Effective Relationship Marketing

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Strategies, tools and discussions for email and relationship marketing both online and offline.
Updated: 7 min 40 sec ago

Email Marketing is Not Dead for Dentists and Dental Practice Marketing

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 14:26

There is an awful lot of hype out there about how social networks will make email and email marketing obsolete.  As a consultant in the internet and electronic marketing worlds, as well as a consultant and advisor in the dental industry, I strongly disagree.

As the email marketing industry continues to grow, and as more and more people are looking at ways to cut marketing costs or improve their layers of contacting prospects and customers, email marketing is still a strong, growing tool across many industries.

Email marketing and the effectiveness of email marketing continues to grow in many fields, including the dental industry and here are a few reasons why:

1- Many people will continue to use email for personal reasons

2- Many younger and older people are learning to use email for the first time (and most of them have teeth)

3- Millions of people still like the control they have when filtering through emails and how they receive information

4- Millions of people do not want to be marketed to on social channels, but they are ok with receiving email newsletters, coupons and updates

5- Email has not saturated any market to my knowledge, and therefore will continue to grow as a viable communication tool

These are perhaps only a few of several valid reasons why email marketing will continue to grow as a valid option for dentists and other dental professionals to contact, reach, and market to their prospects and customer bases.  

With the growth of dental conglomerates using email marketing and other cutting edge media, direct and social marketing avenues, who usually have more money than private, solo dental practice owners, the sole dentist who is an owner-operator will continue to have to keep up and find ways to remain relevant and in touch with their prospective base and customer base.

Email marketing is one avenue where people still selectively enjoy reading newsletters and receiving special updates, coupons, and incentives at a pace they feel that they can control.

If operated with class and effectiveness, any dentist or dental office can learn to start or improve upon their own email marketing campaign if they do a few things:

1- Do not over sell

2- Use 1/3 of their email messages to teach valuable information your patients and prospects want to read

3- Use 1/3 of their email messages to relate or share a personal or relational story (let them know you are a human being with a family and a heart).

4- Use 1/3 (or less) of your email messages to promote or sell.

5- Let them respond and feel like they are an important part of your dental family and community

6- Use email marketing to open the doors for other means of connection or promotion (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, etc).

If you (as a dentist or dental professional) think through logically, why you love certain emails and hate others, you can come up with a common sense list of things you should do and things you should not do to your audience!  

You can also use surveys or polls from time to time to ask your email list what they like and what they don't like.  You can track clicks on your email marketing software as well in order to find out what subjects and messages are resonating with your list, without them knowing they are taking part in a passive poll.  These metrics can help you create more messages that your base wants to hear, thereby improving your email list retention rate and reducing your list attrition rate.  

Also, by offering value, insight, a human touch and recognition of your patient and prospect base as genuine people who do not want to be over-sold or marketed to, you can maintain a frequency and tone of messages that resonates with one of the most valued parts of your business, your patients.

Across industries, and for you, the dentist, email marketing is still a valuable tool to connect because:

1- It's faster than snail mail

2- It's relatively cheaper than other marketing channels

3- It's a great way to control the frequency and modality of your contacting efforts

4 - Many people expect to hear from most of their professional service providers at least occasionally through email

5- Your message or reach can go viral in a hurry because email is very easy for people to share with friends and family

6- You can build relationships and consistency if practiced correctly and with taste

7- It gives people an additional choice of "how" they want to connect with you

8- It allows you to send timely promotions for special dental services such as "whitening" and other add-on services that increase revenues for your dental business

And this list only begins to scratch the surface of benefits that a well planned and consistent, tasteful email marketing campaign can bring to your dental business.  It is not the only arsenal that you should use to promote your dental practice, but it should be considered as a "hub" or center of your list of marketing and connection efforts that will help center and tie in all of your other means of marketing and social reach.  Remember, that behind every email address is a person, not a dollar sign, and those persons should be considered, at least in part as your dental partners for success.  You are their partner in bringing solid oral healthcare and thus a better quality of life, and they are your partners in bringing in revenues, problems for you to solve, and a powerful word-of-mouth marketing army that can work for or against you.  It's in how you handle them that makes the difference, and their email address and inbox is no different.

Aaron Schulman has been an internet and email marketing strategist for years, serving many industries as well as the dental industry.  He currently works as a strategist and Advisory Board Member for 5th Avenue Acquisitions and Venture Capitalists who specialize in dental practice transitions.  Their seasoned dental practice brokers throughout the U.S. bring a wealth of experience and transition expertise that will ensure the best transition experience for both the buyer and the seller of any dental practice.  You can read more about them at 5thaavc.com.

10 Tested Strategies to Get More Emails Opened

Thu, 05/19/2011 - 12:19


Your email campaign (and ours) is no good if people don't open the emails:   Here are 10 tested and powerful strategies you can use and test to get more people   to open your emails. . .    One very successful direct mailing marketer in the Real Estate Industry said,    "the first hurdle is to get them to open my mail.   If they don't open it. . . I lose and they lose." (paraphrased)   Here are 10 ideas you can tailor and test for your subscriber list: ===========================================   1)  Offer free strategies inside the email if they open it.    2)  Use an alpha-numeric number followed by promised tips or strategies - for some      strange human behavior reason- people's attention is drawn to printed numbers      (like 5 tips, 7 questions you can ask, 10 tested strategies, etc.)   3)  Get this book, read it and use the ideas "How to write a Good Advertisement" by       Victor O. Schwab -
     or copy and past this link in your browser to read more http://amzn.to/l67ITz   4)  Offer a new digital product, PDF report, podcast, ebook sample, coupon.      or other digital, helpful resource just for reading the email.  Assuming you      are an expert in your field, write some beneficial, coaching reports to help      your prospects make more comfortable buying decisions.  
      * A True salesman will serve the prospect while helping him or her      make the best, most informed decision that will help his or her situation.   5)  Make sure your subscribers recognize you as the sender.  Since they opted      in for your newsletter, make sure the email "from" address is consistent      and you can test identifying your URL, newsletter name or company name      at the beginning of the subject line.   6)  Use a probing question that targets their desire.  Let's say you are selling loans.     Ask them a question to arouse the suspicion that they may not be getting the     best rate or if a new loan product has recently come to the market, ask them     if they know whether they qualify for a new product with better rates.   7)  Use a personal touch by giving your name in the subject line and in the      signature of your emails and site blog or articles.  People like to buy from      people and trust and familiarity is the name of the game.  You can also     test using their first name in the email subject line.
    Aweber's email smart auto-responder service does this automatically if      you use them for your email campaigns.  You can try them out for $1       if they still have that promotion going.      
     Try this link for more information: http://www.aweber.com/?297893   8)  If you send out a periodic newsletter at a consistent frequency- split test     adding the issue number in the subject line along with the title or teaser to     help your subscribers feel that they are in a continuity process.  People     are creatures of routine and habit - so test this one out for sure.    9)  Use the curiosity approach whenever possible.  It has been shown in decades      of scientific advertising that human curiosity is one of the most compelling motives      that causes people to take action.   Use appropriate curiosity that connects with      their desires.  For more information on approaches you can test, reading and       testing ideas is one of the best ways to get better - try Claude Hopkins timeless      books: Scientific Advertising and My Life in Advertising
     (they print both in 1 edition for about $12) 
       *** True Story:  My wife, Jen bought this book for me several years ago from Amazon,       and it has been one of the best "reads" on improving marketing and advertising       for us and clients that I have ever owned.  I was thrilled when I found out that     she could get both of these classics in 1 book for only about $12 at Amazon.      here -  http://amzn.to/jkFvIh   10)  Use a series:  In other words, give helpful lessons or reports in several installments.     If you were selling some kind of craft or "how-to" books or even the supplies that     go with your products, you could offer a 3 part series so that those who are interested     will be looking for the next installment of the lesson.          If I were doing a series on "How to build an Oak Dresser", I might have it in a series of     3 lessons like this ( I used to do a lot of wood work - so I do have some experience):    
    "How to Build an Oak Dresser: Part 1 of  3 - The supplies and prep work. . ."     "How to Build an Oak Dresser: Part 2 of  3 - How to build it (with blueprint!)"     "How to Build and Oak Dresser: Part 3 of 3- How to put the right finish coats"   11)  Bonus Item -  Try a contest approach.  You can offer a mystery prize for those     who get involved or a bonus item for the first 10 or 100 purchases - whatever makes     sense to your subscriber list and your products or services.  You can also offer more     registration entries for those who get most involved.  We had fun doing this while     building a logo and design for one of our guitar review sites.  We got a lot of great     feedback and made changes to the design from the contestants.   We also got some     very cheap insight and feedback from them as they openly shared why they liked and     disliked certain logos and color schemes. You can often give away something fun and
    inexpensive too like a gift card to Amazon or some other related online store that
    fits your subscriber interests.  You can get more information and see denominations     at Amazon.com here:  http://amzn.to/k3uBMF   What other ideas have you tried to help get subscribers to open your emails?   Let us know by replying via email, our contact form or by posting a comment below.   Also- if you found this helpful- please forward it to a friend or friends that might benefit.    Yours in online success- Aaron Schulman for AimAdvantage.com  

What can you do to discover more?

First, subscribe to our news via RSS or email below for free.

Anytime we make a new discovery or post a helpful article on:

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  • Relationship Marketing Strategies and
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Aaron Schulman for Aim Advantage        


Gas Prices are High - Effective Relationship and Email Marketing Offer

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 09:53

10 Strategic Email Relationship Marketing Pointers from a Real-Life Email Offer

I am a subscriber to several email marketing campaigns -

1) For the continuing education

2) To be informed of incentives and great deals or discounts when they come

Recently, I received this great, humorous (or not so humorous -depending on your gas price response).

Gas prices are really reaching some all-time highs, but the local municipal golf course marketers are on top of it in this latest email.

See if you can find other credible email marketing strategies in this one:

1)  First of all, I am a subscriber, so these guys are not spamming me.  Good chance I would not open the email and mark it spam if I didn't recognize the sender.

2)  Second, the subject line reads, "Cheap Rates at Mentel Memorial G.C." - Instantly recognized and instantly relevant.  Who wouldn't like cheap golf rates?

3) Next- they not only add atouch of humor, but it is highly relevant.  Humor in marketing without relevance could be distracting and a waste of effort.  Not in this one.

4) They are instantly relating to us because they are in the same boat with us with these rediculous gas prices.

5) They offer a limited time offer, but in my opinion, it would be more effective to have a publicized deadline as they tend to be more effective.  They can always come up with another clever offer around the rising costs of gas.

6)  The call to action is clear and they provide factual info about how to take action and how convenient it is to reach the course regardless of where you live around the city.



Highly Recommended Marketing, Business and Success Books

Fri, 04/29/2011 - 10:19

Can you believe that many people will spend $400-$800 per month for car payments to show some kind of "status" but will hesitate in investing $20 to $100 per month to gain 30-50 years of business wisdom from 1 highly successful author?  

For this reason, and because we were able to find these at their lowest available prices below, we have compiled some of these great classic investments so you can invest in your success.

This is a must-read list of some highly recommended direct marketing, business, and success books by proven authors that we have used to help us improve marketing strategies, copywriting, cashflow, business building and more.

Suggested Reading for Direct Marketing Books:

1) Richard V. Benson's Book is a Must Have for Direct Marketing and Mailing Genius and Tested Principles. 

You can find a copy of it here ==>  Secrets of Successful Direct Mail

2) Two pioneering classics in 1 packed book by the late, great Claude C. Hopkins (1866-1932):

Find it here ==>:  My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising (Advertising Age Classics Library) 

Throughout the early 1900's, Claude Hopkins put several large brands on the map, including Bissell Carpet Sweepers, Swift & Company, Dr. Shoop's medicine company, Goodyear, Pepsodent Toothpaste, and also pioneered ways to test markets with sampling an coupons before making larger investments with distributors.  There are countless examples of what works and what fails in these timeless classics.

David Ogilvy (another multi-million dollar copywriter-advertiser) said that, "No one should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book (Scientific Advertising) seven times. . ."

You can buy it here at the lowest price at Amazon.com:

Preview it here ==>  My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising (Advertising Age Classics Library) 

3) John Caples, Tested Advertising Methods is a must read and involves some more modern tests and results with implied advertising principles that work.

Read more about it at Amazon.com here ==> Tested Advertising Methods (Prentice Hall Business Classics)

General Business Wisdom and Wealth Principles

4) Robert Kiyosaki
is one of the best at explaining the way to true riches and the difference between high paid slaves like store owners, doctors and lawyers vs. rich business owners and investors where assets work to build wealth while you sleep.

The Cash Flow Quadrant clears up the air between true business ownership and investing and how to move from the slave side of the quadrant to the financially free side of the quadrant

Find it here==> Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom

Perhaps one of the best books at understanding how the wealthy think differently than the working class, and how to think like them is this classic "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki.  This is a series of true life lessons that Robert learned from his real dad (his poor dad who worked all of his life as a high paid but poverty thinking school administrator) and his best friend's dad (his rich dad) who owned much of the real estate in Hawaii and became one of the richest men in Hawaii with these principles.  Robert accounts his multiple millions in success to early lessons he learned from his rich dad and shares them in this book that is easy to read and understand.   Although both books are excellent, Rich Dad Poor Dad is more entertaining and is packed with as many wealth principles.  

Review it here==> Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! (Paperback)

What can you do to discover more about improving your business online?

First, subscribe to our news via RSS or email below for free.

Anytime we make a new discovery or post a helpful article on:

  • Increasing Sales Conversions
  • Increasing Targeted Traffic
  • Relationship Marketing Strategies and
  • Getting your web Social 2.0 you will receive a notice


If you are already a subscriber and would like more information, contact us here or below,

or view our list of services to discover the best options for you.

Aaron Schulman for Aim Advantage        

9 plus pointers from "Let's Pour" email newsletter - do's and don'ts. . .

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 15:46

9 (or more) do's and don'ts from a real email marketing niche newsletter

We subscribe to many different email marketing campaigns, both in our personal / hobby interest areas and in our marketing research interest areas and as we are in the business of improving our own email marketing do's and don'ts, it is neat to learn from other's do's and don'ts (and is often much easier to spot in others' campaigns than in your own, which is why we recommend always having a second and third eye editor before any message goes out- if possible)

Recently, I was sent a social invite to "Letspour.com" and have found the user interface to be very easy to understand and learn.     Letspour.com is a social site where people can share their favs for different kinds of wines and wine-food pairings, among other things.   In the most recent email newsletter we received, we will show a few great "do's and don'ts" that we picked up on from this single email:   Point #1:  Subject LineHeader and Brand continuity:     Without a good subject line, where you are recognized by your subscribers, and they are interested enough by your words to open the  email, you have already lost the battle.  The first 2 battles in getting response from your subscribers is to   1) make sure it makes it to their inbox and   2)  make the subject line appealing enough so your subscriber will open it 
  Let's Pour has a great simple header and continuity with their emails.  Clean, appealing graphics in the header with their logo helps in immediate recognition and brand continuity.   Point #2: A "do" and a "don't" all in one line:  Let's Pour has a great salutation, in that they use my name in the greeting.   It is nice to be greeted personally from a company.  In fact, you should write emails as though your were writing to an individual friend in most cases (not a crowd).     The problem is (view the inset above), it is my last name they used in the salutation, and though I do not necessarily have a problem with it, using the wrong name in the newsletter can instantly turn a small fraction of people off (even if I made the mistake and entered the registration information incorrectly).    Since I am very aware of the software types and forms that collect the information and store them in the database, it is easy for me to overlook this mistake because I have made it on more than one occasion with my own campaigns.   Point # 3:  Easy to read - with succinct points and benefits:   One thing I really appreciate about newsletters is when they can make the newsletter easy to read, concise, and visually clear.       Let's pour get's an A+ for their recent newsletter as the fonts are clean, the points are concise and offset very well so someone can browse the newsletter and key in right on what interests them most (and it is easy to follow through to the main website).   Also, look how they segment the newsletter with great bullets or headlines.  Very easy to read!     Point # 4:  Add interest and community with badges, points, contests, etc.     Let's pour receives another A+ because they keep their users interest and involvement by promoting certain behaviors with recognition and badges for contributing to the community.    
    Additionally, they have contests with real prizes (another bonus for the newsletter and keeping people involved).   Point # 5:  Giving thanks and encouraging feedback   At the end of the letter, the author thanks the subscriber and encourages feedback while giving a little "reason why" copywriting.  Telling people the real reason (or having a beneficial "reason why") can elicit a higher response rate in some campaigns, including sales.   Point # 6:  Several calls to action- user has many choices   In many direct-sales "rules of the trade", a singular call to action is best.  However, in a newsletter, the call to action can be varied and a good newsletter can service a client or visitor far better by giving the subscriber many choices.  There are times for singular calls to action and then there are times for maintaining interest by giving the subscriber many choices based off of their personal preferences at the time.  This newsletter was loaded with ways that the subscriber could take many different actions based off of individual interest and choice.   Point # 7:  Salutation has the real name of the site owner and a real physical address is at the end - makes it personal and legit   One of the biggest challenges with email marketing (or any marketing) is creating immediate trust and credibility.  One of the quickest ways to lose trust and credibility is by making it difficult or impossible to contact you, or to find your physical address, phone number or other contact information.  
   Unless it is otherwise unsafe, giving a physical address and direct contact information is one of the best ways to tell your audience that you are legit and are not going anywhere soon.  Although it is not necessary in a lot of advertising and other forms of media, when you are trying to establish and build an ongoing relationship, building trust by making it easy to contact your company is essential.   Point # 8:  This email continues to load the user up with free benefits and some p.s. teasers!   Another great way to build subscriber confidence is by giving a load of great, helpful and easy-to-read information in their interest area, and then selling the call to action or product at the end.  This newsletter gives two great "interest / involvement" calls in the "Winter Blues Giveaway" (which is relevant to the season and what many people may be struggling with at the time of the email) and a free iPhone app at the end (which is serving the user at another level - by offering a free app that helps them maintain even more interest and contact with the community).   Point # 9:  They make it clear and easy to control my own messages and profile:   My own user profile link and subscription settings are easily accessed at the end of the email (no one is trying to hide my ability to change settings or cancel my subscription if I so choose)  Giving and communicating trust to the customers is an age-old direct marketing gold nugget!  Many are in the form of 30-60-90 day no hassle return policies, but in this case, since nothing was purchased, they simply make it easy to have control of my level of involvement, even if I decide to terminate.  No one really wants spam (not in my circles), and more than that- people do not want to opt into something while being stiff-armed into continual messages while making profile and communication choices desperately difficult to find and change.   So, which of these pointers have you used successfully in your campaigns?     Which ones have you overlooked?   Which pointers elicit other creative email marketing options for your customer or subscriber base?   p.s.  If you are a foodie and / or a wine lover- hop on over to letspour.com and check it out!    

It all starts with a squeeze page

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 20:38

Did you know that 70 % or more of your online traffic comes to your site once, only to never return (for most websites)?

Did you also know there are strategies and tools that you can implement today that would turn many of these ghost visitors into relationships leading to future sales and business?

There are several tools on the market today, as well as design strategies that will greatly add to your ability to capture information from website visitors so that you have additional, permission based opportunities to market and sell your products or services to otherwise 1 visit wonders!

  • Imagine you currently get 100 daily unique visitors to your site or store
  • Statistically, 70 % on average will never return
  • Would you enjoy learning how to implement improvement tools to turn much of that 70 % into relationships that will either buy from you in the future, or refer you to friends or family who will buy?

With the right offer, you can build an opt-in form or squeeze page that is specifically designed to capture more visitor information so that you can prove to many of these human visitors that you have the solution to their problems.

How do you get started increasing your visitor capture rate?

First:  Develop a free offering strategy

Visitors who are interested in your product or services will most likely be interested in free information or value added reports that you can provide in return for their simple contact information (the less you ask for at first, the higher your opt-in rates will be in general - but this should be tested of course).  You can offer a discount, coupon for free evaluation, free valuable downloadable report, a free tool that will help them in the decision-making process, or any other thing of value that can be digital and not cost you much to produce and give away.

Second:  Set up your squeeze page or opt-in form

Make sure you set up your form using a tool that can handle their contact information, and provide an excellent follow up email, newsletter delivery service with an outstanding ISP reputation and deliverability rate, such as AWEBER email marketing.  Generally, it is good to ask for a first name and primary email address in exchange for your free tool, report, or other offering.  This will give you an opportunity to provide more value to them for simply giving their contact information, while having their invitation to show your stuff and market your services to them.

Make sure that your marketing language follows the age old formula: AIDA

Attention:  Use a headline that appropriately captures their attention and is related to their need and your product

Interest: Continue your page dialogue and make sure it peaks their interest by building upward and ratcheting the offering

Desire: Make sure to link your offering directly in a way that will satisfy their desire

Action:  Make sure your call to action is clear, simple and easy to perform.

By getting in the habit of using AIDA, your copy-writing skills will improve over time and your response rate will increase as well.

Third:  Have a solid follow through strategy

Now that you have captured their information with the right to market to them, earn their respect and trust by continuing to send value to their inbox.  Make your emails packed with solid information that continues to teach or add value to help answer questions and meet their needs.  This is your opportunity to be an authority on your products and services to this prospect.  Server them well and you will be paid well for it!

Fourth:  Have a sales strategy

Sometimes, right after your prospect has opted in, this can represent the best time to sell something of value.  This technique, sometimes called "up-selling" is a great practice if done with taste, ethics and value.  Having a sales strategy where 80% to 90 % of your messages focus on teaching and giving away valuable information, and 10% to 20% is offering products and services related to the teaching is a great range to begin testing.  Often, at this rate to begin, you prospects will remain in the database and continue to read your emails and tolerate your sales pitches until your offer hits their need at the right time and right price.  The key to building and maintaining a solid database of relationships is to continually give them value and insight in your emails and newsletters.  These deposits of value can create a positive buying atmosphere, and if you are one of the only authority figures giving away value to them, they are far more likely to buy from you than a cold ad or sales page because you have deposited value into their lives, and have developed some level of trust and rapport with them

Fifth: Always test and improve

Perhaps the most important fundamental of success, after researching and knowing your prospect, your product and your competition, is to continually test and improve your message, offer, headlines, products, etc.  Testing, tracking and improving the process will continue to help you gain an increasing ROI.  Say for example, you currently have 20 unique visitors opting into your newsletter every day, while you have 50 visitors to your site daily.  This would give you a solid 40% opt in rate.  As you test different headlines, offers, calls to action, designs, etc. and you find a change that gives you 22 opt-ins for every 50 visitors, you just increased your potential annual customer and referral base by 4%, or by 730 individuals per year without adding a single dime to your advertising budget.  

Testing and improving all aspects of your marketing and sales funnel continuously is good stewardship and will always help to improve your ROI for your lead generation or traffic dollars.

Try setting up a squeeze page with a trial offer from AWEBER today.  Their tools are very easy to use and their resources guide you through the entire process seamlessly.  If you need help, contact us.