A powerful channel to integrate into marketing your practice is email. You should consider email because it’s a cost-effective vehicle that will allow you to directly communicate with your patients.
Constant Contact, AWeber, and MailChimp are three great platforms to consider when launching your email program. The basic function of all three platforms is very similar: all offer full-service emailing so that you can start a campaign quickly, allowing you to focus your energy on your practice and your patients. Their systems will help you craft editorial calendars and outlines to properly execute your campaigns as well as allow you to track campaign performance and statistics using analytics. In addition, they all have either blogs or webinars that you can review to better understand how to use their platforms and implement effective campaigns.
Though the three generally provide the same services, there are a few minute differences. For example, AWeber has a great live chat option where you can speak with a Customer Solutions Specialist and ask any questions you have about your email campaign. One distinct feature of MailChimp is its app available for download that allows you to access your account on a mobile device in order to check reports, add notes about one of your subscribers to his or her profile, or send a campaign after it is completed. Constant Contact takes a very personalized approach: you are provided with your own marketing coach to help you with your practice’s needs and goals.
The Importance of Email Language
Like any other aspect of your content marketing, language in email marketing is a very important factor to consider. You will want to avoid medical jargon and speak on a level that your patients can quickly understand. This will make your messaging easy to digest, which is crucial in capturing the attention of your audience.
The email should be relatively short: peoples’ email accounts are constantly bombarded with messages, and if your message is too long, they often will not read through it. Remember that your emails will work in conjunction with other parts of your marketing strategy; you can always link to your blog or social media profiles to direct patients to more of your content so that they can review it at their discretion.
Finally, make it personal. Use the patients’ names at the start of the email – which the platform databases can help you do automatically through the use of tokens – and words like “you” that directly refer to the reader. This will help the patient feel that the email is coming from a trusted, friendly source, making them more likely to read and interact with your message.
You will also want to make sure that the email looks good on both a desktop, laptop and mobile devices, as many people today check their emails on their phones and tablets.
Device and Browser Compatibility
You will also want to make sure that the email looks good on desktop, laptop and mobile devices, as many people today check their email on their phones and tablets. Keeping the design simple and clean will allow it to look good no matter the screen size or the power of the device it’s being read on. The last thing you want is for someone to disregard your email because they’re unable to see it on their phone! It’s important to engage your audience no matter where or when they’re interacting with your content.
After determining what the email itself will consist of, you need to figure out how often and when your patients will receive these messages from your practice. First, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:
- What period(s) of the year do I tend to have the most patients?
- What period(s) of the year I tend to have the least patients?
- Should I incorporate promotions during these period(s) and notify patients via email?
- What kind of promotions will connect with my patients?
You should determine when you think it would be most effective to send emails – typically, sending emails during slow times will be help increase business at your practice.
If you’re looking to drive traffic to your practice website or to your social media profiles, you might want to send these emails biweekly and attract visitors /followers over time as your build trust. Alternatively, If you’re emailing patients about promotions and discounts during the holidays, those emails should be sent more often because they are for specific periods of the year that have a finite time limit.
For a new patient, consider emailing them soon after their first visit, welcoming them to your practice, directing them to your social media profiles and company website, and telling them that you hope they enjoyed their visit. Include links to your Facebook, Twitter, other social media profiles so that patients can connect with you and learn more about you and your practice.
In addition, if you see that a patient has not come back to your practice for a while, welcome them back with an email and remind them to come see you again. Finally, be sure to have your name and the name of your practice fully disclosed somewhere in the email, preferably below the body of the email, so that the recipients are fully aware of who sent them the message.