Maybe it’s a bit of a surprise to you, but email marketing is far from dead and there are actually many things you should consider doing in 2019 to sharpen your game on email.

For us, email marketing is an important component of the 360-degree marketing approach we recommend for all clients. It’s not just about your website. Or your social media. Or your paid ads. Just like your wealth manager tells you, you need a highly diversified portfolio when it comes to online marketing too.

Email marketing can be a particularly lucrative marketing investment. People who take advantage of email offers on average spend over twice as much as those who don’t receive email any offers, and ROI (return on investment) estimates for email marketing efforts are currently at 32:1.

Don’t forget the importance of customer retention, too. Email consistently ranks as the top driver of customer retention and the way most consumers prefer to hear from the businesses they support.

Now that you’ve been schooled on some of the why of email marketing, we’re going to share 7 how’s to help you make the most of this platform.

1. Grow Your List in New Ways

You should already be asking folks who use your website contact forms to sign up for your email newsletter. That’s an easy one. But there are so many more creative ways to encourage signups!

  • Hello Bar – This fun widget installs right on your website and gives you a variety of ways to highlight your newsletter signup. Choose a header bar, popup down in the corner of the page, mobile feature blocks, and more. We’ve found subscriber rates on a site can jump by 300% or more (not a misprint) once this is installed.
  • Social Signup Campaign – If you’re doing right by your social fans, many of them will want to keep in touch with you over email too. It’s good practice to remind people on your social channels every quarter that you have a newsletter and incentivize them signing up. For instance, you may say that if you get 50 signups during the month, you’re giving away a med spa treatment to one of the new people who signed up.
  • Front Office Intake – It’s super easy to add space on your check-in form and ask patients to provide their email address if they want to receive news and special offers. Then pass a list of addresses to your web vendor each month to get added before your next newsletter blast.

2. Segment Your List

If your email subscriber list is large, you may be able to break that list up and send more targeted emails to a subset of your audience. According to MailChimp, segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14% higher than non-segmented campaigns, and click-through rates are twice as high.

Segmented emails include targeted info customized to a subset of your patients. The point is to deliver relevant, personalized content that is going to be particularly interesting to the group you’re targeting. If your email blasts consistently don’t have anything to offer for a good chunk of your subscribers, you are inevitably going to get a lot of unsubscribes or even worse, having your emails marked as spam.

Segmenting may sound good, but it’s also going to involve some legwork on your part. You’ll have to match email addresses to patient information in your EMR, and then decide how you want to segment. For instance, would it be good to send a separate monthly email just to your male patients? Or some sweeter specials to patients who haven’t visited in the past 6 months? You have many ways to slice and dice. The stats show that your extra effort to customize your message can pay off big.

3. Put Specials Front and Center

There are two schools of thought on this one. Many of our clients drop their monthly specials and offers at the end of their newsletter, hoping that readers will browse through other updates and announcements and maybe learn a thing or two before seeing the discounts. On the other hand, a few feature their offers right up front, because they know that’s a big reason for readers to open the email.

If you’re in the camp that likes to bury the specials, we’d encourage you to try touting them up higher for a few months and see how that impacts your open rates. A lot of our clients don’t love the idea of getting readers used to big special offers every month. And we don’t blame you. But at the same time, your subscribers have to have a reason to be excited every month when they see your name show up in their Inbox. If it’s not specials, it has to be some other very intriguing content.

4. Leverage Your Social Content

Speaking of content, we all know how much of a struggle it can be to think of what you want to tell your newsletter subscribers each month. We find that things go a lot smoother when you include a few “best of” posts from your social accounts in the past month. It’s a nice reminder to subscribers that they should be following you on social media, and it’s easy to see which of your posts connected best thanks to native analytics in Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

5. Start Texting

OK, this one’s not strictly an email marketing tactic but it’s related. While some people still regularly check email, most people are using text messaging as a primary form of communication. You may think it’s intrusive, but in reality, it’s becoming more accepted and even in some cases preferred for people to get text alerts from their favorite businesses.

Many of the best practices we’re discussing here work quite well for text message marketing too. If you’re not already doing text message marketing, we can walk you through what’s involved and strategize on the best ways to build your list.

6. Consider Automation

The robots are coming! In this case, that can be a good thing – you can set up a set of emails to go out based on predefined parameters. Once configured, email automation is the ultimate “set it and forget it.”

Almost half of all businesses use some form of email automation. It can be a great way to connect with potential patients who are earlier on in the decision cycle. As an example, let’s say your practice is offering a new body contouring treatment. You could offer up a free fact sheet for folks who provide their email address. They’ll then get the fact sheet emailed to them, and in addition they’ll be set up to receive a couple automated emails asking how they liked the fact sheet, whether you can answer any questions, and maybe lastly offering a discount on the body contouring treatment.

It’s up to you how to structure the automation piece. We’ve seen automation campaigns bring in hundreds of new email addresses and result in dozens of conversions – leads that you very well may never had without the automation campaign in place.

7. Consider Including Video

Adding an interactive element like video to your email marketing can help to keep things interesting. And it can help to drive conversions – Campaign Monitor says that click-thru rate increases by 50% for emails that include a video. Sharing a video of your doctor introducing a new treatment, a patient talking about her experience, or a morphing before/after of a facial rejuvenation patient is a great idea.

On the flip side, while the big providers like iOS, Apple Mail, and Outlook allow embedded video, keep in mind that not all email systems will allow users to play videos. The easiest workaround is to use a photo of your video with a play button on top, which links out to your video when clicked. Another option for very short video is to embed an automated GIF, which can be very attention grabbing.

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