No? Here some insights on how to grow your business through effective email marketing:
You probably already do some sort of email marketing but are you happy with your results? This WebExercises Business Minute will help you to start using email marketing to attract new patients and to engage existing ones.
Let’s start with the most important question:
Why is email marketing essential for Health Care Providers?
Email marketing is a relatively cost-effective marketing tool for all industries but seems to work exceptionally well in the health care service industry: patients seem to prefer receiving health care related information via email. According to a recent survey, email was the preferred source of information for patients of ALL age groups. (1)
Email marketing can not only be leveraged for patient acquisitions, but also for creating awareness regarding treatments or services you offeror for reactivating patients.
Apart from that, the health care service industry is among the top 5 industries when it comes to email opening rates.
What can you do to utilize email marketing effectively to build your business? Here some of the most critical steps to get you started:
Build an email list
If you want to grow your healthcare or wellness business, building an email list will probably be on your list of priorities. Having an extensive email list does not only help if you are interested in selling new or additional services such as wellness treatments or injury prevention programs but it might also come in handy if you want to retire and sell your business someday. As with all other industries, having a robust database of current or potential customers will increase the value of the business.
But how to do you build your email list? To send people emails, you need their permission, i.e., you need to make them “opt-in” to receive your newsletter, special offers or anything else. These days, many people refrain from giving away their email address. They don’t want to get spammed by ads. That’s why you must come up with something valuable enough to make them opt-in. This could be a handout, a free exercise program, or the option to sign-up for a newsletter that meets their interests.
It might be a good exercise to identify what kind of patients/clients/ customers you want to attract and what they would find valuable.
This will help you in two ways:
- You increase your chances of people opting-in and actually reading your emails.
- You can define what kind of patients and clients you want to attract.
The more you and your patients share similar interests and values, the higher the chance they will be loyal to your content and brand. For example, it is easier to create services or content for runners if you are a runner yourself.
Once you have defined your ideal patient or client and have identified what you want to offer them in return for their email address, you can start building your database. To do this efficiently, you need to set up some more things.
Many of you will already have one, but if not, try to find one that meets your needs and budget limitations. Some services are free up to a certain number of subscribers, so it might be a good idea to invest some time and play around with some.
A sound email system will also provide you with tools to sign up subscribers to your list including to sign-up forms for social media marketing or your website. The sign-up form allows you to advertise the content or newsletter (see above) that you use to encourage people to opt-in to your email list. Most services have support videos that explain how to set it up which makes it relatively easy.
Apart from signing up new contacts through social media campaigns, you can also ask existing patients if they want to be on your newsletter list.
Create strong email campaigns:
Once you have signed up a good number of users to your list, you need to create a powerful email campaign to ensure that your audience is opening and reading them.
One of the main KPIs to measure the success of your campaign is the so-called “open rate”. Benchmarks for open rates vary by industry. A recent study by Campaign Monitor shows that the average across all industries is 17.8 % while the open rate for healthcare services is as high as 19.1%.
Another critical number to look at is your click-through rate: it shows the number of people that clicked on links or images in the email. The benchmark for emails from health care service providers is around 2.7%. (2)
How do you create “powerful” campaigns?
According to Social Media and Marketing Expert Jeffrey Langmaid, the key success factors for email campaigns are as follows:
- A compelling subject line
- Engaging content
- A solid call to action
Strong headlines create a sense of urgency or speak to a topic your target group is interested in (see above). An example of a “sense of urgency” subject line could be something like “3 things you can do today to avoid neck pain” or “Understand why your posture can ruin your health” or “Don’t let your posture ruin your health.”
Also, utilize the power of the “preview text,” which is the snippet that appears in the inbox after the subject line. Ideally, it should reveal some more details of the benefits that are included in your email. Let’s say you chose the posture subject line above. The preview text could consist of something like “Understand the health risks of poor posture and learn 3 stretches that can help to minimize them”.
Content is king
When it comes to the content, try to make it as relevant as you can. Subscribers will only continue opening your email if they find something that provides them with valuable information. Studies have shown that they appreciate educational content more than sales-related content. This could include topics such as wellness tips, information on treatment options, injury prevention, etc. However, you can, of course, add special offers if they are not dominating the email. Instead, you can include your “call-to-action” into the educational content. Going back to our neck pain example, you could offer people to get an exercise program, a specific treatment, or to read your latest blog article. (3)
For more information on content marketing, please also read our blog post: “Content Marketing for Healthcare Providers.”
Measure, improve, try again
One significant advantage of email marketing is its measurability. You can easily track the success of your campaigns by tracking and comparing open- and click- rates of your campaign. Once you find out what kind of structure, headlines, or content leads to the highest open rates, you can use that as a blueprint for future campaigns. (4)
You can find various patient engagement resources in the Patient Education Section of your provider portal, that you can use as attachments or inspiration for your newsletters.
(1) Matt Carmichael: Healthcare Marketing in for Overhaul as consumer attitudes shift, 2012
(2) Ad Monitor: Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2019: By Industry & Day https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-benchmarks/
(3) Alex Greger: 5 Best Practices for email marketing in healthcare, 2018
(4) Jenilynn Hartnett: Email marketing metrics: the complete guide for marketers, 2018