Dos and Dont’s of Email Marketing

By: Carla Rivera

Dos & Don'ts of Email Marketing

A new study conducted by Adobe found that the average white-collar worker spends approximately 6 hours a day on their email.  It doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re doing, they check their emails constantly—while watching TV, from bed, during vacations, etc.  Email has become the way we communicate with each other not only in the workspace, but it’s our preferred method of contact, period.

How Often We Check Emails Infographic

With technology evolving so rapidly, we have to find new ways to implement these changes into our business practice.  Nowadays, more businesses are taking advantage of email marketing in order to communicate very specific messages to their audience.  Whether it’s to current or potential clients, email has become one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, especially in the healthcare industry.  But this doesn’t come without its own set of challenges.

Even though no two types of businesses are alike, there are several dos and don’ts that apply to all email marketing.  In this case, we will give you a bit more insight into email marketing in the healthcare industry.  Here it goes!

Dos:

  1. Do target the right people→ Email is a great way to direct a message to a specific audience. Remember that it’s not just about what message you want to communicate, it’s also about who you communicate that message to.  Always segmentate audiences into groups based on the targeted message.

Quick Tip!  You don’t want to send out an email to your entire list of patients to “book an appointment” when some of them may have just visited the doctor’s office.  Separate that into two lists: one with a call-to-action (CTA) to “book an appointment now” and the other as a “follow-up” to their recent appointment.

  1. Do personalize→ A person is more likely to open an email that comes from someone they know. Adding dynamic content to your emails is a great way to show your clients that you know them by personalizing the message with information that pertains to them.  Dynamic content uses the information that you already have for a person to only show content that will be relevant, without having to create separate email campaigns.  Because the message will be highly targeted, this will immediately get the attention of the person who is reading it which increases the chance that they’ll respond to a CTA.

Quick Tip!  This is a great tool to use if you have separate content based on the person’s gender or age.

  1. Do capture their attention with the subject line & pre-header→ Coming up with an email’s subject and pre-header is just as important as the content itself. Think of this as your first impression.  What can I say that will entice the reader?  Not to be confused with using words that sound like you are trying to sell them something—these can be picked up by the server as spam and that’s it… they’ll never read it.  Keep the subject forthright and honest!  Same rule applies to the pre-header—give them a snippet of what they’re about to read and make it intriguing; it should complement the subject line.  This will engage the reader and will set your email apart from the 50+ emails they may get throughout the day.

Quick Tip!  What makes a great subject line?  Click here for a few examples.

  1. Do create one CTA per email campaign→ An email campaign should only contain one very clear and brief call to action. This will more than likely result in an immediate response.  It should be so strong that the reader knows exactly what the next step is.

Quick Tip!  Make sure you follow these steps if you have any doubts on what your next CTA should be.

  1. Do add shareable content→ Yes, the purpose of an email campaign is to communicate a message, but why not go further than that?  By adding a photo, video, infographic, etc., we are giving the reader something that he or she might like to share with their friends and family.  Take advantage of the free marketing that is social media!

Quick Tip!  People are more likely to share a video on social media than any other content.  Tie a video from your YouTube channel to the email!

  1. Do create tracking links→ Creating tracking links for whatever analytics platform you are using will allow you to notice behavioral patterns and collect information and metrics. This is one of the most important email marketing tools that you can use, mostly because it will give you all the information you want to know about that campaign, especially when it involves a CTA.

Quick Tip!  Tracking links can also be linked to your website, social media, email list subscription, future mailings opt-outs, etc.

  1. Do follow CAN-SPAM laws/regulations→ It’s the law! Make sure you read up and save yourself a headache (or a lawsuit).

Quick Tip!  Have more than one person on your team writing email campaigns?  Make sure you include this information in your practice’s training program.

  1. Do use alt text for every image→ Remember how annoying it is when an image just won’t load on your phone when reading an email? This is exactly what alt text is for.  First, analyze what the image is trying to communicate and then describe it in 5—15 words; this will get the point across in case the image doesn’t load.

Quick Tip!  This is also a great place to add search engine keywords.

 

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t forget to make it mobile responsive→ Since approximately 88% of people check their email on their phones, always design for mobile first. Both the template design and email content should be mobile responsive.

Quick Tip!  Take into consideration where someone’s finger will fall when you’re deciding on where to put links in the email.

  1. Don’t write a long email→ As we stated before, always keep your message short and sweet, and focus on one CTA at a time.  The average person spends 15-20 seconds reading a single email before they scroll to the next one.  The faster you engage the reader with a clear and concise message, the less likely it is that you’ll bore them, which equals less unsubscribes.

Quick Tip!  An email campaign always has a purpose.  Find out what it is and how you can make it brief.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a lightbox pop-up→ You know that little box that pops up as soon as you go into a website? Most people assume that readers find them annoying, but studies have shown that it’s a great and effective way to increase your list of subscribers by capturing more emails, therefore reducing the bounce rate.  Granted, this is not added to the actual email, but somewhere in your email you will have a link that will direct the reader through a CTA to a website—that’s where you add the lightbox pop-up!

Lightbox Pop-up

Quick Tip!  Creating an e-mail sign-up form is by far the best use for a lightbox.

  1. Don’t send out until you test→ Every online email platform will give you the option of testing the email prior to sending it. Use this option, always!  Test out your email in desktop and mobile, as well as every popular email client (i.e. Outlook, Gmail, etc.).

Quick Tip!  Make this process simple by creating a “Test” group and including several emails from different email clients.

  1. Don’t add big graphics or photos→ It is always a great idea to add either a graphic or photo to your email. When adding an image, keep in mind that most people check their email on their phone—the bigger the image, the slower the download and the higher the possibility of the image being blocked by the server.

Quick Tip!  It is recommended that the header image be between 600px—700px and any image in the email content be around 480px.

  1. Don’t forget to include relevant links→ The name says it all—email marketing. Take this time to also include several relevant links that are tied to your practice, such as: social media, company website, contact email, etc.

Quick Tip!  Place these links front and center.  They should be spotted easily by the reader.

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