One of the best ways to continue contact with your inactive patients is by email. It allows you to stay in touch without patients feeling like they are being “scolded” for missing an appointment or embarrassed to call the office after so long. Not to mention, it’s cost effective and a great marketing tool!
In addition to sending seasonal greetings and newsletters, you should send targeted email campaigns to overdue patients. It shows you care and want to accommodate them. Often, you can craft your email to include a specific message that addresses why they are skipping appointments.
The perfect reactivation email makes patients feel like you are talking directly to them. It will encourage them to come in because you reached out in a caring, thoughtful way.
Related: Your Guide to the Recall Manager
Continue to send reactivation emails every three to six months, even if it’s been a year or more since their last visit. They will seek dental care at some point and this will help ensure it’s from you!
- Speak to your patients.
Your message should be personal and personable. Get to the root of the reason they are skipping appointments. Perhaps their dental insurance is expired. If you offer flexible payment plans, share this information in the email. Maybe they work 9 to 5 and don’t have time to come in during the week. Are you open on Saturdays or late hours? Make sure they know!
- Keep them coming.
We told you to address common reasons that might be preventing your patients from coming in. However, if the email is too long, they will overlook it. A good strategy is to focus on one concern per email instead of listing several reasons. Space it out over multiple attempts to get in touch with your inactive patients. You might choose to reach out 3 months past due, at 6 months past due and again at 9 months past due. We recommend reaching out every three to six months until an appointment is on the schedule. Cite different reasons for each reach out attempt. Stress the importance of dental cleanings and checkups for overall health.
- Share any offers.
If you have any promotional offers going on, share the special news via email with your inactive patient list. You might even consider creating a promotion specifically for overdue patients. Some ideas are to offer a free take-home whitening kit or a new electric toothbrush. There’s a good chance they will need other work done if they haven’t been in a while. Make it a limited time special to encourage them to take immediate action.
- Be specific and provide options.
Explain exactly what you want your patients to do in the email and how to do it. Most likely, you are asking them to schedule an appointment (or take advantage of a great offer, etc.) Tell them to call, email or text to schedule now and provide the corresponding method of contact. Allow them to respond directly to the email to request an appointment time. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly so that tapping on your phone number prompts their phone to instantly dial or open up a text message.
- Make it easy (always KEY)!
Your office might not be open when it’s the most convenient time for a patient to contact you. You want to eliminate as many barriers as possible. They are already making excuses not to come in so don’t give them an easy way out. Make sure you have a method where they can request an appointment time even if your office is closed. YAPI allows patients to choose a preferred appointment time from a calendar on your website. The scheduling coordinator can respond to their request as soon as they see it. This is great because it allows patients to do their part when it’s most suitable for them. Once they request an appointment time, your scheduling coordinator can get in touch to confirm or to find a second-best time if needed.
Now that you are familiar with the main components that comprise an effective reactivation email, check out these sample templates to get you started.
Three-month past-due reactivation email template:
Six-month past-due reactivation email template:
12-month past-due reactivation email template:
If you don’t receive an immediate response from your patients, that is not an indication to remove them from your system. Never inactive patients just because it’s been 12, 18 or 24 months since their last visit. Keep reaching out!
Statistics show that only 50% of all people visit the dentist regularly. Your patients might not be ready to return now but might need to see a dentist soon. Your email campaigns will keep you at the top of their mind. When they do seek a dentist in the future, you’ll be the first practice they call.