Think email marketing isn’t an effective way to connect with patients? Think again. The number of active email accounts worldwide has soared from 4.1 billion in 2014 to an expected 5.6 billion by the end of 2019, according to Statista. Furthermore, consumers spend an average of 2.5 hours checking personal email each weekday, according to the Adobe 2018 Consumer Email Survey.
When properly executed, email is a valuable component of a healthcare marketing strategy. Read on for 10 healthcare email marketing best practices so you can effectively reach patients.
1. Say no to spam
On average, 24.16 percent of emails are delivered to spam folders on a monthly basis, according to a study of 55 organizations conducted by EveryAction. Unfortunately, your healthcare marketing emails can land in spam folders, even if patients signed up to receive them.
A few tips to bypass the spam filter include:
- Avoiding spam words and phrases such as “100% free,” “best price,” “promise,” and “save.”
- Building your own email list instead of working with an outside party.
- Properly authenticating your emails, so inbox providers know you’re legitimate.
- Cleaning up your email list on a regular basis because ignored emails lower your engagement rate, jeopardizing your standing with internet service providers.
- Including a double opt-in because patients who want to be subscribed will boost your engagement and delivery rates.
- Creating a preference center, where patients can decide what type of content they want to receive from you and how often.
2. Hit the right frequency
The most preferred mode by far, 50 percent of people prefer to communicate with brands by email, according to the Adobe survey. However, 45 percent said sending emails too often is the number one reason they unsubscribe from mailing lists.
You don’t want to overload inboxes, but reaching out too infrequently can also hurt your cause. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula, so take the time to figure out what works for your healthcare practice.
More than just a way to avoid spam, including a preference center — as noted above — is an easy way to ensure patients receive an optimal amount of emails.
3. Use segmenting
More than one-quarter of people (27 percent) want emails personalized to their interests, according to the Adobe survey. Every email campaign you create won’t apply to every patient on your list, so use segmenting to tailor messages to the correct audience.
For example, a dentist might send emails that include a discount on Zoom! teeth whitening to patients who have used at-home whitening strips, because the dentist knows these patients want whiter teeth but might be reluctant to pay high prices. The dentist wouldn’t send the discount to patients who have recently undergone Zoom! teeth whitening because these patients are willing to pay full price for the service.
Keeping patients informed on topics they’re interested in will boost your engagement rates.
4. Create different types of campaigns
Email marketing can take many different forms. An email campaign can provide educational messaging (i.e. summer skincare tips), promotional messaging (i.e. six Botox sessions for the price of five), seasonal greetings (i.e. Happy New Year!), or even be in the form of a monthly newsletter.
Serving up different types of content will engage and inform patients, keeping them interested in your emails.
5. Monitor the metrics
Patients might receive your emails, but that doesn’t mean they’re reading them. In fact, medical, dental, and healthcare emails have a 21.09 percent open rate and a 2.25 percent click rate, according to MailChimp.
Carefully monitoring key metrics like open rate, click rate, and bounce rate will allow you to know what’s working and what isn’t. After reviewing, you’ll be able to adjust your message accordingly.
6. Write an engaging subject line
The number of emails sent per day is expected to rise from 269 billion in 2017 to 347.3 billion in 2023, according to Statista. Clearly, your patients’ inboxes are filled with emails, so your subject line needs to stand out.
PatientPop advises keeping your subject line short, including your practice name, and avoiding “reminder” language (i.e. Remember to schedule your annual appointment).
7. Don’t forget to proofread
Plenty of factors go into a successful healthcare email marketing campaign, but none are as important as content. Spelling errors and poor grammar reflect poorly on your practice and make it hard for patients to take the message seriously.
Email content should be proofread by the person who wrote it, but don’t stop there. At least one other set of eyes needs to review it because it can be difficult for the author to spot mistakes since they’re so close to the content.
8. Include a call-to-action (CTA)
Nearly one-third of marketers (30 percent) cite email marketing and marketing automation as the digital marketing channel with the highest return on investment (ROI), according to Statista. Take advantage of this by crafting email content that incites patients to take action.
PatientPop recommends including call-to-action buttons such as “Book Online” or “Schedule Appointment.”
9. Time it right
In life and in email marketing, timing is everything. You could send the most engaging email patients will receive all day, but if it arrives in their inbox at the wrong time, it might not resonate.
Customarily, the best times to send emails are Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 2 p.m., according to PatientPop. Try sending your emails at these times and then check your open rates and click rates. Then, experiment with sending your emails at other times on other days to see how opens and clicks compare.
10. Get to the point
Your patients are busy people, so they don’t have time to read an email manifesto. Consequently, PatientPop advises keeping emails short and sweet.
Short messages are also better for mobile. This is hugely important, considering 55 percent of email is opened on mobile devices, according to a study conducted by Return Path.
When properly executed, email marketing in healthcare is an effective way to keep in touch with patients and entice them to return to your practice — whether for checkups or other services.
Want more help getting started with healthcare email marketing? Check out our blog post “Email marketing: the ‘old-school’ practice growth tactic with a 3,700% ROI.”