online presence.
The commitment to publish an eNewsletter is one that will deliver a positive return on investment for your laboratory in many additional ways. Sending a regular, relevant eNewsletter:
• Enhances your company’s reputation and increases lead generation.
• Leverages your marketing efforts.
• Provides instantaneous, trackable results in the form of deliverable rate, opens, and click-throughs.
• Is more cost-efficient than a printed newsletter because of the significant savings in development, printing, and mailing costs.
Get started on that FAQ list, start collecting your client’s emails, and you will be on your way to delivering your first eNewsletter. It’s a simple, effective way to ensure your laboratory stays “top of mind” with your dentists.