The numbers don’t lie. Reimbursements are falling across the board and healthcare professionals continue to accrue student debt at higher rates than in the past. So, with increasing costs and debt and decreasing income, how can practice owners become more financially successful? What marketing strategy should practice owners be looking at? The answer is simple: healthcare email marketing!
Why? Email marketing can bridge this gap as it allows practice owners to increase engagement with their clients, book in more appointments, and build customer loyalty, which will set up your practice success for the long-run. And, it achieves all this in a manner that is extremely cost-effective.
For health care professionals, many of whom become practice owners, marketing training is a glaring omission in graduate school. And even if you have taken business courses to brush up on your bookkeeping or HR practices, there’s a good chance that you haven’t delved into strategic marketing. In most practices there is a huge opportunity to grow without the need for complicated outreach strategies – and the most exciting of which is email marketing. So many practice owners are hesitant to try email marketing because they’re worried about the technical requirements, what they’ll write about and where they’ll find the time. But they’re missing out on one of the best tools for attracting new clients and retaining existing clients.
If you’ve read up to here and you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable at the thought of marketing your practice, you need to hear this: marketing is not selling. If you’re taking a ‘selling’ approach to email marketing, then you’re going to feel forced to include content in your communication strategies that doesn’t sit well with you. This is what’s important to keep in mind:
- You’re a highly trained health professional with a wealth of experience and insights;
- You have the ability to improve the quality of your clients’ lives;
- What you have to share is unique and can add value to past, present and future clients.
And this means that you’re not selling. You’re communicating an irresistible offer to people who need your services.
For both Power Diary, and our clients, we’ve seen first-hand the power of a well thought out healthcare email marketing campaign. We truly believe that email marketing is one of the most effective long-term marketing strategies, far more so than social media or other newer things. And it’s very cost-effective too.
What makes healthcare email marketing such a great option?
1. It’s incredibly effective
The one thing that people almost always have with them is their phone, and they’re checking their emails regularly (surprisingly, even more than social media). With marketing, it’s all about meeting potential clients where they’re at, and there’s no doubt that’s email the way. Before we even get into the statistics, think about it from your own perspective. When you sit down at your computer, what’s the first thing you check? Your email. When your phone pings to let you know that an email has just arrived, what do you do? You check your email. Whether on our computers or on our phones, email is the one thing that you’ll check before most other tasks.
A quick look at the facts shows that 94% of adults rely on email for immediate communication (compared to 61% who access social media). And an estimated 91% of people check their email at least once a day on their smartphones. Aside from calling and messaging, checking emails is one of the most popular ways that smartphones are used.
Yes, it’s true that people don’t read every email. But that’s why it’s important to email them frequently, keep repeating your core messages and keep adding value so that clients learn that your emails are always worth opening. And don’t forget, they’ve opted in to receive your emails, so they’re interested in what you have to say. In other words, your subscribers like getting your emails. In fact, 95% of people who sign up for a newsletter consider the email to be useful.
2. It’s low-cost
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways for small businesses to grow their client base. According to a report by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has a return on investment of 4300%. That’s crazy! Then, if you also consider that the costs to get started are relatively low (especially if you have a small mailing list), implementing an email marketing strategy should be a foregone conclusion.
Healthcare email marketing is also an effective medium for generating online conversions as people are open to hearing about products and services. Email marketing is up to 40 times more effective at getting clients than Facebook and Twitter and, it offers a conversion rate that’s 17% higher.
3. It builds relationships on autopilot
Email marketing costs 33% less than other lead-generating efforts and generates 50% more sales. This makes it one of the most effective ways to build relationships with customers. And the best part is, you can do it on autopilot.
Regular email updates are going to make your readers more aware of your brand, the services you offer, and they’re more likely to trust you as you provide expert advice. You can use your emails to raise awareness about your practice as well as showing them how your services can solve a problem they have. Once you have converted them into a client (after they book a consultation, for example), you can work on customer retention.
4. It’s simple to implement
You don’t need a fancy mailing set-up or anything too customised to get started and, if you already use Power Diary’s practice management software, configuring your email marketing just got even easier.
Email marketing isn’t just newsletters. You can set up automated email sequences, marketing campaigns, and more. MailChimp is one of the leading marketing platforms, and this integration makes it simple to access the power of their software.
Getting started is easy. You’ll need a MailChimp account; then you can connect your Power Diary account to your Mailchimp account by:
- Navigating to Setup > Configuration > Communication.
- In the MailChimp section, click the blue ‘Connect’ button.
- Entering your MailChimp Username and Password and log in.
That’s it, you’re done. Now all your clients’ details can be exported to MailChimp, and you can send beautiful custom emails to your contacts.
What can you include in your email marketing content?
If you’re prepared to get creative, the sky’s the limit. Here are three healthcare email marketing ideas to get you started:
- Expert advice – Your clients choose your practice over others because they trust you and perceive you to be an expert in your field. You can grow your credibility and build trust with new subscribers by sharing your wisdom, expert advice, and the latest health news that is relevant to your health discipline.
- Request referrals and grow your network – A regular value-adding newsletter can easily be forwarded from your subscribers (chief among them your loyal clients) on to others that they think could benefit from your services. This will grow your mailing list, lead to new clients, build client loyalty, and grow your bottom line.
- Appointment reminders and service announcements – If your clients come in for annual check-ups, set up personalised emails to let them know that they need to make an appointment. You can also remind your subscribers about the services that you offer, send an announcement when you launch a new one and communicate any special offers. (Don’t forget to make it easy for clients to book appointments online).
How can you get the most from your email marketing?
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to get cracking with your email marketing. But we’ve also got some pro tips that are going to help you get the most from your campaigns without having to learn the hard lessons for yourself. If you can get these seven things right, you’ll be well on your way to growing your mailing list and converting subscribers into customers.
Here are the top tips you need to know:
- Emails need to be mobile-friendly – This is non-negotiable. Over half of all emails are opened on a mobile device, and that number is only going to get bigger. That means your emails need to display well and be easy to read on phones. You’ll also want to craft short, clear subject lines, so they don’t get cut off if your subscriber is checking their emails on their phone.
- Consider who is reading your emails – For your email marketing to be successful, it needs to take into account the needs of the person reading the message. Why not have a quick look at the emails you open and the ones that you delete immediately. You’ll probably find that the useful ones are those that solve a problem or address an issue that you might not have even known you had. As a practice owner, you know what your clients need, and you can apply that thinking to your targeted emails. Create an interesting subject line, write content that is consistent with your reader’s values and needs, and include a clear call to action.
- Personalise your message as far as possible – Ensure that you stay HIPAA compliant, but you can segment your email list and send out different emails to clients, referral partners, and contacts. MailChimp, which we covered above, can help you stay organised and will allow you to personalise your emails as far as possible.
- Mix up your content – Don’t send emails that look the same every time. Try different formats, include videos, and use different copy lengths. Then track the open rates, click-throughs, and conversions to get an idea of what works for your audience.
- Always proofread for errors – Grammar and spelling errors are very off-putting and can distract readers from your message. It lowers the tone of your email, making you seem unprofessional and rushed, and it’s really easy to avoid. A quick read-through will help you catch most of the errors, or you can run your email through a pro tool like Grammarly before you hit send.
- Address known pain points – People don’t want to be sold to; they want solutions to their problems. Start off by identifying possible problems and follow-through with solutions that only you can offer them. This could be blog posts on how to address back pain (if you’re a physiotherapist), or self-care tips for mental health (if you have a psychology or counselling practice).
- Always, always, include a call-to-action – This doesn’t mean a hard sell. If you’ve offered a solution to their pain point, invite your reader to take action. This could be booking an appointment, downloading a free guide, following your social pages, or scheduling a free appointment.
Where is your healthcare email marketing strategy going wrong?
Despite all the research pointing towards the efficacy of email marketing, you might have tried it for your practice and found that it hasn’t produced real results. Two important areas that many practice owners neglect are:
- Measuring your efforts;
- Creating the right content.
Measuring your email marketing success
It might be difficult to measure whether your emails are encouraging clients to book appointments. There is no way to track if, after reading an email newsletter, a client decides to phone your office and book. But, there are other metrics to consider, including:
- Email open rates;
- Link clicks;
- Website traffic referred from your emails;
- Responses to the emails you send;
- Newsletter signup rates;
- Online bookings;
Email marketing content that doesn’t hit the mark
If you’re measuring your email metrics, you should start by checking your open rates. According to a recent survey, a whopping 74% of marketing emails from healthcare practices aren’t opened. Here’s where you might be going wrong:
- No split-testing of email subject lines;
- Product-focused rather than benefit-focused content;
- Content that is too general, not niched down by target audience;
- Emails that don’t render correctly on mobile;
- Content that isn’t engaging.
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We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. But it all boils down to this: if you want to grow your practice, you need to consider including email in your marketing strategy. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of a well-executed healthcare email marketing strategy when you consider that it is effective, low cost, and converts really, really well.
But, unfortunately, you’re only going to get the real benefits of email marketing if you put in the hard work. That’s why we included our 6 top tips for email marketing and where you might be going wrong if you’re already doing email marketing but aren’t seeing the results.
If you know a practice owner that’s looking to grow but is on a tight budget, why not pass this article on to them. Understanding the benefits of email marketing and how easy it can be to incorporate it into your practice’s outreach strategies might be exactly what they need to read to inspire them to take action today.