5 Do’s (And 6 Don’ts) of Healthcare Email Marketing
“Email marketing is dead.” We’ve heard that a lot. But is it really? Points Group is here to tell you that email marketing is alive and well, and it can give your practice the boost it needs to attract new patients and cut down on churn. We’re all about evidence-based practices around here, and the statistics don’t lie:
- Email generates a 4,200 percent return on investment. For every dollar you spend, you get 42 back.
- There are over 4 billion email users worldwide (that’s even more than Facebook users), and that number is expected to keep growing. Over 300 billion emails are sent daily – 306 billion to be exact. This number is expected to reach 361 billion by the end of 2024.
- 21 percent of emails are opened within the first hour of delivery.
If you’re not using email marketing, you are leaving money on the table. But email marketing can be tricky, especially for healthcare providers. Not only must you contend with FTC regulations and anti-spam processes, but you also must be mindful of HIPAA violations.
Not to worry. Following these simple do’s—and avoiding the don’ts—will give you a leg up over practices that neglect email marketing entirely or do it poorly.
Email Marketing Do’s
1. Do Use a Preheader – A preheader in an email is the text directly below the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. It appears in desktop and mobile views. Preheader text is valuable because it offers a second chance to capture the reader’s attention to entice them to open the email.
2. Do Use Automated Campaigns – Automated campaigns are emails that send to your list of contacts on an automated basis. Automated campaigns include:
- Appointment reminders
- Schedule/change/cancel appointment
- Happy birthday emails
- Notification of a new blog post on your site
- Welcome series (for new patients)
- Asking for a review
…and more. Automated campaigns help you stay engaged with your audience and have a 70.5 percent higher open rate and 152 percent higher clickthrough rate than non-automated emails.
3. Do Include a Call To Action – A call to action, or CTA, is copy that “calls” on your audience to take a specific action. For example, “Learn More,” “Call Now,” or “Schedule an Appointment.” The call to action links to a landing page on your website with relevant content to what your audience needs to do. Calls to action increase the likelihood of conversions.
4. Do Segment Your List – Segmentation is one of the cornerstones of direct marketing. Different people need different messaging, just like different patients need different treatments. You probably wouldn’t suggest a knee replacement to an active 30-something with a meniscus tear; so, why would you use the same messaging for that active 30-something as you would for a 65-year-old with type 2 diabetes and heart failure? Segmenting your list ensures your message reaches those who will benefit from it the most.
5. Do Test Your List Using A/B Testing – Because email marketing is so inexpensive, it’s also easy to test. Approach it scientifically: make one email the control and then test one variable at a time. Then, you’ll send them both out to different samples of your list to find the most effective combination. That’s A/B testing. You can test subject lines, copy, images, calls to action, different messages to different lists. Go crazy.
Email Marketing Don’ts
1. Don’t Mail to Prospects Who Haven’t Opted In — There’s a name for this. Can you guess what it is? We’ll give you a hint: it’s also a popular (debatable) meat-based (also debatable) product. That’s right … it’s spam. Mailing to people who don’t want to be mailed to is a surefire way to get your domain flagged, kill your delivery rate and decrease the effectiveness of future campaigns, not to mention alienate the very people you’re trying to attract. Rule of thumb: if they haven’t told you they want it, don’t send it.
2. Don’t Just Collect Email Addresses At The Office — Another way to acquire email addresses is via your website. A sign-up form can be created within the footer of a website that captures email addresses. Not only will this strategic placement not interrupt the website experience but it allows people to opt-in without any extra work on your end! A person simply signs up and is automatically added to your email list.
3. Don’t Forget About Mobile Users — You may know how important mobile-responsive websites are, and you may even know that Google looks at the mobile version of your website first. You should also know that nearly half—53 percent—of emails are opened on a mobile device. Think of the folks reading your emails on their phones and design with them in mind. Text should be short, images should be well-chosen and well-optimized, and be sure to view a test email on your phone before you send it to your list.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Subject Lines — Your subject line may be the most important part of your email. A poor subject line will get your email filed in trash or spam. First, test your subject line; CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is a Points Group favorite.
5. Don’t Put Your Recipient’s Name Right in the Subject — This is easy to do with automation software (you are using automation software, right? See the second “do” above). And, keep it brief. Marketo sent 700,000 emails to determine the best subject line length, and found that seven-word lines had the most engagement. Try to keep your subject lines under 50 characters.
6. Don’t Leave Your Social Media Followers Hanging — We know your Facebook and Instagram followers already want to hear from you. Why not give them an opportunity to join your email list as well? A sign-up form can be embedded directly onto your Facebook page as another tab via various free third-party apps. Another option is to create a landing page link with the signup form that can easily be added right to your social media platform.
Armed with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to patients’ and potential patients’ inboxes. But what do you send? Try these six emails every practice should send. And if you’d like to take a hands-off approach, reach out to Points and let us handle your email campaigns.