Why Your Patient Newsletter Open Rates Are Declining

September 1, 2016    By Becky Sheetz ()

Why Your Patient Newsletter Open Rates Are Declining

E-mail is a popular method of communication between patients and dentists. Of course, when you are sending a dental newsletter to your patients, you want it to get their attention. One of the best metrics to find out if it is would be to review the analytics.

Along with analytics, be sure to review your newsletter unsubscribe rate. A greater number of patients who unsubscribe, coupled with a decrease in open rates, indicates that your newsletter program needs some refinement.

If your patient newsletter open rates are declining, here are some possible reasons behind those unfortunate changes, along with some suggestions for what you can do to improve those rates.

1. Use a compelling subject line
The subject line is probably the single greatest factor in whether your newsletter is opened. “Family Pediatric Dental Practice Newsletter” is far less compelling to a patient than “When and Why to Ditch the Baby Bottle,” for example. In these days of stuffed inboxes, your subject line must stand out.

2. Check the time
When do you send your eNewsletters? Anything sent out Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. is probably going to be lost in the end-of-the-work-week shuffle. Very early morning distributions are often overlooked because many wee-early-morning-hour e-mails are spam or e-blasts from retailers.

3. Monitor your database status
An increasing number of invalid e-mail addresses might occur when your dental practice has yet to update the patient database. This will certainly have an adverse impact on the open rate. Update your patient e-mail addresses at least once a year to ensure that your newsletter arrives in the proper inboxes. Frequent updates are best.

4. Discretion is the key to signing up readers
The best way to ensure high open rates is to allow readers to opt into your newsletter. The moment you register a new patient or update contact information is a good time to ask them to opt into your newsletter.

5. Track frequency
Consider whether or not you may be sending your newsletter too infrequently. If readers become unaccustomed to seeing it appear in their inboxes, your newsletter will be an anomaly. By your sending patient dental newsletters once a month, readers will make a habit of opening them.

6. Mobile access should be easy
Fewer patients are opening e-mails, including your eNewsletters, on their desktop computers. Your patient newsletters must be fully functional and able to be read, skimmed and clicked through on mobile devices. Responsive newsletter design features should be tested by pulling it up on your phone and asking your staff and colleagues to do the same.

We are here to help you better understand open rates or any other aspect of newsletter marketing. Feel free to contact Steve Klinghoffer, president of WPI Communications, Inc. with any questions by calling 800-323-4995 or sending an e-mail to newsletter.question@wpicommunications.com.

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