Many of us experience the overwhelming feeling of logging into our email accounts, only to be greeted by an inbox that has grown well into the double digits overnight. So what do we do? We quickly skim the subject lines and the senders in an effort to differentiate between the soon to be rejected mail and the keepers. Any email that appears unimportant, unbeneficial or looks as if the majority of the county received it is immediately relocated to the trash. However, emails that seem personalized, received at a convenient time, and those that provide a benefit to us are the emails we read. These are also the traits of email marketing campaigns that succeed. Developing a multifaceted email strategy that is specifically tailored to your practice’s needs, goals and patients is key to creating a successful email campaign.
What is the first step to creating a successful email marketing campaign?
First, clearly establish what your practice’s specific goals are and what your practice is hoping to accomplish by implementing an email marketing campaign. Is your business looking to gain patients, drive sales, or increase revenue? If these are your email campaign goals, then your practice may want to focus on creating a campaign that focuses on offering patients an incentive to either purchase products from your practice, or to schedule an appointment. This can be accomplished by clearly stating the offer and details of the offer. Adding a clear deadline or expiration date will help encourage patients to take action sooner than later.
If your email campaign goal is to increase patient relations, and patient retention and satisfaction, then the overall voice and personalization of the email should be your main focus. Be sure to make the email more personal by addressing the patient or the family directly. Use a friendly, sincere voice throughout the email and be sure to thank your patients for their business.
Timing is everything!
Be sure to strategically plan when to send your emails in order to generate the highest open rates and click-through rates. According to research, the average open rates and click-through rates of emails increase by 6% when an email is sent between 8 a.m-10.a.m. or between 3p.m.-4p.m. However, since 40% of emails are sent between 6:00 a.m. and noon, take this into consideration. It may be more effective to send an email in the afternoon to avoid competing with other emails.
Keep the subject line short and sweet.
There are many do’s and don’ts to be aware of when determining the subject line of your email. Be sure to keep the subject to the point, and avoid spam related key words including: exclusive, special offer and free, along with exclamation points and capitalized words (FREE OFFER!). So what should you do? Be direct and specific about what your email is about and avoid selling anything in the subject line. You don’t want your patients to feel deceived; you do however want to gain their loyalty, interest, and keep them coming back.
Incorporate a direct call-to-action within the body of your email urging customers to take action. Whether it’s asking customers to call your practice to schedule an appointment, or to check out the new line of sunglasses, or to print a provided coupon -- be direct and provide necessary links, information and always a phone number for patients to quickly and easily accomplish the directed action.
Plan to stay in touch.
The best way to stay in touch with patients and keep them coming back to your practice is to communicate regularly. Email is a great way to do just that. Plan topics ahead of time, create a calendar of email campaigns and publish a quarterly e-newsletter, while keeping the best practices outlines above in mind. If you or someone on your staff has the interest and the time to devote to email creation – great! If not, use a software system like WebSystem3 that automates these types of communications for you and lets you be as hands-on as you choose.