Marketing forms the heart of any organization’s growth, including in the healthcare industry. Why? Because an increasing number of people, including potential patients, seek the information they need online. In fact, recent statistics indicate that 80% of internet users (which equates to 93 million Americans) look up health-related topics on the internet.
This means an online presence is necessary for all medical professionals who want to grow their practice, and email marketing should be a key component to your marketing strategy.
That being said, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy to perfect your skills, which hasn’t left much time for you to learn about marketing.
Not sure where to begin? Not to worry. We’re here to help. Below, we dive into the importance of email marketing for doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals and then offer 5 tips you need to know to get your email marketing strategy off to a stellar start.
The benefits of email marketing for doctors, dentists, and medical professionals
Email marketing is a powerful tool to help you grow your practice and reach a larger amount of patients. In fact, studies show just how effective email is as a marketing channel: Email marketing is deemed 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers compared to Twitter or Facebook.
And email is also the number one activity online, with over 90% of people only logging in to check their emails. Which is great news for email marketers, but doesn’t explain why medical professionals should tap into the power of email marketing.
Though you’re probably most familiar with email marketing that pushes a hard sell—something you might not be interested in for your practice—email can do much, much more to help you connect with your patients, promote good health practices, and grow your practice.
Email marketing allows you to build a relationship with your patients while promoting your products and services in a cost-effective way, which means you accomplish more with less effort, money, and time.
With email, you can get in touch with your targeted audience without blowing your budget, and you can create tailored campaigns that resonate with your audience, helping you tap into an impressive ROI.
Here are just some of the reasons you should be using email marketing for your practice:
1. Email marketing means more leads
For prospective patients who find you online—as most new patients will—signing up for your email list allows them to get to know you before deciding whether or not to make an appointment. They get to see who you are and what matters to you as a medical professional, without having to sit in an office or sit through a first appointment only to realize they aren’t a good fit.
On the other hand, email marketing makes it simple for current patients to share your emails—and thus your contact information and business hours—with their family and friends, another cost-effective way to bring more leads to your website and, eventually, into your office.
2. Email marketing means increased conversions
Because you can track a patient’s journey from when a person receives an email all the way to when they book an appointment with you, you can see where people exit your sales funnel.
Maybe your website makes booking an appointment difficult, or it’s hard for patients and prospective patients to find your phone number. Either way, you can improve conversions when you understand what works and what gets your patients to convert, i.e. book an appointment.
3. Email marketing lowers costs
Compared to more traditional marketing forms, like print and direct mail, email is far more cost-effective. Available on a month-by-month basis (or on a cost-per-email basis), you’ll know exactly what you can expect to spend each month.
And thanks to your email service provider, you’ll be able to see exactly how often your email subscribers are opening your emails, visiting your site, and even booking appointments. Unlike direct mail or print advertisements, you won’t have to wonder how many people simply ignore your marketing efforts. You’ll know.
4. Email marketing means a great return on investment
For every $1 spent, email marketing brings back $44—that’s 4,400% ROI! And the great thing is, you can start tracking every email you send so that you know exactly how much ROI you’re generating (and how you can improve on this each time, too).
5. Email marketing means more sales
Your office might offer more than just medical services. These days, a lot of medical professionals also sell products: for example, glasses, elective procedures, products, etc. Email marketing allows you to send coupons and promotions easily, reminding your patients of the value your practice delivers and the importance you place on patient satisfaction, ultimately boosting your sales.
Source: Really Good Emails
Top 5 tips for email marketing for doctors and medical professionals
Now that you know exactly why email marketing is so beneficial for medical professionals, how can you ensure your email efforts drive in the most bang for your buck?
It’s simple, just follow these 5 easy actionable tips:
1. Prioritize security and always get your patients’ permission
Even though the vast majority of people use email and sign up to various newsletters, you can’t simply assume they want to hear from you via email.
Always make sure you’ve gotten your patients’ explicit permission before you start sending them emails. Not only is it illegal to send emails without permission, but it’s also rude. Your own inbox is probably jampacked with emails. Do you want someone sending you emails without your permission?
Definitely not. And neither do your patients.
Asking permission before sending also gives your patients peace of mind that you’re doing your utmost to respect their privacy and to protect their information, obviously a huge concern when dealing with someone’s health.
Just like the medical profession as HIPAA to ensure people’s confidential information stays confidential, email marketing has its own rules and regulations. Asking for permission is crucial to ensure your compliance with the latest GDPR laws.
Doing this also ensures you only pay for emails that have a chance to actually be opened. With some email service providers charging on a cost-per-email basis, it makes sense to confirm that these emails are wanted and will be opened.
2. Create attention-grabbing subject lines
With the average office worker receiving 121 emails per day, it’s imperative yours stand out from the crowd. Since the subject line is the first thing your subscribers see, you need to ensure it’s compelling enough they want to open your email and read more.
Obviously, you don’t want to give the full game away (you want the recipient to go on to read your entire email) but you need to pique their curiosity.
You can do this by:
- Creating a sense of urgency: “Act now!”
- Appealing to their curiosity: “You’ll want to open this email, trust us.”
- Giving them offers: “$X off your next treatment”
- Personalizing the email, e.g. using the recipient’s name
- Keeping it short and sweet
- Making people feel special: “You’re invited….”
- Asking a question: “Are you following these healthcare tips?”
3. Consider how often you’re going to send your emails
Getting carried away with how frequently you send your emails is a mistake far too many marketers make. Again, think about your own inbox. When was the last time you unsubscribed from an email and why’d you do it?
If you’re like most people, you unsubscribed because you already have too many emails. In fact, 49% of customers report that they get too many emails from companies, which often leads to them hitting the unsubscribe button.
Therefore, if you want to retain a stable email list, you need to consider how frequently you should send your emails. Don’t bombard your customers with offer after offer, but you also don’t want to email them so infrequently they forget about you. That defeats the entire purpose of email marketing and will result in many of your subscribers forgetting they invited you into their inbox, leading them to mark your emails as spam.
How do you achieve these figures for your customers? If you have the resources to dedicate more time to email marketing, you should just ask. That way, you can segment your list by frequency and send emails accordingly. However, it’s important to note that if your patients say they want to receive emails from you once a week, you need to be able to deliver. Like with all relationships, they need to be able to trust you.
If you don’t have the resources to send email according to frequency, be sure you are open and honest about how often you’ll email your subscribers from the very beginning. That way, patients know what to expect and what they’re signing up for. If they think once a week is too often, then they won’t sign up.
Though it seems counter-intuitive to limit your list, it’s more important to attract quality subscribers than a large quantity of them.
Source: Really Good Emails
4. Use segmentation to effectively target your customers
By segmenting emails—or breaking your subscriber list into smaller segments—you’re likely to get nearly 15% more opens and 60% more clicks than if you don’t segment your campaigns. Why is this?
Segmentation allows you to personalize the emails you send so your messages are completely relevant for each recipient. This makes your subscribers far more likely to engage with your actual email.
The more you can segment, the better. You can segment based on age, location, whether they’ve booked an appointment with you before, how often they’d like to receive emails from you, and so on. You can segment based on the types of services they’ve received from you before and if they’ve ever sought an elective procedure.
Segmentation enables you to send relevant messages that feel more personal to your patients, promoting trust and building your relationship with them.
Source: Really Good Emails
5. Utilize automation to save yourself time and energy
Probably email’s greatest benefit, scheduling emails to send automatically can simplify your marketing efforts, bringing in more prospects, patients, and sales where applicable without you having to put in much extra effort beyond the initial email design.
Automation allows you to establish triggers that send emails for you. For example, when a patient books an appointment with you, they automatically receive an email confirmation, as well as information on who to contact if they have any questions.
These types of emails build trust and help put your patients with ease, all while requiring no additional work from you or your employees.
You can also use dates as triggers, meaning you can automatically send appointment reminders and alerts when it’s time for patients to see you again, leading to more appointments and fewer no-shows.
Email marketing for doctors and health professionals is the perfect tool for engaging and interacting with your patients as well as prospective patients. You can connect with them on a personal level which improves customer relations and drives your practice forward.
This direct line of communication is ideal for new, existing, and current patients, allowing you to create long-term relationships with a wide range of people, regardless of their individual preferences and requirements.
Through email, you can present your organization as the trusted, personable brand it is, all without blowing your marketing budget.