No matter what healthcare niche you’re in, email marketing for healthcare is about driving patient engagement.
Besides your healthcare website, email is the only other marketing asset you can own completely. The contacts on your list are yours. And more importantly, they are people who want to hear from you. When they signed up to receive email from you, they literally asked you to send them email. How often does that happen?
In addition, email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels out there.
Despite this, there are far too many healthcare professionals out there who still don’t use email marketing for their healthcare practice. And while health practitioners have to be certain to remain HIPAA compliant, there’s really no reason not to use email marketing as part of your healthcare practice. In fact, by not using email marketing to communicate with patients (or clients), practitioners could be letting patients down.
To help you be certain that you’re not letting your patients down, we’re going to go over why email marketing is important for healthcare providers, what email campaigns are the most important for healthcare practitioners to automate, and how to keep your patients informed with ongoing communication.
Why healthcare email marketing is important for your practice
Just before COVID-19 hit the world, I had found a new general practitioner. Having moved into the area more than a year ago, it took me nearly a full year to find an office that not only fit with my insurance but, more importantly, a doctor with whom I felt fairly comfortable with.
During my first visit, I signed up for every possible way for them to contact me. I didn’t want to miss a single communication about my health. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic surged in the U.S., I expected to receive an influx of email communications from my new doctor regarding how to stay healthy, CDC guidelines, and of course, information about how their office was handling the situation.
I figured that my doctor would send me all the information that I needed to know in order to keep myself healthy during the pandemic.
What I received from my doctor’s office was nothing. Not one single communication.
You know what I’m looking for now? That’s right, a new doctor.
This is just my example of why email marketing for healthcare is so important. Your patients and clients depend on you for information. They’re trusting you with their lives and communicating information through your email marketing is a smarter way to make sure that you don’t let them down.
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How to get started with healthcare email marketing
Let’s face it, we’ve all got a lot on our plates. Automating some of your email communications can not only help you to get the right information to the right people at the right time but it can also take a couple of things off of your to-do list.
There are several types of email marketing communications that you should automate when you launch your healthcare email marketing strategy. The first, and most important, is your welcome series.
Your contacts are the most highly engaged with you when they are new to your practice, so take advantage of that high level of engagement and send them a short series of welcome emails.
Welcome email #1
The first email you send to your new contact should always be what we call a welcome/delivery email. The welcome/delivery email should be sent out immediately after a patient signs up to receive email marketing from you.
This first welcome email should be short. It should welcome your new subscriber to your practice and answer a few FAQ’s. Be sure to let them know important introductory information, such as:
- What to expect on their first visit
- EMR signup procedures
- What to expect in the future as far as communication and visits to your practice
Welcome email #2
The second email in your welcome series should be about connecting with your patients and, more importantly, how they can connect with you.
This email should invite them to connect with you on your social media channels, through secure EMR messages, or using secure text messages (if applicable).
When your patients begin to interact with you on social media, not only does it keep your practice top of mind, but those interactions start to reach their connections who may decide that you’re the best choice for them as well.
Always keep in mind that your practice cannot communicate about a patient’s condition on social media or any public forum to comply with privacy laws.
Beyond the welcome email
Besides the welcome series, which is sent at the beginning of your relationship with your patient, there are other types of emails you can automate, depending on your practice.
Apart from some of the standard automated emails like appointment reminders, birthday or anniversary cards, and annual check-up reminders, there are some special series that you can set up specifically for target groups within your practice.
Depending on your practice, you can set up a series for pregnancy health, newborn health, child care and other new baby-related healthcare information.
Are you a surgeon? Think about setting up an automated pre or post-surgery series on what to do to prepare for surgery, what to expect at the hospital, aftercare, things to expect or look for post-surgery or during recovery, or where your patient can find additional resources to help them get back to themselves again.
If you’re a physical therapist, massage therapist, or sports therapist, you can create and target market series’ for stretching, injury recovery, and maybe even stress reduction. The last goes for psychologists, psychiatrists and general practitioners as well.
The possibilities are endless and I’m sure, if you put your mind to it, you can think of several email campaigns or series’ which you can create now to send out to your patients as they enter different stages in their healthcare (you can find out how to segment your contacts for target marketing here).
TIP: Check out more email campaign ideas for Healthcare.
Keep the communication going
Once you’ve established communication with your patients (or clients) by sending out a welcome series, it’s important to keep that communication going. So, plan on sending an email campaign out at least once a month.
Take some time and brainstorm what types of information you can share with your clients. Remember, you don’t have to create all of your content from scratch. You only have to give proper attribution to the original author.
So, feel free to share information that you gleaned from educational seminars and blogs that focus on trending healthcare topics and events. Think about using national holidays to spur conversations about healthcare-related topics or issues. And, of course, always share helpful healthcare tips and information that relates to your practice.
What to remember
When conducting email marketing for healthcare, there are certain things to keep in mind.
- Always remain HIPAA compliant
- Stick to the 80/20 rule (80% helpful information and/or entertainment and 20% “sales”)
- Consistency is key (always send your correspondence on a regular basis — same day, same time — every time)
Now that you know why it’s important to include email marketing as part of your healthcare marketing strategy, what email campaigns are imperative to automate, and how to keep the communication going, spend some time thinking about what other email campaigns you can automate and what kind of information you can share with your patients.
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