December 02, 2014
Case Study

Email Marketing: Monthly client-focused newsletter nets 37% open rate for dental technology company

SUMMARY: Having a growing company with more clients is great for business, but how can you keep that down-to-earth, friendly communication when your client list keeps expanding?

Medix Dental adopted a monthly client and prospect newsletter with the goal of keeping the brand top-of-mind as well as to show its appreciation for clients. See how the team discovered what content resonated and engaged with its audience the most and how the team achieved an open rate more than 10% higher than the professional services industry average.
by Erin Hogg, Reporter


Medix Dental, an IT company providing technology solutions for dental offices, was growing fast. Aiming to be a one-stop-shop for all technology help and support, Medix Dental offers computers, networks, servers as well as HIPAA compliant software solutions, email encryption and data backup.

As a B2B, the company sought out to maintain a friendly, down-to-earth relationship with clients alongside the company’s growth. Laura Simmons, Client Communications Manager, Medix Dental, was brought onboard in October 2013 to manage messaging, including email marketing, with clients.

"One of the ways we decided to do that was through a newsletter where we could let them (clients) know what's going on in the industry, but also keep it really fun and friendly, to maintain that spirit with them," Simmons said.

Previous efforts were made to establish a regular newsletter in the past, but the send times were irregular and not every month. There was no full commitment to the newsletter, and no one to handle composing it every month.


Right off the bat, Simmons began in November 2013 producing a monthly newsletter, which would be sent to clients as well as other subscribers who signed up to receive the newsletter.

In keeping that friendly, personable tone with Medix Dental clients, Simmons' main goal was client retention and brand awareness.

"It just keeps us on top of their minds," Simmons said. She added that another goal was "then also increase transparency with clients, let them know what we're up to, what's going on in the industry and then any other news or industry knowledge we can share with them."

All of Medix Dental's clients are automatically enrolled upon working with the company, and the newsletter sign-up is advertised on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Currently, the team is working on a website redesign, and a way to sign up through that channel will soon be available. Anyone in the dental industry is targeted for the newsletter, primarily dentists.

Step #1. Research email content

In each monthly newsletter send, called the Monthly Byte, Simmons is charged with researching content to infuse into each send.

One of the main elements of the send is industry news that Simmons determines relevant for Medix Dental's subscribers.

One month, for example, featured an article on the Heartbleed security bug, which was included as it was a hot topic both in the news and for the dental technology industry.

Other times, Simmons explained topics included in the Monthly Byte may arise from conversations with clients.

For example, "the tech ROI article, that was really based on kind of some of the conversations we were having with clients. If somebody has a question, probably others do, too," she added.

The key in choosing content for Simmons is to keep their readership in mind and providing content that will resonate with them.

Step #2. Create emails

Once Simmons researches what industry-focused article would be best for that newsletter, she also fills it with other content relating to the Medix Dental brand.

"We always try to feature something Medix-focused, so whether it be pictures of us, what we did over the past months or different things that we've been involved in," Simmons said, adding this content is to show clients what the team has been up to.

The newsletter also provides some marketing advice as well, designed to help dentists at their own practices with their marketing efforts.

This advice ranges from understanding how to leverage PPC advertising to making sure practices listings online are accurate the up to date.

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An element the newsletter always includes is a featured employee to drive home that down-to-earth client and company relationship.

Alongside industry content, Medix Dental newsletters also includes a section called "The Uncrowning," which features a celebrity and a teeth-related fun fact.

Toward the bottom of each newsletter, Simmons includes a promotion for Medix's products.

Once Simmons has written and developed all the content in the newsletter, she seeks approval from the CEO of the company and sends it to the list.

Step #3. Implement giveaways

One element the team added to the newsletter to show more appreciation and engage with clients was a giveaway.

In June 2014, they planned a giveaway where a dental office could enter to win a summer barbeque hosted by the Medix Dental team. To enter to win, the subscriber had to like Medix Dental on Facebook and answer one question — "If you could upgrade/purchase any item in your practice for free, what would it be?" — to be entered to win.

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It provided the winning practice with the opportunity to enjoy a nice afternoon with food and games as well as a way to build a relationship with the Medix Dental team.

The team even earned some referrals from that event alone.

"We find that it gets people really excited, and even more excited to open our newsletter, and see, you know if we're potentially doing that again," Simmons said.

Step #4. Test and refine

Over the past year of creating the Monthly Byte newsletters, the team has learned what works — and what doesn't — through feedback and data from the sends.

In the beginning, the monthly Medix Dental send contained more promotions and information about the various product offerings. Seeing low engagement with these sections, Simmons and the team determined their subscribers wanted something more than a "big advertisement" and cut these promotions down in later iterations.

Another change Simmons made to the email send was making them more image heavy rather than relying on text. Medix Dental employs responsive design as well, so the images render correctly on mobile.

The highest clickthrough rates Simmons has seen in the monthly newsletter has been for content, including Facebook photo albums or a press release.

"For example, this newsletter we just sent out shows an event photo album link and then a press release, and we've just been getting huge clickthrough rates on those" Simmons said, adding that the employee feature also sees high engagement.

Simmons explained that overall, Medix Dental does not view these Monthly Byte newsletters in terms of meeting goals for clickthroughs. The main goal is to have clients reading the content and for Medix Dental to stay top-of-mind for their clients.

"If they see a couple pictures of us at an event and they think it serves as goodwill for us, then we really achieved our goal. We don't get too focused on high clickthrough rates, and we're not trying to push all the content on everybody," she said.


Since implementing the Monthly Byte newsletter, the team has doubled its recipient list through offering the newsletter sign-up via social media, particularly through LinkedIn.

Medix Dental has also achieved an open rate more than 10% higher than the professional services industry average of 21.72% — its open rate average is 36.9%.

Clickthrough rates are also three times higher than the industry average as well — 10% compared to the industry average of 3.21%.

From feedback from clients as well as testing elements in the newsletter, the team has found subscribers appreciate the conversational tone of the newsletters as well as the infused humor, rather than "a very text-focused and corporate type of tone," keeping Medix Dental top of mind.

"The biggest compliment I can get is when a client said that they enjoy reading them or they can't wait to receive our next one or, 'Hey, we saw your album from your newsletter. That was really cool,'" she explained.

Simmons' advice for other companies looking to stand out in the crowded space of advertisements, which are all bombarding prospects with sales and promotions, is to keep a personable tone with clients.

"I feel when you're talking to your clients, you want them to feel like you're talking to them, not announcing to them or trying to sell to them," she said.

In the near future, Medix Dental will be revamping the company website and looking to leverage video content to share with clients. This will include a company video as well as videos on technology and support, along with helpful tutorials to position Medix Dental as leaders in the space with tons of knowledge to share.

"A lot of people will say, 'Why would you put your industry knowledge up on the Internet for other people to get for free?' And our viewpoint is we want to show that we're really knowledgeable, and we're not trying to hide secrets," Simmons said.

"We're very transparent and open with our clients, and we're here to help them, and we think that using that approach when somebody has a technology need, we'll be the first person that they think of to go to," she added.

Creative Samples

  1. LinkedIn sign-up

  2. Tech ROI article

  3. Monthly Byte newsletter

  4. Marketing Mouthoff

  5. Medix Dental promo

  6. Summer giveaway


Medix Dental

Related Resources

Industry Email Marketing Benchmarks — Research via MailChimp

Email Summit 2015 — Get the latest in industry trends and research on email marketing at #SherpaEmail, Feb. 23-26, 2015

Email Marketing: Weekly newsletter sees 400% lift in reactivation of inactive subscribers with personalization

Content Marketing: Optimizing the newsletter offering for CNET

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