Face it – email is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Don’t believe me?
In this digital age, email is critical for all healthcare practices that are looking to improve and enhance patient engagement, thereby increasing ROI. Studies show that patients who visit websites through email marketing tend to set more appointments.
Emails sent directly to the patients’ inbox keep your patients informed, is an effective way to market your services and products and helps get the word out about your medical practice. It also helps develop a sense of trust in your practice. Through email marketing, you can also build and improve relationships with potential and existing patients by allowing you to speak to them directly.
Have you wondered how email marketing looks from the patient’s point of view? According to a study, patients prefer email from the practices they are connected with over other mediums. Nearly 95% of professionals use email, making it ideal for professional communication.
Here are 6 ways you can utilize email to help gain more appointments:
1. Lead GenerationEncouraging website visitors to sign up to your email list is one of the best ways to generate more leads. You can also ask your subscribers to forward your emails to family and friends and to share the love on social media.
2. Higher Conversion RateDriving conversions should be the #1 priority for eye-care professionals online. Did you know that the average click-through rate of email marketing is six times more effective than social media? You will be able to track the patient's journey, from receiving his or her first email to actually scheduling an appointment.
3. Lower CostsEverybody like paying less. One of the most significant advantages of marketing through email is its low-cost nature. No need for print, postage or advertising. Emails can be paid for monthly with unlimited email plans.
4. Better Return on InvestmentEmail marketing has the ability to outperform the vast majority of marketing channels. According to a study, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is about $44. Better yet, you can track the performance and impact of each email, enabling you to calculate the ROI immediately.
5. Digital Marketing IntegrationYou can also integrate email marketing with internal systems such as CRM, website analytics and social media. This will enable you to understand and profile your patients to see the impact of emails with other marketing channels.
6. Email AutomationAutomation - possibly my favorite word. It can save you time and simplify many of the marketing or operational tasks. For instance, you can automate when a patient completes an action to trigger an email alert which will insert him or her into a 7-email drip campaign.
Best Practices for your Email Marketing Campaigns
In an age of constantly-evolving social platforms, email continues to be a reliable digital marketing tool that connects with all demographics. However, email marketing is not just about quickly creating a message and hitting “send.” Connecting effectively and consistently with your prospective patient base requires a thought-out strategy and careful implementation.
The following tips will help you ensure that your optometry marketing campaigns are as effective as possible:
1. SecurityOne of the most significant differences between healthcare in general and other industries is the importance of privacy. Never forget that even a vague message can be viewed as personal information by many people. Most patients worry about the data that healthcare providers possess, considering it private information. The key to long-term healthcare marketing success is trust. You should start with ensuring that all your platforms and processes are secure. Also, depending on your interest in email segmentation, you may want to look into email marketing tools that are specifically HIPAA-compliant.
2. Build opt-in listsWhen it comes to list building, understand that quality is more important than quantity. Growing your email list through buying databases or swapping information with other practices may seem like a good idea. Stay away. Building your email list where patients specifically agree to receive your personal email communications is certainly more time-consuming, but it is the most sustainable approach to successful email marketing. Patients that intentionally subscribed to your practice emails will invariably be more engaged and will remain subscribed. Additionally, the easiest way to ruin your reputation as a trustful professional is to send emails without permission. Also, after building your opt-in list, make sure to keep it safe! Sharing this list with other marketers may undo all of your hard work.
3. Email FrequencySending too many emails too often may the biggest mistake marketers make. A study showed that when patients were asked why they unsubscribed from receiving communications from their doctors or healthcare facilities, many said the main reason was too many emails! If you want to maintain patient engagement and ensure that your email lists remain stable, be mindful of email frequency. Additionally, don't send too many promotional emails. Limited-time offers may help in the short term, but in the long run, you will probably end up losing patients.
4. Embrace AutomationMost email services let you automate when emails are sent out, making it possible to send emails to different people, depending on their preferences. Many services also allow you to split-test various elements of the emails, and they let you structure emails in a way that one event triggers another, thereby allowing for a different and personalized experience for each patient depending on which action they take. These featured can be incredible timesavers - try to make effective use of them.
5. Care for your patients!One of the biggest advantages healthcare emails have over most other verticals is that the vast majority of patients care about their health and want to learn from their medical professional. No need for convincing. Try to think of every email as an opportunity to educate the recipient. You can consider providing links to valuable medical information on your website, encouraging your email list to follow your social media channels and share your messages with family and friends who might find the information useful.
6. Time your emails correctlyAccording to research, there are times during the day that are better to send emails than others, depending on the nature of your business. Here are some quick rules of thumb:
Email is not dead yet!
Email marketing is here to stay, at least for the time being. It, therefore, must be a part of your overall eye-care marketing strategy. By using email marketing as a tool for generating leads, you can interact with patients on a more personal level, driving your practice growth. Additionally, email marketing offers direct communication with past, present and future patients.