Email marketing can sometimes feel intimidating and even challenging, especially if you are in healthcare. Besides industry-specific requirements, consider best practices that encourage your leads to sign up and not unsubscribe.
If you have never performed healthcare marketing before, you have come to the right page. We will guide you through five steps to get you started.
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5 Steps to Launch and Grow Hospital Email Marketing
The basics of most digital marketing strategies, including medical email marketing, are rinse, dry, and repeat, with a few significant optimizations in between. That is why you should get the framework right the first time.
Hospitals that have never tried to use emails to engage and keep their customers can use this list as a starting point for a plan.
1. Set the Tone with a Clear Branding
Your targeted leads receive tons of emails daily. How do you entice them to read yours? How do you keep them looking forward to checking your newsletters, booking an appointment, or reading your wellness tips?
The answer lies in your brand.
Finding your unique voice in the middle of online noise is difficult, so use these questions as your guidelines:
- What kind of hospital are you running? Do you cater only to specific procedures, such as emergencies, or do you specialize in a specific area of medicine?
- What are your mission, vision, and core values? Do you provide affordable healthcare in rural areas?
- What impression do you want your target market to have of your hospital? Do you want them to see you as caring, friendly, or innovative?
- Where do you see your hospital in the next few years?
- What healthcare providers do you have? How do you describe them?
- If you already have patients, what do they say about your facility?
Your brand is the north star for every part of your healthcare campaign, even the smallest ones. These include the tone of emails, visuals, and templates.
2. Define Your Target Market
According to Digital Authority Partners (DAP), personalization is the key to your readers’ hearts. But achieving it can be tough if you and your subscribers are not a good match. You can avoid this problem by determining your audience even before you build a mailing list.
Here is how to do it:
- Identify who is in your target market. Are you catering to a certain demographic or location?
- Go back to your brand. If you are a trauma hospital whose unique selling proposition (USP) is its 24/7 service, then you should target people living in a certain radius who need emergency medical care.
- Find out what the market needs from your hospital. What are the challenges your target market deals with daily? Is it pain, accessibility, or affordability?
- Study your competition. Find out what marketing strategies they use for their campaigns. How do their newsletters look like, or what is the tone of their emails? Are they friendly or professional?
- Create a buyer’s persona. You can use a framework called the “5W1H” to construct your persona. Think about who they are, what they do, when they need healthcare services, where they find information about hospitals, why they are looking for doctors and treatments, and how you will help them.
3. Build Your List
You are ready to launch and build a mailing list now that you have your target audience and branding. But first, what is this list about?
A mailing list is a database of contacts with the same interests. This includes prospects, leads, and customers willing to receive emails from you. The goal is to get these people to sign up and receive your emails.
The good news is that many strategies can work wonders. Here are seven options:
- Add a sign-up form on your hospital website.
- Partner with other healthcare facilities, nursing homes, or clinics.
- Organize an event and ask people to sign up.
- Provide incentives for registrants, such as discounts or free healthcare consultations.
- Include a call to action (CTA) in all of your social media posts.
- Hold a webinar and ask participants to sign up for your list.
- Invite people from a forum or group to join your mailing list.
You can focus on two or all approaches. Whatever you pick, do not forget these four golden rules:
- Review industry regulations about patient privacy. Know what you can collect and even share on your emails. Know the different ways to secure the information.
- Make sure your opt-in process is simple, clear, and above board. Provide a way for people to easily unsubscribe if they wish.
- Be clear on what you plan to do with the information. Will you send them discounts, new services, or any other valuable material?
- Collect first-party data. In other words, get the information you need yourself. Do not outsource it, buy the information, or upload special codes on other websites.
- Match the mailing list with subscription intent. People curious about what your hospital can do might want to sign up for newsletters about promotions, events, and blog posts. Those needing a specialist might want to join emails about new doctors or treatments.
4. Start Crafting
Create the content now that you have your list. The great thing about email marketing is that your choices for content types are abundant. It can be as simple as a welcome series or as comprehensive as an interactive quiz or FAQ page. You can even mix and match them.
What you should learn is how to power up your content so that it gets the most opens, clicks, and conversions. Here are three tips for crafting powerful emails:
- Use visuals. Images, videos, infographics, or GIFs make your content stand out from the rest. They are also helpful in conveying complex information quickly to your readers.
- Write a captivating subject line. Your subject line will determine if your emails get opened or not. Use words that pique curiosity, such as “surprise” or “exclusive.”
- Segment your emails according to user interests. People on a mailing list might have different needs and interests. Segmenting allows you to expend more effort in crafting personalized messages for them, increasing your chances of getting higher engagement rates.
- Set up an email automation system. It automates emails in the background and establishes workflows that you can use based on user behavior. This is an effective way to send timely emails and nurture your leads until they become customers.
- Optimize for mobile devices. More than 50% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. Ensure your content is responsive and formatted to give readers the best possible experience.
5. Track and Measure Your Email Performance
Tracking and measuring your email performance will help you determine what works and what needs improvement. Here are a few metrics that you can analyze:
- Open rate. It is the percentage of recipients who opened your emails. Low open rates usually mean that people do not find your content interesting or relevant. It could also suggest problems with your subject lines or technical issues, such as incorrect HTML coding.
- Click-through rate (CTR). It quantifies the number of people who clicked on links in your emails. Lower CTRs could mean that your content lacks clarity and direction. Or it might be because you are sending too many emails at once or not tailoring them to user interests.
- Conversion rate. It refers to people who completed a task after clicking your link. These include scheduling an appointment, inquiring about a service, downloading a brochure, or donating. Low conversion rates could mean that users do not trust your website or do not find what they need on it. Your CTAs may also be ineffective.
- Unsubscribe rate. It indicates the number of people who opt out of your list. If you have high unsubscribe rates, it might be time to rethink your content. You might be sending too many emails, or the content may not be relevant enough for your readers.
Many platforms help you track email performance for free or for a small fee. Whatever your choice, make sure it offers the metrics you need. Doing so will make sure that your content is effective and relevant.
Done properly, email marketing can be an invaluable asset for any hospital or healthcare provider. Understanding your audience, crafting relevant content, and tracking performance metrics can boost your engagement rates and lead conversions.
This guide sets your hospital email marketing plan on the right path. But to refine it, consider working with digital marketing professionals who can help you fine-tune the details.