A newsletter is an essential aspect of any email marketing strategy although certainly not the only one. Nevertheless, newsletters do form the backbone of effective digital marketing and are also an essential tool for hospitals to distribute great content to achieve subscriptions from which a database can be built for future marketing. Ultimately the objective of email marketing is to raise hospital/brand awareness and garner opted-in prospects who can be nurtured over time to eventually become new patients.
The Benefits of Email Marketing to Hospitals
- People who subscribe to newsletters are actively giving their permission to be sent future email correspondence. This is a great way of quickly establishing trust relationships and also ensures that recipients always open emails from the same source.
- By regularly distributing valuable, relevant and informative content including alerts and marketing email blasts, admissions can be significantly increased and reputations boosted.
- Building a significant database of opt-in subscribers creates an opportunity to generate advertising revenue by extending the opportunity to medical providers and suppliers.
- Email marketing drives more traffic to websites as long as there are plenty of backlinks built into the body of emails. To provide functionality on emails they have to be coded so that there are clickable areas that take the viewer directly to the relevant page or content they want more information on.
What Are the Challenges?
In an online world where there is a plethora of healthcare information and related content, it can be challenging to consistently keep subscribers and audiences interested. People are as quick to unsubscribe to email content as they are to sign up to it and they’ll do so very quickly if they don’t see any value in it. We now live very much in a ‘what’s in it for me’ culture and health consumers want instant gratification.
Keeping abreast of email marketing analytics and what kind of content is working with audiences and what isn’t, is essential for saving time in the long run. Analytics provide a detailed view of individual user activity with both emails they receive and any website page views generated from clicking on an embedded link. It’s important to track email marketing results and be proactive in improving click-through rates and website traffic.
Other Content for Hospital Email Marketing
Email marketing is dominated by the newsletter and for good reason; it’s a proven vehicle to boost profits in business and has been used to connect service providers with end users since long before the internet was invented.
However, hospitals are able to use email marketing to nurture relationships with patients in ways other than with newsletters. As an example, new patients can be greeted with a personalized email providing them with more information on their first consultation including physician information and directions to the hospital. Emails that are received directly on individuals’ smartphones or laptops welcoming them to a new healthcare facility are a great way of humanizing hospitals.
5 Best Practices for Hospital Email Marketing
#1 Consider Subject Lines Carefully
It’s particularly important in the healthcare sector to encourage people to open important emails with an engaging, patient-centric and actionable subject line. The language used on subject lines is also important to avoid ending up in spam boxes.
#2 Provide Backlinks to Websites
It’s pointless packing too much content into emails themselves, particularly when there’s a strong SEO advantage in providing plenty of links to websites, microsites or landing pages in the body of emails instead. The standard formula of a newsletter, for example, is a series of teasers giving a glimpse of featured content with an accompanying image and a URL link to the complete article.
#3 Responsive Emails Are a MUST!
Emails should always have the option to enable subscribers to read an online version in case they are having trouble viewing the content via their email account. Because the majority of people access emails using smartphones, it’s a given that all email content and any linked to it should be mobile-responsive to ensure it displays clearly and functions well on all devices.
#4 Remember People Have a Short Attention Span
It’s essential to limit email newsletters and messages to short, relevant statements that are easily digestible. In fact, visual content tends to encourage more clicks than blocks of text. If there’s too much content on the screen, most of it will be disregarded no matter how valuable it is. That’s why it’s always a better idea to host content on websites, landing pages and microsites and link to it from the body of emails.
#5 Consistent Delivery of Good Quality Content Establishes Trust
Trust is the cornerstone of the healthcare industry and people look to hospitals to ease their anxiety on sensitive issues; educate them on conditions and diseases they or their families are affected by and most importantly, provide first class quality of care. Emails are a direct link to current and future patients and so the content they include speaks volumes about the originator. Sloppy content, poor design, hit and miss delivery dates and lack of functionality can create a poor impression so it’s essential to plan ahead of writing engaging and actionable content for each email that leaves the building.