5 Unique Email Design Ideas for Your Medical PracticePosted: June 21, 2023 - By Health Dev
Patients’ health concerns don’t disappear when they leave your office. They want to know you still care and want to help, even when they’re not sitting on your exam table.
Email help do that job beautifully. It connects you with each patient individually without taking you away from the important work of running your practice. But none of us read all of our emails, so how do you get your patients’ attention?
Content matters, but design elements catch the eye first. Use these email design ideas to connect with current patients, build relationships, and grow your practice.
Why Does Your Email Design Matter?
When you run a busy medical practice, email isn’t always top-of-mind. Patient care will always be your top priority, but your practice must thrive and grow. Creative email design ideas help to make that happen.
Email keeps you connected to your patients when they’re not in the office. More than 80% of email users check their messages at least once a day, and 19% check messages as soon as they arrive in their inbox. Sending one of those email messages reminds your current and potential patients that you’re there and care about them.
But how do you ensure your emails stand out from the hundreds of other emails your patients receive?
That’s where email marketing design ideas come in. If your messages stand out visually, they’ll be more memorable. Consider these three benefits of great email design.
It Builds Brand Awareness
Your practice’s brand includes all the ways it stands out in patients’ minds. It incorporates everything from your overall care approach to the color choices, fonts, and graphics you use in marketing materials.
Unique email design ideas solidify your brand in patients’ minds. For example, suppose you’re a podiatry practice with a fun and playful brand. So you might include foot puns in your subject lines and graphics of bare feet in primary colors.
Patients who see your email in their inbox should instantly recognize your brand.
It Catches the Reader’s Attention
Many experts estimate the average person receives more than 100 emails daily. So to send emails people will read and remember, you must get their attention immediately.
In 2006, a now-classic piece of web design research showed that readers develop a website impression in just half a second.
You need a toolbox of excellent email design ideas to make an impression in that time frame. Use that half a second to offer something different. Once you have their attention, you can focus on communicating your message.
It Helps To Make Your Message Memorable
Email marketing strengthens long-term patient relationships. It helps you communicate with patients between appointments, emphasizing your concern for their health.
Given their importance to patients, communication and concern are essential qualities for practices to establish. In one study of 88,000 patient complaints, communication was the second-most common topic of criticism. In another, lack of attentiveness topped the list.
Establishing yourself as “the practice that cares” can go a long way, but that message must stick in patients’ minds. Creative email design ideas make your message more memorable by making the whole email experience more unique.
For instance, you may create an appointment reminder sequence to help people keep up with their care. Your patients probably get dozens of reminders from service providers. A simple design with a “don’t forget” theme — perhaps with a string around the finger graphic —will make your message look unique.
5 Email Design Ideas for Medical Practices
Email marketing for doctors is a balancing act. You want to be catchy, memorable, professional, and sensitive to people’s healthcare needs.
These five email design ideas help you hit the right points while staying true to your practice’s brand.
1. Interactive Features
How actively do you engage with most emails? It’s usually a one-way experience — you open the message, read it, and either click through or don’t. Unfortunately, that click is probably your only interaction with the message.
Adding interactive elements turns your email into a conversation, and that engagement has measurable effects. According to one study of almost 250 marketers, interactive content convinces twice as many readers to become buyers.
A recent LinkedIn poll showed 77% of marketers regularly use interactive emails or plan to start. To jump on the interactivity bandwagon, try one of these engaging email design ideas:
- Videos: Recipients can play, pause, and even share an informative video about a condition or treatment.
- Hover effects: Readers can hover over buttons to change the main image. For example, your email could open with a banner image focused on a particular issue, which the reader can change by hovering over a nearby title.
- Games: Recipients can spin a digital wheel, find a hidden picture, or answer a fun one-question quiz.
- Surveys: Readers can learn about other patients’ thoughts and experiences on non-confidential issues (like how often they brush their teeth or eat vegetables).
These elements make exciting additions to newsletter designs and keep-in-touch campaigns. For instance, an allergist sending a spring email blast could include a survey about when readers experience the worst spring symptoms — March, April, May, or June.
2. Animated GIFs
GIFs make your email design ideas more fun. Whether it’s a text message from your best friend or a reminder email from your dermatologist, they lighten the mood and instantly make a message more playful.
In case you’re unfamiliar, a GIF is an animated image playing in a short loop. (The term stands for “graphics interchange format,” in case you’re curious.) Some have text captions; others don’t.
You can use GIFs as part of your email marketing design to add humor, emphasize a point, and even bond with patients over popular culture.
For example, suppose you want to send a message reminding a parent to schedule their child’s vaccination. A cute GIF of a cartoon or animal doctor will show them you’re a fun and kid-friendly provider.
Finding healthcare-related GIFs is easy. Simply Google “GIFs for doctors” or search a popular GIF database like Giphy. You can even make your own GIFs using static images or video files. Just be sure you follow all confidentiality rules and use high-quality images.
3. Simple but Catchy Subject Lines
Many of your email recipients will be more likely to open your message if the subject line is:
- Personalized: It’s relevant to the recipient regarding care needs — “Are we on your calendar for next month?” — or personal interests — “We heard you’re turning 50.”
- Promising: The reader understands they’ll benefit from opening the email.
- Intriguing: There’s a level of mystery, and the reader wants to know what you’ll say next.
- Urgent: The reader feels motivated to take action now, not later, when they might have forgotten the email existed.
The best subject-related email design ideas hit several, if not all, of these points, using no more than 41 characters. That’s when a patient’s iPhone cuts off the end of your message.
Think about how you can pique readers’ interest, and don’t give it all away too soon. If they want to know more, they must click.
4. Social Media Snippets
One of the best ways to engage readers is by connecting your email design ideas with other aspects of your digital marketing, especially with your social media.
If you have a recent social media post that would be particularly helpful to a segment of your patients, include a clip from it and a link to read more. You can incorporate these clips into almost any email, from reminders to newsletters.
For example, say you recently posted a Facebook poll asking patients how they prefer to contact your office — email, text, or phone call. Invite your email subscribers to participate by linking to the survey. Then, send the results when the poll is complete.
You can even do this with video. Add a screenshot or script excerpt from your latest YouTube video, inviting viewers to click and view the entirety.
Facebook has the best record for driving social traffic to websites, racking up nearly half of all website click-throughs. YouTube has half that number but comes in second. Of course, you can choose whichever social media platform your patients prefer.
5. Trending Events and Topics
Email design ideas are about catching a reader’s attention, and few things do so more effectively than trends.
That includes medical trends, such as recent discoveries and newly established best practices. For instance, if you’re an oncologist, your patients would probably be interested in hearing your take on the latest cancer discovery.
Email is also a great place to debunk misinformation. If bad medical advice is floating around Instagram or TikTok, you can use your patient newsletter to share the truth. If there’s a dangerous trend on the horizon, warn people about it.
You can also touch on non-medical news and trends, assuming you can find the right angle. Depending on the circumstances, these can be serious or light — anything from “What Celebrity X’s new diagnosis means” to “Heart-healthy ways to celebrate Fourth of July.”
If you’re feeling brave, you can even teach your staff a TikTok dance and add the video to your next patient newsletter. You might even find a way to add valuable health advice to the captions.
Best Practices for Creating Email Newsletters and Campaigns
There are many ways to reach patients and prospective patients via email. You could create a patient newsletter to update people on what’s happening with your practice, adding the latest news in your field.
You can send a sequence of promotional emails to patients who haven’t made appointments yet but have signed up to hear from you. You can even wish patients happy birthday to remind them you’re there.
However you choose to do it, here’s how to get the best possible results from your email design ideas.
Use Email Automation Tools
Campaign automation is your best friend when staying in touch. Automation tools let you schedule emails to reach a particular group of patients at specific times. Those times may be special occasions, such as the patient’s birthday or the anniversary of their first appointment.
You can also use automation to send email sequences — purposeful series of intervals targeted at a particular type of recipient. For example, your automation tool might send reminders to all patients due for a follow-up or annual appointment. If they don’t reply, they might get a second reminder in a week, followed by another if necessary.
Add a Personal Touch
The best email design ideas reflect the sender’s brand identity and the recipient’s interests.
First, segment your audience — divide them into interest groups and send different messages to different groups. For instance, a family practice may have separate segments for single adults, parents, and senior citizens.
In a SuperOffice study, segmented emails had a 94% open rate and a 38% click-through rate. Non-segmented emails had a 42% open rate and a click-through rate of only 4.5%. That’s quite the difference.
Also, add some personalization on your practice’s end. Congratulate staff members on accomplishments or anniversaries. Share practice members’ professional bios. Use creative email newsletter design ideas to call out a different staff member every time.
Include an Unsubscribe Button
By law, all commercial emails must explain how recipients can opt out of future messages. Your explanation should be easy for the typical person to recognize and understand. You must respond to all unsubscribe requests within 10 days.
Of all the laws doctors must follow, this one is probably the easiest to solve using email design ideas. Just add an unsubscribe button at the bottom of your message and set it up to take requesters off your list. Add white space around the button so that it’s easy to see.
It’s best to send the person to a landing page where you can confirm the unsubscribe request. If you’d like, ask them why they want to be removed. This information can help you craft better campaigns.
Comply With Email Communication Regulations for Medical Practices
Speaking of the law, ensure all your professional email design ideas and messages are HIPAA-compliant. Get permission from former and current patients before sending promotional emails unrelated to treatment. Also, ensure your platform encrypts messages to HIPAA standards.