Email marketing is, by far, your most effective means of marketing your practice in terms of return on investment. This is because of several factors. For one, many software options are extremely affordable.
With having a monthly fixed cost for your platform, you are able to really get as much or as little out of it as you put into it. The truth is that there’s a lot of bad information out there about successful email marketing.
That’s no surprise, however, as email marketing, like anything else in the digital world, is constantly evolving. The tactics will change from time to time, but the overall strategy is what needs to stand the test of time. And with that, we’ll get into our 3 tips for maximizing your return on email marketing.
1. Find out what your patients are looking for.
So let’s say that you have a solid base of patients in your practice. If you’re looking to get more patients that are similar to your existing ones, then you should ask those patients what sorts of content they might actually read.
This is some of the most effective market research you could do. They are people paying for your services, and accordingly, what attracts them will likely attract those similar to them.
It can be really simple to put this information together. You could email out a survey with a special incentive for filling it out. Usually, people have to be incentivized to respond. There are always a few people who will always fill out surveys, but you shouldn’t just assume that your patients will want to.
We all have busy lives, and you should keep that in mind whenever you’re contacting existing or prospective patients. Have something they’re looking for, even if it’s a $25 Amazon gift card, or a contest to win something bigger.
What this does is give you an idea of what these people will actually read or watch, as well as what they won’t.
Just make sure to keep your survey brief. The amount of user engagement tends to drop off after a certain point. Think of something that’s fewer than 10 questions, and offer pre-populated responses, possibly with an option to enter their own answer. This simply helps to ensure that you’ve done your due diligence in knowing what to say and how to say it.
The best way to ensure that your email marketing is useful and effective is to make sure that you’re writing things people want to read. Use these as guidelines, not law, and make sure to ask again every so often when your content gets a little stale.
2. A/B test everything you plan to send out.
The truth about email marketing is that each and every email list is unique. The collection of email addresses you have is unique to your practice. This could mean patient emails who have given permission for you to contact them as well as people who sign up on your lead form (although make sure they opt into receiving your emails).
The first goal is to improve your open rates. If someone doesn’t open the email, the entire content after the subject line is a waste. As such, you get one shot to show them something that they will actively choose to open.
With this in mind, think about each and every subject line that you write. What’s another way to convey the same information, but in a different way? Start out your initial testing by making the subjects very different. Then, send half of your list one and half of your list the other.
You can also use A/B testing features in many email service providers, or ESPs, which will send this test to a portion of your list, then automatically send the winner to the rest.
This is a good way to go when you have a large enough list. But if your email list is only numbering in the low hundreds, you might not get very useful data from this set. If your list is this low, we would recommend splitting your list in two, and testing this way until it gets beyond 500.
This way, you’re getting actionable data from a large enough data set. As you go, you should be recording the winners, and trying to figure out the insights from the process. One test won’t necessarily tell you much, but several tests will show you a trend.
Make a note of these trends and use them to write better subject lines in the future. Then, once your open rate has gotten to a minimum of 15%, start A/B testing the copy in the emails to improve the click rates in your calls-to-action (CTAs).
This might seem like a long process, but this is how great email lists are built, grown, and eventually monetized. It’s a great way to remind patients about the value of the services you offer, and ensures that you are helping them, through your advice and content, live their best lives.
3. Segment your email list.
Segmenting your email list means breaking it down by groups. This might seem vague, and that’s because it is. How you use tagging and segments is really up to you. The problem here is that many people get so lost, they don’t even bother with breaking down their list into groups.
For many dentists, the best way to segment lists is by interest or focus. For instance, if you have patients that are mainly recovering from injuries, auto accidents, etc, they can often be tagged and segmented accordingly. Then, you can send this particular group, or segment, specific content on their particular issue.
There are plenty of other categories, too, like nutrition, exercise, supplements, and general information that encompasses everything.
One of the best ways to determine this is to have tags automatically placed on email addresses that click particular links or buttons in your email. For instance, you might send your first email with four articles, each one corresponding to a different category.
When someone clicks one of the categories to read the article, they can then be tagged by your ESP. Different ESPs operate with different particulars here, but for the most part, it’s a similar structure, just sometimes they use different terminology. The strategy is still the same, though.
Then, when this is set up, you can send unique offers and specials to people based on their actual user behavior. People will often tell you one thing, but then act a different way. This process gets that out of the way, and ensures that people are getting what they actually want, which can often be different from what they say they want individually.
It isn’t always an easy process, and it can be complicated to set up and operate efficiently. If you have any questions about email marketing, or any other factor of digital marketing, please feel free to reach out to us today using the contact form below.