Email marketing is an effective way to connect with new patients while keeping the current ones fed with important information about your practice. It’s simple to implement and has a decent return on investment. However, before you jump in head first, there are a few important things that you should know. Here are some common do’s and don’ts of email marketing.
Let’s start with the do’s.
Do Send Out Newsletters
You should send a newsletter to all patients on a regular basis. This should include some of your most recent blog posts, as well as some curated content. This type of regular communication shows the reader that not only are you a good source for healthcare information, but you also know of other good sources and are more than willing to share them.
Newsletters should be sent out no more than once per week. In a weekly publication, you could include a blog post round up from your site. Bi-weekly and monthly frequencies are the norm, but feel free to tinker around with the frequency in the beginning to see what resonates with your audience the most. You could even conduct a quick survey to find out exactly how often patients would like to receive this information.
Do Offer Whitepapers, eBooks, and Infographics
Upon signing up for your email list, you should absolutely have something free to give the visitor as a thank you gift. This could be an eBook, white paper, or even an infographic. The goal is to make the content interesting and useful for the reader. Give them something relevant in exchange for their time and interest in your site, and you will gain their undivided attention.
Coming up with ideas and content layouts can be a challenge for the experienced marketer, not to mention a busy doctor. Here are some basic guidelines that will help you along the way.
- Infographics: If you’re planning to offer a free infographic, stick with topics that can be written primarily with numerical facts. Infographics are most effective when they’re full of interesting stats and data that tell a story primarily with numbers
- eBooks: You could offer an eBook on any topic related to your practice, but try not to make it too long. 20-30 pages is plenty, and 12-15 pages is the sweet spot. You don’t necessarily need images inside the book, but investing in professional cover graphics is highly recommended.
- Whitepapers: Most white papers are usually written for business to business communication, but there are some instances where patients would want to read these as well. Because these are so text heavy, it’s important to have a reader-friendly layout and good images.
Do Utilize Auto Responders
You want your patients engaged every step of the way and autoresponders are a great way to achieve this. This saves you time and helps to create a consistent message throughout the campaign. Auto responders are easy to set up and can help segment your patients and visitors into different groups.
You have the ability to tailor each responder to the customer based on preset criteria, like what page they landed on, or what product they’re interested in. This is an excellent way to put your email marketing campaign on autopilot. Once you start working on content for a particular demographic, you’ll begin to see how creating content for email responders is much like telling a story
Now that we’ve covered some email marketing best practices, let’s take a look at some things you definitely want to stay away from.
Don’t Spam Your Patients
Nobody likes spam and if you send out unsolicited emails, people will unsubscribe or block you. Not only that, but they’ll remember your practice so when the opportunity arises for you to approach them in the right way, they will already be turned off. It may be tempting to send out tons of spam instead of slowly building your list, but you won’t get the benefits of having a targeted audience that is actually looking for your services.
Don’t Overload Your Followers with Emails
You don’t need to send emails every other day. When you have something important going on, it’s OK to shoot an update to your readers. Just be sure that it’s an important update and not something that could wait to be published in the newsletter. People could become annoyed with you emailing them too often.
Some instances that would justify an urgent email to patients would include office closures, appointment reschedules, or something else that would affect an upcoming visit. Also, it’s important to remember that some people scan email headlines, and may not open your urgent message if the title doesn’t relay any urgency. When sending out these types of messages, make sure the title reflects the importance of your communication.
Don’t Forget to Check for Mobile Responsiveness
Don’t forget to ensure that your email message is mobile friendly. The content needs to be clearly read on both tablets and phones, as well as computers. An easy way to test this is to email yourself and see how it formats on your mobile device. If it’s not responsive, it will more than likely NOT be read by someone checking email on their phones. Gone are the days of pinching and dragging web pages to fit them to the screen. People will quickly abandon your page if this becomes an issue.
Most email systems will allow you to create a mobile friendly template that you can use each time you send a message to patients. It may take some time to become familiar with the software, but most platforms are user-friendly and offer excellent support for new users.
These are just a few tips to get you going and cover the basics of your campaign. In time, you will find your groove and add other elements to your strategy. Just remember to analyze results in order to get an accurate account of what works and what doesn’t.