Why a Current Dental Patient E-mail List Is Essential

May 3, 2017    By Becky Sheetz ()

Why a Current Dental Patient E-mail List Is Essential

Many dental offices have done well at gathering patient e-mail addresses. However, if your practice goes the extra step of working to keep these e-mail lists current, you are aware that addresses change rapidly. HubSpot finds that e-mail marketing databases degrade by about 22.5% every year. And Jay Baer of Convince and Convert notes that 30% of subscribers change e-mail addresses annually.

These statistics validate what you probably already know: Your patients’ e-mail addresses are moving targets. This presents a challenge for dentists who understand the value of maintaining electronic communication with their patients. As the country’s most respected dental newsletter publisher, we understand the importance of having a current patient e-mail list—and the risks of not having a current list.

What’s the danger of having obsolete e-mail addresses in your database? The most obvious issue is that your e-mails aren’t reaching their intended recipients. A quarter or more of the patients you intend to reach may miss your e-mails and eNewsletters. With years of experience, we can provide helpful tips to gather e-mail addresses.

But the problem is even more serious than that.

High bounce rates hurt your newsletter success
Bounce rates, as you may know, are the percentage of total e-mails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox. Bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of e-mails sent by the total number of bounced e-mails.

For example, 50 bounces out of 2,000 patient e-mails equals a 2.5% bounce rate.

There are two different kinds of bounces. Soft bounces occur because of a temporary problem with a patient’s e-mail address, such as a full inbox or a technical e-mail server problem.

Hard bounces are the ones you need to be most concerned about. They occur because the recipient’s e-mail address is erroneous, closed or never existed. When these addresses are discovered, you should immediately remove them from your database. This is not simply a matter of housekeeping. A clean e-mail list matters because bounce rates are used by Internet service providers (ISPs) to determine an e-mail sender’s reputation. If your practice has a high bounce rate, it can be a big problem for your patient newsletters and other e-mail campaigns.

If your e-mail recipients’ ISPs deem your bounce rate to be high, it will damage your reputation. They will default your e-mails to the recipient’s junk folder or worse, block your e-mails altogether.

What’s a “good” bounce rate?
The e-mail industry uses the standard guideline that a well-maintained, permission-based list should have a bounce rate of 2%. Silverpop reports that the median bounce rate for health care e-mails is 2.1%.

The good news
By using reputable third-party software to distribute your e-mails, you’ll receive a report on the bounce backs to help you clean your database. At WPI Communications, we take this very seriously and report bounced back e-mails, so you can keep your database and your reputation in great shape!

And be sure to keep your e-mail addresses current by regularly updating them when patients visit your office. Contact us to learn more about newsletter marketing solutions.

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