Move out of the delete zone with five key strategies to produce appealing messages to your patient base.
According to a recent study, 7 in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week. In addition to recall and appointment reminders, eyewear-ready notifications, and patient surveys, email is one of the most powerful tools you can use to educate your patients and create awareness of upcoming events. Many practices send monthly email blasts announcing new products, in-office food or coat drives, and invitations to special events such as a trunk show.
The email inbox has become a fierce battleground for attention. How many emails do you get every day? How many of those emails do you actually read? These effective strategies will help you get the most out of your marketing campaigns and prevent your emails from going directly into your intended recipients’ trash folders.
Follow the Rules
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 set the first national standards for email marketing. Some of the standards include providing a place where readers can opt-out of receiving future emails and requiring the sender’s address in the email. If you repeatedly send bulk emails directly from your Yahoo, Gmail or even Outlook account, then your email address could be shut down by that provider or your own Internet Service Provider for what looks like ‘spammy’ practices. This can happen quite easily if you’re sending bulk emails without using a reputable service.
Use an Email Service
Email marketing services ensure that you follow the rules by providing ready-to-use templates. They also stay on top of the latest laws and restrictions within the email legal landscape so you don’t have to. Email service providers such as Constant Contact and MailChimp are trusted resources, and they keep a good eye on their account holders to make sure everything is above board. You can also manage email lists, integrate forms and sign-ups on your website, and track email analytics.
Strong Call to Action
Begin by defining a strong call-to-action for the email. Recipients need to know exactly what they should do and what they can expect in return. For example, “Click Here for a 50% Discount on Rx Sunwear.” Keep the body of your email short. Include a brief paragraph about the benefits of Rx sunwear or a couple sentences and bullet points. Always make sure the benefits are written from the patient’s perspective and answer the question, “How will purchasing Rx sunwear benefit them?” Lastly, don’t forget the call-to-action. Keep it concise and tell the patient what you want them to do. For example, “Click on the link in this email to download a 50% discount coupon from our website.” Alternatively, the call-to-action may be: “Schedule an appointment before [INSERT DATE] to receive a 50% discount coupon at the time of your exam.”
Short Subject Lines
Subject lines are the most important elements that motivate someone to open an email. In fact, Adestra (an email service) found that subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58%. The best reason to open a message is to find a benefit within, or “What’s in it for me?” For example, “Get half-off sunwear” or “Half-off sunwear inside.” Avoid anything commonly found in the subject lines of spam, including exclamation marks, dollar signs, uppercase text, and the words “free” and “you.”
Measure Your Results
Continuous testing allows you to improve your email marketing efforts over time. Measuring click-through is a valuable tool but don’t rely on it exclusively. In addition, measure your conversion rate, which tells you how many of the recipients actually took the action you expected.
There are numerous factors to keep in mind when designing an email campaign and every single one has value. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas. There is no perfect science, only best practices to help you achieve results.
Samantha Toth is the resident Marketing Rockstar for Innereactive Media, a full-service marketing company specializing in the optical industry, in Grand Rapids, MI.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
Adestra 855-835-0471 • adestra.com
Constant Contact 855-797-4708 • constantcontact.com
MailChimp 855-797-4708 • mailchimp.com