- 2 Minute Read -

Dentists don’t go to dental school to become marketers. And yet, far too many dentists still manage, or micromanage, their marketing.

A recent finding is that 35 percent of people who receive email decide whether to open an email based on the subject line. Think about that for a moment. Your email content might be incredibly important and useful. But over one-third of your patients and prospects won’t open open the email unless you “hook” them with the subject line.

If your email campaigns aren’t getting the kind of response you need, the first place to look is at your email subject lines.

Segment, Intrigue, Motivate

One of the ways in which dentists go wrong with their email marketing is by sending out “one size fits all” emails. Your audience has specific dental concerns and needs. Your emails have to speak to those concerns, because few people will open an email if the subject line doesn’t speak to their needs.

That’s why segmentation of your audience is crucial for email success.

Depending on your type of dental practice, you could segment your email recipients along these lines:

  • Dental hygiene and/or gum disease
  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Tooth replacement
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Pediatric dentistry

Once you’ve decided on how you’re going to segment your audience, it’s time to put on your creative writing hat. Your subject line has to intrigue your recipients without “giving away the store.” In other words, you have to find the short phrase that will lead them to want to read more.

Let’s Get Specific

Say you’re writing to people needing fairly minor orthodontic treatment, the type of corrections that can be handled by clear aligners. You have three options in subject lines. The first speaks to the emotional pain of crooked or misaligned teeth. The second speaks to benefits of orthodontic treatment – the reward. And the third option combines some aspects of the first two – problem and reward.

An example of the first type of subject line might be, “Are crooked teeth holding you back?” Another is, “Need straight teeth but hate the thought of braces?” Both of those subject lines identify the problem and speak to the discomfort or embarrassment that your recipients may be feeling.

Notice that posing a question in the subject line can be a good way to intrigue your audience about the content of the email.

The second type of subject line, the reward, falls along these lines: “Get straight teeth in just six months!” There are two rewards implicit in this subject line – straight teeth, and a much shorter time to results.

And an example of the third type of subject line is, “Straighten your smile without embarrassment!” This example has the reward first and the pain aspect second.

Just a Starting Point

Your choices in email subject lines will be driven by what you want to promote in your practice; by your understanding of the needs of each email segment; and by your market demographics. You can use these ideas to begin carefully segmenting and speaking to your prospect in your emails, and enjoy higher open rates.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.