Healthcare email marketing

How To Develop an Effective Healthcare Email Marketing Plan

Email marketing remains a popular and much-used method of attracting prospective customers — or patients — and retaining existing ones. The popularity of email marketing is due to its personalization and segmentation capabilities that allow marketers to deliver more relevant content to readers.

Like all other fields, healthcare can also benefit immensely from email marketing. Healthcare email marketing encompasses sending emails to people who have shown an interest in your healthcare services or products or those who have subscribed to your email list.

Medical facilities with a strong healthcare email marketing strategy can see a boost in patient acquisition and retention. But most healthcare facilities are unfamiliar with the process of creating healthcare email marketing campaigns.

Below, we explain how to create a healthcare email marketing strategy in 10 steps. We also discuss how you can check your email communications and yield the desired results.

10 Steps to a Successful Healthcare Email Marketing Campaign

The best approach to email marketing for healthcare depends on the particular practice. For instance, prospective patients in a dermatology setting will differ from a cardiology setting. Besides the demographic, the preferred mode of communication may also be different for each target group.

However, there are some essential steps that every healthcare email marketing campaign must undertake regardless of the healthcare facility type.

1. Start By Setting Actionable Goals for Your Campaign

Before you start churning out email content, you need to determine your healthcare email marketing campaign goal(s). What do you want to accomplish with your emails?

Are you trying to increase brand awareness or improve patient engagement? Maybe you want to promote a new healthcare product or service. Or you may want to increase website traffic.

Your email marketing goals will determine the kind of content you create, the call-to-action (CTA) you use, and the metric you track to gauge the success of your campaign. Let’s explain this with the example below.

Suppose the goal of your email marketing campaign is to increase website traffic. In this case, you want to include a CTA encouraging recipients to click through to your website. The metric you track to assess the success of this campaign will be the number of clicks on the CTA. You might also track website visits and the average time spent on your website.

In most cases, an email marketing campaign has six objectives. These are:

  1. Inform
  2. Attract
  3. Engage
  4. Guide
  5. Nurture
  6. Convert

You can either have one primary objective or multiple objectives for your healthcare email marketing campaign. For instance, you might send informative emails that also promote engagement.

2. Identify Key Performance Indicators To Track and Measure

Tracking the success of your healthcare email marketing campaign is imperative. You must identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will give you insights into your campaign’s progress.

The most common KPIs marketers track in email marketing are:

  • Open rate: The number of people who open your email.
  • Click-through rate: The number of people who click on the links in your email.
  • Bounce rate: The number of people who unsubscribe from your email list or mark your emails as spam.
  • Conversion rate: The number of people who take the desired action after reading your email.

Other than these, you may also want to track additional KPIs, such as the number of email forwards, social media shares, and website visits.

3. Determine and Research Your Target Audience

To help ensure a high open and click-through rate, you must send the emails to the right people. For that, you should know who your target audience is.

Your target audience consists of the people most likely to be interested in your healthcare services or products. To determine your target audience, you can segment your email list based on various criteria, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Prior medical conditions

For example, if you’re a pediatric clinic or a family healthcare center, your target audience would be parents with young children. You should target the demographic of parents aged 25 to 40 residing in a particular city or town with an annual income of $50,000 or more.

4. Create a Schedule for Your Emails

Creating a calendar is among the top healthcare email marketing best practices. Instead of sending out emails randomly, you should have a schedule for your email content.

Scheduling your emails helps you send out timely and relevant material. For instance, if you’re a healthcare organization that provides flu shots, you should send emails about the importance of getting a flu shot in October, November, or December. By sending timely emails, you can increase the likelihood of recipients taking action.

Your email schedule should also take special dates and events into consideration. For example, you might want to send out an email on World Cancer Day or World AIDS Day.

When creating a schedule, you should also decide how often you want to send emails. The frequency of your emails will depend on various factors, such as:

  • The type of content you’re sending
  • The nature of your business
  • The preferences of your target audience

If you’re unsure how often you should send emails, start with once a week. You can always increase the frequency if you think it’s necessary.

5. Design a Visually Appealing Template With Personal Touches

Bland marketing emails barely get any attention. If you want people to read your emails, you must design visually appealing and engaging templates.

When designing your email template, make sure it’s:

  • Simple and clutter-free
  • Mobile-responsive
  • Filled with images and videos (but not too many)
  • On brand

To make your template more relatable, you should include a personal touch, such as the recipient’s name or a personalized message. You can also use your email template to share your brand story and values.

If you’re not sure how to design a template, Demandforce’s Email Builder has the tools you need to create beautiful and responsive email templates without any design experience.

6. Focus on Effective Subject Lines

An average person can receive up to more than 100 emails a day. Why should someone open and read your email when they have so many other options?

Most people decide whether or not they want to open an email by reading the subject line, as it’s the only part of the email that’s visible in their inbox. So, if you want people to read your email, you must write a compelling subject line. Here are some tips:

  • Use personalization: Add the recipient by their first name or initials to make the email more relatable.
  • Keep it short and sweet: Write a subject line no longer than 50 characters.
  • Be clear: Don’t be too clever with your subject line. Be clear about the email’s subject matter.
  • Limit emojis: Avoid using more than one emoji in your subject line.
  • Make a promise: Your subject line should make some promise, such as “10 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health” or “How to Get Rid of Belly Fat.”

The key is to be straightforward. If you’re sending a promotional email, clarify it in the subject line. For instance, if you’re offering a discount on a particular service, mention it in the subject line: ”20% off your next dental appointment” is more likely to get opened than ”Your wallet deserves a break.”

7. Ensure Your Email Content Is Relevant and Appealing

Your email content must be relevant to your target audience and appeal to their needs. There’s no point in sending geriatric content to millennials or vice versa.

Medical practices should do extensive research on their target audience. What kind of medical issues are they most susceptible to? Which treatments are they interested in? What type of content do they prefer?

You should also send emails that are in line with your brand identity. For instance, if your brand is more serious, such as oncology, don’t try to be funny in your emails. It will come across as forced and inauthentic.

8. Highlight Your Practice and What Sets it Apart

Your current patients might know the merits of your medical practice. But what about prospective patients?

You must highlight your medical practice’s unique selling points (USPs) in your email content. Whether it’s state-of-the-art facilities or a team of highly qualified specialists, be sure to mention it.

You can also include patient testimonials and before-and-after images to show the results of your treatments. The latter works wonders in a cosmetic medical practice.

9. Demonstrate Opt-In Value for Current or Potential Patients

An essential step in healthcare email marketing is to offer opt-in value for your current or potential patients. Opt-ins are incentives, such as an eBook or discount, that users receive in exchange for their email address.

The opt-in must be relevant to your target audience and aligned with your brand identity. For instance, a dental practice can offer an eBook on ”10 Tips for Whiter Teeth.”

The opt-in source must also be prominent on your website and email template. Don’t make users hunt for it.

For example, you can offer a 15% discount for first-time patients if they sign up for your email newsletter. Such incentives help grow your contact list and nurture relationships with your patients.

10. Integrate Links to Patient Surveys, Practice Websites, and More

One of the best things about healthcare email marketing is that you can use it to branch out to other communication mediums. Thus, the people on your email list can also become website visitors, social media followers, and patients. Here’s how to do this:

  • Include links to your patient surveys in your email content. Use a CTA like ”Tell us what you think” or ”How was your experience?” and link it to the survey.
  • Put links to your website, blog, or social media profiles in your email signature. You can also include CTAs like ”Book an appointment” or ”Read our latest blog post.”
  • Link to an online booking system or appointment reminder system in your email. This way, if your content entices patients, they can go straight to the appointment page.

How To Know You’re Email Marketing Plan Is Working

You believe you’ve sent effective emails that your subscribers actually want to read. You’re happy with the frequency of emails sent. But how can you determine if the plan is working? Here’s how.

Increases in Patient Acquisition and Retention

The success of healthcare email marketing is determined by its ability to bring in new patients and retain existing ones. You can measure this by tracking the number of appointments booked or form submissions from your email campaigns.

If you see an increase in bookings or submissions, it’s a sign your email marketing is working. Repeat customers also point toward the effectiveness of your healthcare email marketing campaign.

Improvements in Patient Feedback and Reviews

Healthcare providers must collect patient feedback to understand what’s working and what needs improvement. You can use this feedback to improve your services, processes, and patient experience.

Patients also leave feedback on your social media pages and website. Your healthcare email marketing campaign is working well if you’ve noticed a positive trend in these reviews.

Low Email Bounce Rates With a High Click-Through Rate

When you send promotional emails, you aim to maximize the number of recipients who open and click through to your landing page or website. A high click-through rate (CTR) indicates you’re doing promotional emails correctly. Likewise, if the bounce rate for healthcare emails is low, that’s another indication that you’ve designed compelling and interactive emails.

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