Email is Still One of the Best Marketing Tools for Your Practice – Here’s How to Create the Most Effective Emails

‘Tis the season for making merry. It’s also the time for making plans — marketing plans.

Look back before moving ahead —

How will you increase business for your practice, with both new and existing patients in 2018? Part of effective marketing strategy planning is to consider what was successful over the last 12 months, and what can be done better going forward.

Email was likely one of the marketing tactics that worked well for your practice in 2017. Marketing via email is low cost, convenient, well-received by patients and easily personalized. Regardless of patient demographic, email is a primary and preferred means of communication for most.

Newer digital marketing trends like video advertising, live-streaming and voice-driven SEO are worth pursuing in 2018. However, email marketing should continue to be a go-to marketing tool for your medical practice.

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Email continues to achieve

A recent PracticeBuilders blog article on The Top 10 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2018 has this to say about email marketing —

“One of the most valuable tools available for patient engagement, email marketing is the ideal way to nurture leads and send personalized messages to your patients.”

The strength of email marketing is hard to dispute, especially when considering these points:

  • It’s estimated that the number of email users in the U.S. will reach almost 255 million by the end of 2020. (Source: Statista)
  • In a 2017 State of Email Marketing Survey of marketing influencers, 79% say that email marketing performance is increasing, with 44% describing the increase as significant. (Source: Ascend2)
  • When compared to social media and email acquisition channels, organic search nets the highest percentage of customers acquired but email is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media. (Source: McKinsey)
  • Email’s ROI is significant — it earns back roughly $25 to $38 for every $1 spent, according to the DMA and other sources. (Source: Adestra)

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  • According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your practice attract new patients. (Source: PracticeBuilders)
  • A total of 90% of marketing influencers feel email marketing achieves “above average” or even better success rates in achieving important objectives. (Source: Ascend2)

If you weren’t already sold on the power of email, we’re guessing that the above points have done the trick. But then, the question becomes — how do you make the emails you send get noticed? What can you do to increase the likelihood of opens, clicks and conversions?

Tips for doing it well

With so many email tips from reputable industry websites and online experts, deciding which advice to follow can be challenging. Ultimately, what you implement depends upon factors like budget, specific goals for the emails, email list attribute and demographic data, and whether you outsource this marketing function.

We suggest that you or your staff member responsible for digital marketing spend time reviewing which email recommendations make the most sense for your practice. To get you started on that path, we’ve put together this list of our favorite email marketing tips:

  • Responsive design is a must. Emails need to be easily read on any device.
  • Be mindful of over-sending to a list, and of cleaning up any deliverability issues as they arise so as not to cause spam and bulk mail red flags for future emails.

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We also like the below no-nonsense tip list. It’s from marketing and advertising agency, Healthcare Success, and you can find it in original form in their blog, 13 Success Tips of an Email Marketing Ninja.

Live or die by the first four words. Concentrate on the email subject line. Without a compelling and motivating subject, the email will never be opened and your message is DOA.

Get to the point instantly. Your reader doesn’t plan to stay long, so don’t keep him or her waiting or guessing about the topic.

If it’s not relevant it’s of no interest. Create content that resonates with the wants, needs and interests of the audience. There must be a reason to care. (See also: personalization.)

Your point will always deliver a strong benefit. No disrespect intended, but people think of themselves first. They need to find the value early. Great value inspires a great response.

Wrap the message in urgency. Provide a deadline, expiration or a reason to act now.

Leave no doubt about what’s next. Be clear and direct about what the reader should do. Have a single call-to-action that’s obvious and easy to use.

Work on your list as much as your message. Digital email lists—even opt-in/permission-based lists—can change overnight. Keep your list current and accurate. Identify recipients by needs, interests and criteria or ability to personalize the message. Clean your list; focus on quality above quantity.

Be personal, friendly and familiar. Email is a means to maintain a relationship and remain top of mind with an audience. Write as if speaking with a friend; use the familiar term “you,” and personalize the greeting and content.

Small screen first. Many if not most email is seen first on a mobile—small screen—device. Consider how to communicate the message via smartphone.

Is there a place for video? Audiences like and respond to video content, and that increases open and click-through rates in email. Video doesn’t fit every situation, but there are many times when it can greatly enhance results.

Streamline the appearance. Heavy-handed graphics, images and design techniques are distracting at best. Present a professional look and feel, without appearing retail or commercial.

Automate and personalize. Consider how software tools can avoid “one-blast-fits-all.” Design a distribution routine that considers individual needs and interests. Personalize and vary the message, use retargeting when appropriate, follow-up and follow-through.

Monitor these two critical metrics. Watch your UNIQUE OPEN RATE number as an indication of subject line effectiveness. And CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR) records clicks via the call-to-action and other measure points.

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The takeaway

Cost effective with high ROI? Definitely.

Current (as in smart, automated, personalized, targeted, responsive, the list goes on)? You bet.

Comfortable means of communicating and connecting with every generation? Yes.

Convenient for administrative and practice update communication? Check.

Convinced that email is one of the most effective, foundational marketing tools you can use to build your practice’s business? You should be!

Bottom line, when thinking about marketing strategy for the coming year, email deserves one of the top spots on your initiatives priority list. But, don’t simply do what you’ve always done when it comes to email. Read up on the most relevant tips like those we’ve and take your emails to the next level of success.

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