Your Cheat Sheet to Sending Better Emails

Email marketing continues to be an important aspect of patient communications, especially in regards to patient recall and retention. In a recent survey, 77% of respondents said they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email. Further, all age groups named email as their preferred source for communication. If you’re a dental or medical practice that wants to improve the way you communicate with your patients, read this cheat sheet to sending better emails.

Spend time on strategy

Top performing emails – ones that get opened and drive visits – are ones that have had some strategy applied to them. Out of all the steps that go into creating, developing, and sending an email (this includes: the creative, segmentation & targeting, strategy, email layout and processing, and reporting), strategy has the greatest effect on whether your email is ultimately successful. So even if you’re sending automated emails for things like appointment reminders and birthdays, put some thought into creating your next promotion or recall campaign.

Test and track results

Unless you’re incredibly lucky or a natural marketing genius, the first email you send won’t be the best one you could send. With each communication you send to patients, you can learn valuable insights about what your patients want, and how you can tailor your practice and communications to better engage with them. So what should you test in your emails?

  • The subject line
  • The message
  • The layout and images
  • The CTA (Call-to-Action)
  • The day you send
  • The time of day you send
  • The landing page
  • Your audience
  • The sender
  • Mobile layout and images

Design for mobile

In the modern, digital age, the last bullet is quite possibly one of the most important, so we wanted to split it into its own section. One of the keys to sending better emails is to design for mobile. Whatever email platform or system you choose, make sure they have considered how to optimize their emails for mobile viewing. Did you know that 75% of smartphone owners say they are highly likely to delete emails that they can’t read on their phones?

Mobile viewing isn’t a rising trend; it’s the new normal. By the end of 2013, the number of commercial emails opened on mobile devices had already surpassed the number opened on desktops. Yet there are still practices out there who aren’t using mobile-friendly layouts. Stand out from the crowd by designing and considering where and how your patients will read your emails. You can even go further with a marketing platform like Demandforce, and offer text reminders and two-way text to your patients as well, making it even easier for them to confirm and communicate with your practice.

For more information on all this and more, visit demandforce.com, or call us at (888) 272-7821.

Managing Client Expectations with Improved Client Communications

In any small business or practice, managing expectations is crucial to building and maintaining a successful relationship with your clients. However, if you don’t manage client expectations early, you could find yourself in some tense situations later on down the road, or experiencing low retention of your clientele.

One way to manage client expectations is to communicate early on how you’ll send out notifications, updates, or important information that your clients might need/want to know.

Send a Welcome Email

For example, if you are a salon who has recently seen several new clients, we recommend sending out a targeted Welcome email, thanking them for their first visit, and providing more detailed information on your services and history.

If you use a marketing and communications platform like Demandforce to send these messages, you can track open rates and specify specific people to receive the email, all based on data synched directly from your salon management system. And Welcome messages sent via Demandforce have an average open rate of 50 percent! (Based on 2016 Demandforce data).

Find Out Your Client’s Preferred Method of Communication

Another way to manage client expectations is to take time to chat with your client during their first visit, and ask them for their preferred method of communication. You can even ask for their consent to send text message updates, or special offers you might be running, and you can confirm that the data you have in your system is up-to-date and complete. This allows you to make sure that when you send a message, via email, voice call, or text, it’s not unwelcome, and your client knows that you might be contacting them.

Continue to Reach Out

One common mistake businesses make that can affect client expectations is to stop communicating with them after the first few months. If your salon or small business emphasizes a personal touch, and friendly family atmosphere, you need to make good on your promise. Set up custom email campaigns to send automatically to specific clients, promoting specials, loyalty rewards, or discounts. Celebrate important milestones with them by sending birthday and anniversary greetings. And make sure that your clients never miss an upcoming appointment by setting up automatic appointment reminders and recall campaigns to send out based on data collected in your management system.

If you continue to nurture the relationship you have with your client past the first visit and beyond, you’ll turn a new client into a loyal client—and you’ll always exceed your clients’ expectations.

For more information on how you can use the marketing tools and communications solutions provided by Demandforce to manage your client expectations, visit demandforce.com/salon-and-spa.

3 Quick Tricks to Strengthen Your Online Reputation

Looking for 3 quick tricks to help you strengthen your online reputation? While nothing beats taking the time to nurture your brand identity and personality online with steady, consistent engagement, the following are 3 quick tricks to help jumpstart your online presence.

1. Leverage Social Media

You took the time to set up your Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter, and LinkedIn – so now’s the time to utilize them! Collect and post customer reviews on social media, and connect with your customers through engaging, relevant social posts. Showcasing your business on social media increases your value and exposure exponentially!

2. Use Negative Reviews Wisely

Always acknowledge and respond to negative reviews, creating a conversation to reach a resolution. Never leave a negative comment unanswered on a Facebook post or your Yelp page. Even if you need to take the conversation offline, respond publicly so that other customers and prospects see that you responded in a timely matter, and care about working with the customer to come to some sort of resolution. Remember, some negative feedback can add more legitimacy to your positive reviews.

3. Measure, Measure, Measure

Never stop tweaking and learning from your posts and your customers. Establish a plan to track and monitor your online reputation, including these important indicators:

  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Sentiment
  • Recency
  • Keywords

If you want to strengthen your business’ online reputation, check out the online reputation management tools from Demandforce. You can send automatic review requests, post directly to popular search sites, and manage your online reputation all from our easy-to-use online platform.

Call us at (888) 272-7821 to see a demo, or visit demandforce.com for more info.

How to improve your customer onboarding experience

What is onboarding?

Customer onboarding is a term used to describe the process that your customers experience at the beginning of their customer journey with your business, and if you think that as a professional, you don’t have to consider onboarding, think again! The beginning of your customer journey is one of the most important, especially in regards to fostering future engagement and retention.

Why is onboarding important?

First impressions matter, and this is the foundational idea behind having a strong onboarding process. The first one-on-one experience your customer has with your services sets the tone for their entire relationship with your business. If it’s stressful, confusing, or convoluted, you could risk losing their business and develop a negative reputation.

Especially if you acquire a new prospect via a special promotion, discount, or free trial, if you want to limit the number of drop-offs immediately after this special ends, a strong onboarding experience is key.

How to build a strong onboarding experience for your customers

The goal of customer onboarding is not only to reduce churn, but also to showcase the long-term value of sticking with your business as opposed to a competitors. A good onboarding experience will:

  • Build trust between you and your customer
  • Guide your customer through any initial forms or required registration
  • Create engagement with you
  • Set expectations for the future
  • Impress them

Some aspects you an utilize in your onboarding process

Here are some suggestions we have for you to try in your onboarding process.

Customize your welcome

Adding a specific person’s name to even the first welcome email you send them goes a long way to setting the tone for the relationship you’ll have with them during their entire customer lifecycle. Sending custom emails and notifications to them is simple with many online marketing platforms, and can increase long-term retention and customer satisfaction.

Assign an individual representative

Assigning an individual representative to each customer is not only something simple your business can do, but it adds a personal touch to your relationship, and gives your customer a point of contact they can connect with in the future (which often makes them more willing to connect with you!). Even if you have the same representative act as the main point of contact, letting each customer know that they can call in and ask for someone by name goes a long way in onboarding that customer.

Set check-in milestones 

The first time you meet with your customer, set some milestones for the future, and let them know that there will be certain moments where you’ll check in with them, to see how they’re doing, whether they need to come in again for another appointment, or if they’re all good for the time being. Establishing this during the onboarding process plants the seed early in your customer’s mind that you will be in touch later, and thus – they will be more likely to engage with you in the future.

Showcase success stories

All customers enjoy knowing that others have come before them, and enjoyed their experience. So if you can, during the onboarding process, showcase some success stories you have had in the past, so that you not only highlight the positives of a long-term relationship with your business, but you set your customer’s mind at ease: they have made the right choice to choose you.

These are just a few ways you can work to improve your customer onboarding experience so that you set the right tone for your customers in the first days of their time with you. Remember, excellent customer onboarding not only keeps your customers happy, but it keeps them coming back and referring you to their friends and colleagues.

[Infographic] 5 Best Ways to Increase Survey Response Rates

When was the last time your business sent out a survey to your current database of patients, clients, or customers? Surveys are important for your business for the following reasons:

  • You keep up-to-date on what your patients/clients actually want from your services
  • You increase patient/client satisfaction by showing that you value feedback
  • You get a more accurate view of your current brand / business reputation and perception
  • You can use the results to identify and improve services, products, or strategy

However, before you shoot off a long survey to your email database, you might want to consider a few things that will drive up response and make sure you’re not being a nuisance. Check out the infographic below for 5 Ways to Increase Survey Response Rates, and then when you’re ready to send your first (or next!) survey, send it through Demandforce! Demandforce offers customers the ability to send patient/client surveys directly from our easy-to-use online platform. To see a demo of Demandforce, call us at (888) 272-7821 or visit demandforce.com.

5-Ways-to-Increase-Survey-Response-Rates

Establish an Effective Patient Recall Strategy at Your Dental Practice

In order to grow your dental practice, you need to focus not only on new patient acquisition, but also patient recall. What is recall? It’s your ability to keep your patients coming back after their first office visit. In order to maintain a healthy dental practice—regardless of location, size, or specialty—you need to have an effective recall system in place for your patients.

Why patient recall is so important to dentists

It can take time to establish a relationship with a patient, and build upon that trust. However, helping your patients understand the value of regular dental cleanings and encouraging them to return to you can be rewarding not only for your patients’ overall oral health, but for your practice as well.

Once a patient has been entered once into your system, you want to make sure that their information doesn’t get lost in the general communications chain. If you start seeing declines in your hygiene department, soon you might see declines in the operative and restorative side of your practice as well.

So how can you take action to prevent such a decline?

How Demandforce helps you get more from your practice management system

Ask yourself this: how does your current recall system operate? Are you sending one notice and then waiting for patients to call you? According to one study from Dental Economics, only 20% of patients call the practice after they receive a notice. And even if you have your staff call patients, this system is not that much more effective, and also takes 20-40 hours a month to do for many dental practices.

If you’re looking for a more effective, efficient way to recall patients to your practice, consider Demandforce. Demandforce is a patient communications and marketing platform that reconnects with and reactivates lost patients by leveraging the data in your current PMS.

77% of Demandforce dental practices actively use the recall reminder feature – and it works!

For patients who booked appointments after receiving a reminder, 80% scheduled their appointment after only one reminder was sent (Demandforce survey, 2015).

Demandforce not only provides workflow automation tools that can have an immediate effect on the number of patients who rebook appointments with you, it also offers a high level of customization and targeting so that you make sure you’re sending the right message to the right patient, at the right time.

Demandforce’s custom recall reminders can be adjusted based on how busy your practice is, and how far out your schedule is booked. You can also rewrite any emails before you send, to create specific offers relevant to your patients.

Here are a few other features of Demandforce that help you reconnect with patients and bring them back in to your practice:

  • Automated appointment reminders
  • Patient surveys
  • Ready-made newsletters
  • Custom recall messages sent via email, text, or voice call
  • Personalized emails celebrating life milestones like: birthdays, we miss you campaigns, and special offer emails

To find out more about Demandforce’s patient communications solutions, visit demandforce.com or call (888) 272-7821.

How Online Reviews Get You Seen Online

If you’re a medical practice, dental office, veterinary practice, or auto shop and you haven’t considered what it means to rank high on Google or have good reviews, you’re missing out on key revenue opportunities.

Online reviews are now the most trusted source for potential patients, clients, and customers who are trying to choose between all the options out there. Over 80% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as a peer recommendation, and the more reviews you have, the better.

How Online Reviews Help You Show Up In Search

Having online reviews doesn’t just help in getting patients to trust you… it also will organically help increase your business’ search engine rankings. All the major search engines – Google, Yahoo, Citysearch, and Bing – are fans of reviews. This is because users like reviews, and these search engines want to provide users with useful information. A practice, shop, or business that has generated online reviews will be shown higher on the search results page than one without reviews. Plus, if you’re searching say, on Google for a business, and your business has enough reviews and information about it to make it more relevant than other listings, Google will often showcase its Google Local business page in the search results, providing your business with a big boost in online visibility over competitors.

How Online Reviews Keep You High on the Page

One of the ways that search engines like Google and Bing make sure that their content is up-to-date is by checking for new content. Every time a customer reviews your business and posts it online, the search engines identify that as new content, and rewards that business and that page by keeping it higher in the search results. Both your office’s actual website and the review site for your place of business benefit from new online reviews.

How Having Multiple Business Listings Helps Online Visibility

Another factor to consider is that having multiple business listings spread across major consumer sites ensures that you get seen by the widest possible group of consumers, regardless of where they are coming from, and what search engine they use. Have you ever seen a Bing search result or review pop up on Google? Or a Yahoo review? Probably not, and that’s because the major search engines don’t want to provide their competitors with free traffic. That’s another reason why USER-generated online reviews are so important, as those are the only ones search engines will show (aside from ones on their own platforms).

This is why your business can benefit from having complete and accurate business listings on Google, Bing, Citysearch, Yellowpages, Demandforce Local, and more. You cover 95% of where local searches occur.

If just thinking about managing 4+ business listings makes your head spin, don’t worry. If you invest in a platform like Demandforce, you can just log into your Demandforce portal and manage all your local business listings in one place. We’ll keep your contact information and business hours updated automatically, so you don’t have to take care of it manually.

How Demandforce Can Help You Get More Online Reviews

As one of the many features of Demandforce, your business gets help with reputation management and collecting online reviews. However, we know that in order to leverage reviews on sites like Google, it’s not just about getting high numbers, it’s about how you collect and manage them as well. Demandforce not only provides you with ways to automatically request reviews from patients and clients, but they also allow you to showcase positive reviews on your website, Facebook page, and Demandforce business profile.

Demandforce also helps you make sure that the business reviews online are from your actual patients and clients. This helps protect your online reputation, and boosts word-of-mouth referrals as well. And while some lower-star ratings are actually useful (they help show that your business is ‘real’ and the reviews are legitimate, Demandforce also allows you to target certain patients for review requests, so you increase the likelihood that the review your clients post will be a positive one.

Plus, when a client submits positive feedback about your business, we encourage them to share their experience with their social network. We make it easy to post a link recommending your business on Facebook, so you get more business, and they get the chance to refer a friend or relative.

For more information on how Demandforce can help get you seen online, visit demandforce.com or schedule a free demo with one of our experts: (888) 272-7821.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sending Your First Email Campaign

One of the most powerful features of Demandforce (and one our customers like the most) is our ability to create custom emails for your customers.

Did you know?

Demandforce customers who use custom email campaigns see a 30% open rate* on their emails.

*Based on a subset of 2016 Demandforce data.

78% of Demandforce dental practices** send email campaigns to their patients.

70% of Demandforce auto shops** send email campaigns to their customers.

*Based on 2016 Demandforce data.

Why email campaigns are important

Emails can be used to build loyalty and trust around your business, and has one of the highest ROI’s of any marketing you’ll send. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you get $38 in return!

With a platform like Demandforce, you can easily send and customize one-click email campaigns to your customers. Demandforce offers a variety of ready-made templates to help you connect and communicate with your current base.

Here are just a few of the emails you can send:

  • Promotions and special offers
  • Industry-specific ready-made newsletters
  • Holiday and birthday greetings
  • Referral campaigns
  • Special event invitations and business milestones
  • Customer appreciation
  • Recommended services and recall reminders

A step-by-step guide to sending your first email campaign

If you’re ready to create your first email promotion and you’re a Demandforce customer, you should definitely check out this article to get detailed instructions on how to set up your promotion or newsletter. Here we’ll cover a broader outline of the steps.

  • Pick your promotion – think about what you want to gain from sending this promotion. What is your goal? Are you trying to attract more customers? Are you celebrating a specific upcoming event, holiday, or milestone? Are you launching a referral or customer appreciation campaign?

HINT: if you’re searching for ideas, check out the CAMPAIGNS tab in Demandforce, for suggestions and examples of our ready-made templates.

  • Customize the content – In order to foster a strong relationship with your customers, you need to make sure you’re sending them the right message, at the right time. Don’t send out a generic or sloppy-looking email. Not only will you see low conversions, but you also risk spurring opt-outs and losing repeat business.
  • Select your audience – Now that you’ve created copy that speaks to a certain audience, make sure you’re sending your promotion to that audience. If you’re using Demandforce, you can do this easily. You can even choose to CREATE YOUR OWN CRITERIA and define your audience using customer data pulled directly from your CMS. Once you’ve defined your list, you can review it and even remove individual customers from the send, if you so choose.
  • Schedule delivery – Pick the time and date to send your promotion. You can choose to send it immediately, or schedule it for the future. Demandforce customers can even set recurring campaigns.
  • Track your results – It’s not enough to just send your email, you need to track your results so you can learn from what you send out! If you’ve sent a campaign out through Demandforce, you can view data such as: the total sent, the total opened, and the clicks. This is all easily accessed within the Demandforce dashboard.

Have more questions about how to send your first email campaign? If you’re a Demandforce customer, visit our Help Center for dozens of helpful articles. If you’re new to Demandforce and want to learn how you can save time and attract new customers with custom, targeted email campaigns, visit www.demandforce.com or call us at (800) 220-1136.

Why You Should Consider Customizing All Your Client Communications

If you’re a current Demandforce customer, or a small business owner who is looking to improve your current client communications, sending email campaigns is always a good choice. The world has changed; and nowadays, consumers make purchasing decisions based more on the relationship they have with a company or brand than any other factor (sometimes even more than the product/service itself!).

That’s why establishing and nurturing current client relationships is so important, and can lead to increased revenue, a stronger online reputation, and more referrals. Additionally, according to a 2015 Marketing Metrics survey of businesses, the probability of engaging with an existing client via email marketing is 60-70%, whereas the probability of engaging a new prospect is 5-20%.

So let’s say you’ve decided to send email marketing to your current client database. If you’re a Demandforce customer, this process is incredibly simple. You can, through our easy-to-use online platform that syncs with your current client management system, set up messages to automatically send to certain segmented groups of clients, based on a variety of factors. Here are some examples of the email campaigns you can send through Demandforce:

  • Special promotions for products or deals
  • Newsletters
  • Appointment reminders and confirmations
  • Recommended services
  • Referral campaigns
  • Review requests
  • Social media connection requests
  • Thank you emails and client surveys

If you’re planning on sending out email campaigns, we recommend customizing them to better fit your business, and personalizing them for your clients.

Demandforce Training has the below great short video for current Demandforce customers that takes you on a visual step-by-step to this process. Or for a detailed article on the subject, head to the Demandforce Help Center here.

Customize Email Communications from Demandforce Training on Vimeo.

For more information on Demandforce, visit our website at www.demandforce.com, or call us today at (800) 220-1136 for a free, short demo.