Email marketing for doctors can engage and retain your current patient base

Email Marketing for Doctors: Tips and Best Practices

While good marketing plans must be robust — with many campaigns and strategies — email marketing for doctors remains one of the most important ways to attract and retain patients.

That’s because of all the kinds of marketing for doctors, email marketing offers one of the best returns on investment. When done correctly, you’ll be able to send emails to strengthen relationships with your existing patients while connecting with new ones. It can be more effective than social media campaigns, pay-per-click ads, and other marketing strategies for doctors.

The key to success is learning and implementing best practices used by marketing professionals. Start by carving out time in your schedule to create a plan with a timeline that you can reference for the next quarter or two. By thinking ahead, you’ll make it easier to find success using effective email marketing strategies. 

The Benefits of Email Marketing for Doctors

Doctors’ offices are busy places, and no one has time to work on a marketing campaign that isn’t going to be effective. Recognizing the benefits of email marketing for doctors will motivate you and other decision-makers in your office to make the necessary efforts to see results.

Provides a Method of Communication With Patients

It doesn’t matter what kind of doctor’s office or medical facility it is: A common complaint among patients is the lack of time they have to communicate with the medical team. And that frustration goes both ways. Tight schedules don’t always provide the valuable time needed to share what’s going on in your practice with your patients. Email marketing can help.

When you send emails directly to your patients, you are creating a method of communication that allows you to share important information and help them feel supported in their health journey. Simply by sending emails, you’re helping create a meaningful relationship between your practice  and your patients.

Contributes to Your Business Reputation

You know that the doctors in your office are experts in their field, and your medical assistants also know so much. When you share this knowledge, you position yourself as industry leaders and natural choices for patients looking for care. You can share this by writing monthly blogs on services your office provides or sending a monthly newsletter offering a short wrap-up on current topics.  

When you communicate strategically with your patients — and encourage them to share the emails with their friends and family — you enhance your business reputation. When marketing for doctor’s offices, you must strive for professionalism balanced with a human touch that lets patients relax and feel cared for.  

Builds Patient Loyalty if Done Correctly

Best of all, this consistent and regular communication through the preferred email platform can support patient retention and patient acquisition goals. Both happen by building patient loyalty. While the quality of the in-office (or telehealth) treatment is the most important, email marketing can encourage feedback that can help you improve. 

For some offices, a rewards program may also make sense. Consider adding incentives so your patients  recommend your office to friends and family or create a loyalty program that encourages patients to try new treatments or services which they could benefit from. All of these future campaigns can be interwoven into your email marketing plan.

Email Marketing Best Practices for a Medical Practice

Before you begin your strategic email marketing, you must first work to develop your email list. This is easier than you think. 

First, train the staff at the front desk to ask for an email address for every patient. If you participate in public events, offer a raffle prize with a winner who will be contacted by email. Always let prospective and current patients know that you’ll be sending them regular email correspondence, so they can decide whether to participate in your campaign. No one likes spam.

Once you have gathered enough email addresses, you’ll be ready to launch your campaign. To maximize your marketing investment, follow these email marketing best practices for doctors. 

Personalize Your Email Marketing Campaigns

The only way an outreach strategy will be effective is if you have a clear understanding of your target audience. For example, suppose you are communicating with new moms. In that case, you’ll have a very different tone and provide very different information than if you are hoping to reach out to elderly patients. 

If you have a large variety of patients that makes it difficult to speak generally, try creating different segments within your email list. This technique will make it easier to personalize your messages so that the recipients can benefit from the communication. 

Another good personalization tool is to have the message come from the doctor rather than an team member. Remember, one of your goals is to foster a better relationship between the patients and their doctor. Patients will appreciate the doctor reaching out — even if someone else is doing the work behind the scenes.

Use Email Marketing Tools To Execute Your Campaign Goals

When creating your digital newsletter, start simple. That means having just a few items each month crafted in a way that looks and feels similar. 

Think about it like a magazine and include a few “departments” each month. These can include a:

  • Profile of a team member
  • Blog post written in collaboration with a doctor
  • Rundown of new treatments
  • Calendar of events for the month, including any specials
  • Link to schedule an appointment

If the sections of your newsletter remain the same each month, it will be easier to produce and provide a sense of consistency and stability to the recipient. Knowing what to expect will make it more likely one of your patients will open, read, and enjoy your efforts. 

Use a marketing tool to set up the template or other visual elements of the newsletter to make it look professional. Never send out an unattractive, plain email from a Gmail or other regular account. 

Monitor and Plan the Cadence of Email Newsletters

It can feel like a lot of pressure to write newsletters for doctors every month, partly because you’re speaking on behalf of highly educated and trained professionals. Since this is the case, it is crucial that all the topics covered — and how they’re covered — are handled thoughtfully.

Marketing professionals often think in advance about the tone they want to use in outreach materials. To do this, go back to your clear understanding of your target audience. Then complete this four-point table:

  1. Your official voice is: (name 3-6 personality traits)
  2. Write like this: (give positive examples of how the writing should sound)
  3. Not like this: (provide a counter-example to demonstrate what to avoid)
  4. Why? (Offer the rationale for the importance of following this tone of voice)

One way to monitor and plan cadence is to do your research. Look at how other doctors’ offices in your specialty talk to their patients through email or blogs. Determine how you’d like to be different or better and go from there. Remember, always put your patients first. 

Ensure All Email Content Is Relevant Content

Everything you send to your mailing list should be either:

  • Educational
  • Entertaining
  • Emotional

That is, you may want to include an excellent spaghetti recipe, but does that really offer anything new to your patients? A cartoon may be cute, but would it be something that your email recipients would find entertaining? The last thing you want is to give your patients a reason to opt out of your mailing list. Instead, provide them with something of value to enjoy every time you send it.

Tips for Creating Impact Email Sequences That Create a Positive Patient Experience

Beyond just sending out regular newsletters, you can also create what is known as an email sequence to keep the conversation going. You may discover that more frequent communication with your patients will lead to better reviews and a faster rate of return toward meeting your goals. Here are some more tips for success.

Send Out New Content From Other Marketing Channels

Email marketing for doctors is just one element of a comprehensive marketing plan, but the work you put into creating newsletters and other email strategies can be applied elsewhere, too. For example, free tools like HootSuite make it easy to schedule social media posts that include blogs and other news you send directly to your email list.

Remember the Rule of 7 in marketing: A potential customer must see something seven times before they’ll finally act. Let’s say your Q1 email campaign is encouraging patients to try a new service. Instead of sending seven emails on the same topic, you can connect with them by email, with a flyer by the front desk, and through their social media platforms. Share content far and wide.

Optimize Emails for a Better Mobile Experience

Think about how you tend to check your personal email. While some people may read email on their laptop or desktop computer, most people check their email on their smartphones. The problem is that some email marketing programs aren’t designed to open properly on mobile devices.

Before sending an email, ensure it’s optimized for a better mobile experience. You shouldn’t have to scroll unnaturally to the right to finish reading, and you shouldn’t have to use two fingers to enlarge a picture to see what’s going on. Make it easy on the recipient by making everything look good before sending it.

Adjust Your Email Campaigns Based on Analytics

Remember those goals you set when you first created the email marketing strategy for the upcoming season or year? Well, they won’t do any good unless you circle back and see how you’re doing. If people aren’t opening your email, you may need to adjust your subject line strategy or send something different altogether. 

Some statistics you can track to measure success include:

  • Percentage of people who open your email
  • Number of click-throughs, or people who actually click on links you offer
  • Web traffic on your office webpage, as you should always be driving patients there for more information
  • Growth rate of your email list
  • Forward or share rate, especially if you are encouraging patients to get their friends and family to sign up
  • Growth rate of new patients to the practice

Don’t feel like you need to track everything, especially since you likely won’t have that kind of time anyway. Instead, pick two or three metrics that relate closely to your goals. 

Also, train your front desk staff to ask new patients how they heard about your office and why they chose it for their care. You may be surprised to hear the feedback they offer, and it may help you further refine your marketing strategies.

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