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Healthcare email marketing best practices for doctors

Succeed with email marketing in healthcare by following these 10 tips for independent practices.

email marketing for independent practices

Email is a valuable component of a healthcare marketing strategy when properly executed. Read on for 10 healthcare email marketing best practices so you can effectively reach patients.

1. Beware of spam filters

Up to 45.37% of email traffic is considered spam. Unfortunately, your healthcare marketing emails can land in spam folders, even if patients signed up to receive them.

A few tips to bypass the spam filter include:

  • Avoid spam words and phrases such as “100% free,” “best price,” “promise,” and “save.”
  • Build your email list instead of working with an outside party for scraped lists.
  • Follow HTML best practices to ensure the design and layout are clear.
  • Properly authenticating your emails so inbox providers know you’re legitimate.
  • Clean up your email list regularly as ignored emails lower your engagement rate, jeopardizing your standing with internet service providers.
  • Create a preference center where patients can decide what type of content they want to receive from you and how often as part of your overall patient experience strategy.

2. Reach prospective patients at optimum times

The most preferred mode by far, 61% of people prefer to communicate with brands by email. However, another survey from Constant Contact reported that 69 percent of respondents said sending emails too often is the number one reason they unsubscribe from mailing lists.

Avoid too frequent emails — but reaching out infrequently can hurt your chances of catching patients when they may need you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula, so take the time to figure out what works for your healthcare practice.

More than just a way to avoid spam, including a preference center — as noted above — is an easy way to ensure patients receive an optimal amount of emails of their choice.

3. Use audience segmenting

More than one-quarter of people (31%) find emails that don’t match their interests most frustrating, according to an Adobe survey. Every email campaign you create won’t apply to every patient on your list, so use segmenting to tailor messages to the correct audience.

For example, a dentist might send emails that include a discount on teeth whitening to patients who have used at-home whitening strips because the dentist knows these patients want whiter teeth but might be reluctant to pay high prices. The dentist wouldn’t send the discount to patients who have recently undergone teeth whitening because these patients are willing to pay the total cost for the service.

Keeping patients informed on topics they’re interested in will boost your engagement rates.

4. Create different types of messages for different kinds of patients

Patient email marketing can take many different forms. An email campaign can provide educational messaging (i.e., summer skincare tips), promotional messaging (i.e., 6 teeth whitening sessions for the price of 5), seasonal greetings (i.e., Happy New Year!), or even be in the form of a monthly newsletter.

Serving up different types of content will engage and inform patients, keeping them interested in your emails.

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5. Monitor the metrics such as open rates

Patients might receive your emails, but that doesn’t mean they’re reading them. According to Constant Contact, healthcare emails have a 28.57% open rate and a 0.69%% click rate.

Carefully monitoring key metrics like open rate, click rate, and bounce rate will allow you to know what’s working and isn’t. After reviewing, you’ll be able to adjust your messages accordingly.

6. Write an engaging subject line

Your patients’ inboxes are likely filled with emails, so your subject line needs to stand out.

Keep your subject line short, including your practice name, and avoid “reminder” language (i.e., Remember to schedule your annual appointment).

7. Don’t forget to proofread

Many factors go into a successful healthcare email marketing campaign, but none are as important as content. Spelling errors and poor grammar reflect poorly on your practice and make it hard for patients to take the message seriously.

Email content should be proofread by the person who wrote it, but don’t stop there. At least one other set of eyes needs to review it because it can be difficult for the author to spot mistakes since they’re so close to the content.

8. Include a call-to-action (CTA)

Email marketing is the digital channel with the highest return on investment (ROI), up to $36 per $1 spent, according to Litmus. Take advantage of this by crafting email content that incites patients to take action.

Include call-to-action buttons such as “Book Online” or “Schedule Appointment.”

9. Time it right

In life and email marketing, timing is everything. You could send the most engaging emails to prospective and current patients all day, but if it arrives in their inbox at the wrong time, it might not resonate.

Customarily, the best times to send emails are Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. Try sending emails at these times, and then check your open and click rates. Then, experiment with sending your emails at other times on other days to see how opens and clicks compare.

10. Get to the point

Your patients are busy, so they don’t have time to read an email manifesto. Consequently, PatientPop advises keeping emails short and sweet.

And as a reminder, emails should never include confidential patient information.

Short messages are also better for mobile. This is hugely important, considering four out of ten emails are opened through mobile devices.

When properly executed, email marketing in healthcare is an effective way to keep in touch with patients and entice them to return to your practice — whether for checkups or other services.

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Jean Lee, managing editor at The Intake

Jean Lee is a content expert with years of journalism and marketing experience — along with a constant passion to help and engage others through storytelling. She is the managing editor at The Intake, and is excited to support independent practices with content, insights, and resources that help them thrive.

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