Finding the best marketing strategy for you dental office can be one of the biggest challenges you face as a business owner or associate dental. And, they don’t teach you how to run a small business in dental school! There are so many things to consider. First, how much money to you want to spend? Do you mess with SEO and Google AdWords? Should you start a blog, social media, YouTube…. the list goes on and on. At some point the question will rise, do you do print newsletters or e-newsletters? You know you should be reaching out to your patients, but which is better?
No matter which route you go, print or digital, you need three key pieces: content to fill your newsletter, someone to design it, and a list of people to send it to. That being said, here are some of the pros and cons of both to consider.
Looking back to the three key things you need when creating a newsletter, designing a print newsletter can be the most expensive. More than likely you will have to outsource someone to do the work for you – unless you have some hidden talents besides dentistry. There are plenty of companies out there prepped and ready to do this for you, but it you will have to pay for their services. The good news is, it’s often money well spent. Studies have shown that people are more likely to keep a printed newsletter to look at later and can bring on average a 3-5% response rate, whereas an email campaign is closer to less than one half of a percent.
Since you are paying for every edition of the newsletter you want to print and mail out, it’s common for this to only be a quarterly expense and made to target a wider demographic. An emailed newsletter can be sent to numerous groups all with more specific content, and often for free. You do get what you pay for though, with a print newsletter. There are only so many things you can customize in an email. With a print newsletter you have full control of what you want your newsletter to look like down to the font, colors, images, and content you want to include.
- People are more likely to read a print newsletter.
- You get a higher response rate.
- Fully customizable.
- They cost more money to produce.
- Sent out less often to a wider demographic.
When considering your list of people to send to, most dental offices can say that they have a list of email addresses from their patients, but not everyone is willing to give one out and the older population may not even know how to use one! So, one thing to consider when creating an e-newsletter is the demographic you are sending to. Most dental software allows you to pull lists based certain qualifiers like, “patients with D#### procedure code treatment planned”, “patients age 25-40”, etc. These lists allow you to create more individualized emails to certain patients. Since they are less expensive to create, you can also send them out as frequently as you want. However, as fast as you can click “send” on your newsletter, the person on the receiving end can just as quickly click “delete” on theirs. Email from businesses can easily be seen as unwanted “junk mail” that doesn’t even get opened.
Using something like MailChimp or emma can be configured to “set it and forget it”, meaning you don’t have to be constantly babysitting your outgoing emails or keeping track of lists. You can set up a campaign and let it runs its course. They are also great for circling your patients back to your website or Facebook for further engagement. Since emails are more frequent, a single email may only include one topic and be quite short. On the other hand, a print newsletter often holds a few articles, news about the office or team members, specials and giveaways, and is packed with relative content that is more likely going to catch the eye of your reader if it isn’t something they see every day.
- Very inexpensive or free.
- Can be sent to specifically targeted patients with individualized content based on their demographic.
- Can be sent frequently.
- Easy to delete without reading.
- Basic email editing and less customizable.
So How Do You Decide?
We are so glad you asked! The answer is, you don’t. You do a little bit of both. The truth is, you aren’t going to get every single patient’s email address to send an e-newsletter to, and sending only to your patient list isn’t going to help grow your business unless you are reaching out to potential patients by using a mailing route in and around your neighborhood.
With The Dental Press, we look up the best mailing routes around your area based on demographic, household income, etc., give you a customized quote based on how many people we recommend you mail your fully customized print newsletter to. Including in that quote is: Call Tracking, an extra 50 copies of your printed newsletter for your reception area, and a free digital copy of your newsletter to post to social media. When doing an e-newsletter in conjunction with a print newsletter, we offer a discounted rate as well!
We’d love to hear from you! What system do you use in your dental office? What results are you seeing? Leave a comment below!