If you’re looking for cost-effective ways to boost the profitability of your dental practice, newsletters are a great place to start. They’re one of the cheapest ways to reach your patients but are also rated one of the most appreciated methods of contact by patients and create great engagement too.
But, if you’re like most dentists or office managers, you’re always going to be tying it back to the golden metrics—how is this going to improve the profitability or production of my practice?
Below, we’ll walk you through how e-newsletters do just this, how to measure the impact they have on essential metrics, and how to integrate newsletters into your dental practice operations effortlessly.
1. Newsletters Aid in Patient Education
There’s a major disconnect between what patients believe is the right thing to do and what they actually do. A recent ADA study shows that 85% of people believe visiting the dentist twice per year is important, but only 37% visited within the last year.
As a dental care provider, you can play a pivotal role in oral health education, highlighting how issues emerge, who they impact, and how they can be prevented. The consistent messaging provided through newsletters will help reinforce what they know and introduce new ideas to encourage positive behavior shifts to end the disconnect between what patients think and what they do.
2. Case Acceptance Gets a Boost
“The funny thing about case acceptance is that dentists think they’re doing much better than they actually are,” says Dr. Chris Salierno, Dental Economics’ Chief Editor. Research presented on the site shows the average case acceptance rate to be just 20-30%, but authors note doubling acceptance rates could be as easy as creating an emotional connection with patients.
While there’s no replacement for great treatment plan presentation and chairside rapport, patient newsletters can build on the environment you create in-office, further solidifying the need to continue with treatment.
Your newsletter also provides the opportunity to address some of biggest reasons people avoid the dentist, including cost (59%) and dental phobia (22%), per ADA research. By reinforcing comfort and how your office addresses cost barriers, treatment compliance will naturally rise too.
Pro Tip: Not sure what your real acceptance rates are? If you’re a Practice-Web user, head over to the Reports tab in the main menu and look for “Treatment Presentation Statistics” under Monthly reports. It’ll break down the number of treatment plans created for a specific date range, complete with dollar amounts, and show you how much has been scheduled or completed. You can even look at the stats by treatment plan presenter, so you can mentor and train team members with low acceptance rates and/or recognize those with high acceptance rates.
3. Patient Retention Rates Increase
Research presented by the ADA shows patient retention rates tend to hover around 41%, so you’re losing roughly six of every ten patients your office gets through the door. Difficult economic times and pandemics only make patient retention that much harder, but the old adage rings true: it’s easier to keep an existing patient than it is to attract a new one.
A newsletter keeps your office at the forefront of minds. It’s the ideal way to keep in touch with patients who pop in for emergency treatment and then might otherwise move onto whoever they find online when their next emergency creeps up. It changes the mindset from “Who was that dentist I saw a year ago?” to “I just got another letter from my dentist. I should schedule with them again.” Newsletters also go a long way to reinforcing your recall efforts for those who follow up with routine care as well.
4. Newsletters Build Relationships and Loyalty
It can sometimes be difficult to think of our dental office as a brand, especially if you run a solo practice, but it is one, nonetheless. The challenge is, it takes a 37% of customers five or more purchases before they consider themselves loyal to a brand in the consumer market, according to Yotpo data. A further 33% say it takes three purchases. To put that in perspective with a dental office, it would take 1.5-2.5 years of routine checkups for most patients to feel loyalty to their dentist. Ouch!
However, more than a quarter will feel more loyal if they’re offered special deals and another 7% can be swayed by customer service. These can both be addressed through your newsletter.
5. Referrals Can Increase Dramatically
Referrals are closely tied to loyalty. Not surprisingly, the same Yotpo study found that 60% of customers tell family and friends about a brand they’re loyal to. At the same time, your newsletter can be tied into your overall content marketing plan. You can use yours to drive traffic to review sites or encourage patients to connect with your practice on social media. Not only do those repeat contacts give loyalty a boost just like your newsletters do, but your followers and engagements will serve as social proof, giving prospective new patients the confidence they need to call and book their first appointment.
If your office offers a referral program, the newsletter is a great place to market it as well. Many offices provide a guaranteed reward when their referral comes in for their first appointment, but you can also experiment with other types of referral programs, such asking patients to forward your message to three of their friends and cc the office in it. Then, do a prize drawing from the entrants, including those referred and your existing patients.
6. Your Reputation as an Authority on Oral Health is Solidified
Your patients are constantly bombarded with information and advertisements. It’s difficult to know who to trust. The more they hear you discuss your methodology and philosophies, the more they’ll see you as their most trusted source of oral health information. This will contribute to other areas that impact practice profitability, including loyalty, attrition, and case acceptance too.
7. More Patients Commit to Elective Treatments
Another dramatic shift dental offices see when they start sending newsletters is an increase in patients completing elective procedures, such as whitening and veneers. A huge part of this is because offices tend to work in six-month cycles, so if you’re running something like a holiday teeth whitening special and only marketing it in-office to patients who visit in December, only about 17% of your active recall patients will ever know it’s happening. The reality is, many, if not most, of your patients will stretch that six-month rule out until it’s closer to the year-mark.
Your newsletter reinforces the need to follow the recommended recall schedule and encourages patients to come back sooner for any specials you publish. Because loyalty increases the average spend for a brand as well, you’ll see an uptick from that too.
8. Patient Satisfaction Soares
Regardless of what gets that patient through the door and carries them through the process, one thing is for certain: patients who feel well cared for and are confident about their smiles beam. As outlined here, your newsletters underpin many components of the patient’s journey, and as such, lead to greater satisfaction overall.
Pro Tip: The impact of your newsletters can be measured! Through Practice-Web’s native Reports, you can easily assess metrics for treatment plan acceptance, retention/ attrition rates, referrals, and production. If you’re leveraging the Practice-Web Online Reviews Smart Tool, you can examine patient satisfaction rates and how they correlate with your newsletters too.
Integrate Newsletters for Your Dental Practice
You don’t need to purchase an expensive third-party tool to create professional-looking newsletters for your dental practice. Used in conjunction with pwConnect, Practice-Web’s mass email and patient texting solution, pwNewletter completely synchs up with your practice management software for ease of use and comes with a robust set of features, including ready-made templates, a drag-and-drop builder for fast e-newsletter creation without coding or special knowledge, and powerful analytics that allow you to improve the success of your campaigns over time. Learn more about pwNewsletter on our main site or contact us for a complimentary demo or to have pwNewsletter integrated with Practice-Web for your office.