If you have ever wondered if email marketing is vital to the success of your healthcare practice, read on.
In a 2017 survey conducted by Econsultancy in partnership with Adestra, 73% of 1,200 marketers still deem email marketing to be an excellent deliverer of return on investment with SEO coming close at 72% and content marketing at 63%.
In fact, 22% of sales were derived from email marketing. And it just so happens that companies tend to invest only 15% of their marketing budget to this outlet.
Doesn’t that sound counterintuitive to you?
This gives you all the more reason to make email marketing part of your healthcare marketing channels.
So, we prepared for you these step-by-step guidelines on how to create an email marketing strategy for your practice.
Guidelines on How to Create an Email & Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Practice
1. Form a team
Recent trends have shown how email marketing has shifted from an individual’s responsibility to a team effort and form part of a more comprehensive Digital Marketing strategy. This is due to more user-friendly and integrated platforms.
Forming a marketing team, who would integrate email marketing as part of the overall strategy, is your first step to plan and execute a campaign.
2. Build your Mailing & Lead Generation list
This is the foundation of email health marketing. Without email addresses, you won’t have recipients for your emails, no matter how well you craft your email.
How do you gather email addresses?
In our previous blog, we discussed seven ways to attract subscribers using landing pages. You can also get email subscribers through social media marketing campaigns.
But did you know that your new and existing patients are easy sources of email addresses?
Typically, you register your patients before they see you. So why not include their email addresses as part of the contact information you gather from them? Include a signature line to indicate their willingness to receive email communications, email newsletters, marketing, and promotional materials in their emails.
Getting their consent should be your top priority when you build your mailing list. This ensures that the patients know what they signed up for. This will eventually result in better open rates and lower bounce rates.
What’s the use of having tons of email addresses when most will unsubscribe or not open your emails anyway? So notify them that your emails are not limited to transactional emails alone like password resets, appointment confirmations, or sending receipts. Let them know that you’ll also be using it for email marketing.
And in the healthcare industry, you can extend the use of their email addresses to:
- send updates and health trends related to patient’s condition
- remind about annual preventive exams and appointment links
- share tips and strategies to manage health conditions
3. Know your target audience, that is, your patient profile
This strategy is called segmentation.
You can use basic segmentation such as patient demographics to identify the audience who will be more likely to open your email based on topic significance. For example, sending out information about cataract and cataract surgery will more likely appeal to your elderly population than young parents of infants and toddlers.
Sometimes, your patients already form a specific segment of the overall patient population based on your specialty. If most of them are elderly, you can track those who open their emails daily and those that don’t.
Advanced segmentation will make use of email marketing strategies that will target specific behaviors and adapt topics based on these observed behaviors. Employing targeted marketing or targeted communication strategies in your email marketing campaigns will improve your metrics.
4. Don’t overdo it
Don’t send emails just for the sake of meeting your numbers. Make sure you have content that adds value to your patients’ health and wellness.
Health and wellness tips that are focused and customized to their care are more effective emails than some generic emails that only serve to clutter their inboxes. This is where great content matters.
5. Analyze your data
What metrics do you use to measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign? Many marketers are left in the dark about their email marketing performance. You shouldn’t be.
What metrics do savvy marketers use?
According to the survey mentioned above, they use the following metrics in the following order of preference:
About 91% of marketers measure the effectiveness of their email marketing campaign using click-through rates. You can do the same. Typically, click-through rates monitor the number of people who click on your ads.
You can also embed links in your emails that will invite your readers to visit your website for more information. This is called a call-to-action button. You’ll find out how many of your readers, who opened the email, clicked on the link within the email.
Another way to analyze the success of your email marketing campaign is the open rate. About 80% of marketers use this metric. Most emails are left unopened when these fail to hook your readers with your subject lines.
How do you write subject lines that catch the eyes of your readers?
Read our blog on The Good and Bad Email Subject Lines to have some general ideas of subject lines that you should use and avoid.
In my book, Content First Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Building Authority, Establishing Trust, and Creating Lifetime Customers, I went in-depth on discussing headlines that sell. I also included 36 templates you can use to craft a winning headline. Get your FREE copy of this book.
Here’s a useful rule of thumb. Your subject line should hint at a solution to your reader’s problem, and that solution is something better than what they have tried before. This is basically the anatomy of a great subject line.
The promise that you make will cause the reader to click and read. A word of caution. Keep your promise and honestly deliver so you’ll gain their trust and not ignore your email the second time around.
You should set up tracking URLs to see how many of your readers clicked on your link and then acted on a call-to-action button. This means you’ve converted a reader or prospect to a client or patient.
For instance, you may have sent out an email about the importance of regularly monitoring the HbA1C levels of your diabetic patients. This helps in knowing whether their lifestyle is doing great for their blood sugar and how this prevents the complications of renal failure leading to dialysis.
At the end, you may add a button that leads them your website to read more about the topic. And in that page, you may have a call-to-action button to schedule their appointment and get this done. When your email leads your patient to act on their condition, you’ve converted them. And yes, helped them become your partners in healthcare.
There are two types of bounce rates:
Hard bounces are those that come from invalid email addresses, which will result in permanent errors. Once you receive this kind of error, contact the patient for an updated email address. There could just have been a misspelled letter.
Soft bounces, on the other hand, are temporary but will give you clues about your recipients’ behavior. For instance, a full inbox will give a soft bounce. This can either mean a stagnant email address that the person uses for consumer-related emails or the owner of the email address rarely opens and reads her emails.
Your email may have also been marked as spam. Is this a sign that you’re sending more emails than valued or appreciated by your patients? You can improve your bounce rates by filtering patient preferences when it comes to what kind of emails they appreciate or want to read in their inboxes.
In place of the bounce rate, you can monitor the delivery rate instead. If your email didn’t bounce, it simply means it got delivered to the right recipient. Typically, you’d want a 90% delivery rate. Otherwise, you need some serious cleaning of your email list.
But take note that delivery rate doesn’t necessarily mean your recipient opened your email. It simply means it got to his inbox. It can be left unopened and ignored or deleted with nary a glance.
List growth rate
Make sure your list is growing every year. This means you are acquiring new contacts in your mailing list more than you are deleting stagnant email addresses. Review #2 above on how to build your mailing list.
6. Ensure mobile device optimization
In recent years, marketers realize that even email marketing campaigns should be optimized for mobile device use. This showed in a 14% increase in using mobile device optimization as a tactic in their email marketing. You should not allow a limited budget to hamper mobile device optimization.
Use the following tactics:
- Increase your default font size
- Manage your lay-out to form one column only
- Send simple, short, and sweet contents with attractive images
- Opt for responsive platforms
7. Personalize Email & Digital Marketing responses
Whereas in the past, automated campaigns were the priority for 27% of these marketers when they set up emails, recent years show the surge of interest and focus on true personalization.
Let’s admit it. Not everyone would like to receive daily emails. Some prefer monthly newsletters. Others would like to subscribe to health tips but not to promos. It remains a challenge for marketers to personalize emails according to preferences and customer behaviors.
But every detail helps, such as sending an email using a patient’s name rather than a generic “Dear Friends.” That forms part of basic personalization. You can go beyond using names in your salutation to personalize your email campaign by using basic and advanced segmentation techniques and adjusting your contents accordingly.
Data integration remains to be the biggest challenge to personalization and is a cause of frustration to most marketers.
8. Cleanse your list regularly
Updating your mailing list will ensure that you get more valid results for your data analytics. You may be sending emails to email addresses that no longer exist or remain unopened for years. These hard bounces will add to your bounce rate. Make sure that your patients update their email addresses each time they visit you.
9. Add share buttons for easy sharing on social media
Share buttons will quickly expand your reach even to those people who aren’t on your mailing list. It only takes a click, and your reader’s indirect referral can draw another potential patient to your practice.
10. Reuse your website’s blogs and vlogs for your email newsletters
The best way to bring your patients to visit your website is to send out regular newsletters highlighting those blogs and vlogs in a summary email. Once you’ve hooked them with catchy lead paragraphs, they’ll click on the “Read More” button and bring that traffic to boost your Google ranking.
11. Invest in Digital Marketing automation
Email marketers now concentrate their investment in marketing automation. In fact, 66% cited that this is something that an email technology provider should have.
At Content First Marketing, we use a software called InfusionSoft to take care of marketing automation. The advantage of marketing automation is that it increases your marketing efficiency. We can automate your marketing campaigns using email, social media, and your website. Using this technology to augment your marketing campaign will ensure a better return on your investment.
What a wasted opportunity if you don’t have engaging welcome emails for those who signed up on your websites. Email autoresponders are great ways of using marketing automation to boost your healthcare marketing.
If all of these email marketing strategies sound too technical for you, reach out to us here for a free review and leave the digital marketing of your practice to us. This way, you can focus on caring for your patients.
Econsultancy in association with Adestra. Email Marketing Industry Census 2017. Accessed 19 Aug 2019.
Arnott J. Content First Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Building Authority, Establishing Trust, and Creating Lifetime Customers. Performance Publishing Group, McKinney, TX. 2014.