Email Marketing for Doctors: 4 Best Practices to Know

Melanie Balke
April 2, 2024

The healthcare industry is full of competition.

Healthcare professionals must battle for dominance both locally and internationally. Moreover, thanks to the growth of digital advertising, even the smallest local clinics face increased pressure from national collectives. Success comes from a combination of skill, trust, and exclusivity.

It’s a stressful situation, and the ever-growing world of healthcare marketing isn’t helping.

Fortunately, email marketing is an increasingly popular solution.

This handy tool allows users to satisfy the needs of the pickiest target audience. It works as a cheerleader and supports your healthcare practice. And — thanks to email automation — it’s a (relatively) hands-off strategy.

The Perks of Email Marketing for Doctors

A dentist working on a patient. "The Basics: The Must-Know Benefits of Emails."

Now, I won’t spend too much time discussing the benefits of healthcare email marketing. It’s been an expected facet of the healthcare industry for years; it’s nothing new. Nonetheless, I can’t proceed without emphasizing this marketing channel’s many perks.

Personalize Content Marketing

One of the greatest strengths of email marketing for doctors is its ability to truly connect with the audience.

Unlike other digital marketing channels, email marketing is an innately individual experience. While many email campaigns are bulk messages, the medium allows for incredibly specific customization. Much of this power comes from personalization, an automated process for individualizing otherwise impersonal content.

Most modern email marketing software also includes segmentation, which gives medical professionals additional control over their marketing efforts. Like personalization, segmentation individualizes an email marketing campaign, albeit on a larger scale.

Enhance the Customer Experience

These tools ultimately support email marketing’s most utilitarian feature — its ability to improve the overall customer experience.

Let me explain.

Email marketing is an individual experience. Recipients — your potential patients — enjoy one-on-one communication with your healthcare business. Extend that concept on a practical level, and use it to your advantage. Go beyond that first welcome email.

Think of email marketing as a cost-effective way to deliver on-demand alerts to your email subscribers. Outside of the occasional promotional email, many healthcare providers use inboxes to maintain a direct line of contact with their patients.

A healthcare practice needs little more than basic technical know-how to automatically send useful content, such as:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Closure updates and reminders
  • Community event alerts
  • Personalized newsletters on health-related topics
  • Registration forms and links
  • Scheduling updates

Go Above and Beyond the Competition

Those may seem like trivial additions to your marketing strategies, but I can assure you they make a huge difference.

There are over 330,000 — yes, that’s three hundred thirty thousand physician groups in the United States, and you must stand out from those other healthcare organizations.

Obviously, you’ll begin with your skills. The best medical practices are staffed by the best and most charismatic employees. They promote good health practices and dutifully attend to their patients. However, your skill can only get you so far.

Eventually, you must make room in your marketing budget to hone your online presence. You must build your social media channels and create a digital footprint. Doing so gives you an edge, placing you above other medical professionals when prospective patients browse the web for new healthcare providers.

1. Obtain and Use a Professional Email Address

A church in County Cork, Ireland. "Tip #1: Use a Professional Email Address."

You should begin your online expansion with a well-established email address.

More specifically, you’ll want a professional email address — not a free account! Also known as a branded email, these accounts will bear your practice’s name and confirm their validity as a marketing channel.

Why Your Marketing Emails Need a Professional Domain

Consumer-wise, a branded marketing channel is all about optics. Subscribers are more likely to trust “” than “”

The first conveys a sense of gravitas and authority. More importantly, the associated domain name directly ties the marketing efforts to Doctor Touden’s medical practice. It’s also less likely to be caught by spam filters, ensuring the target audience receives those critical updates.

Conversely, the latter email address is seen as a lesser source. It lacks branding and has no clear ties to Doctor Touden’s healthcare organization. This tiny omission is enough to deter tech-savvy website visitors, who will likely see the email campaign as little more than spam.

Notably, the emails may say the exact same thing. They may even come from the same source. However, it’s human nature to judge a book by its cover. In many ways, it’s safer to do so in today’s digital landscape. Failing to vet one’s inbox is a surefire way to compromise a computer, after all!

2. Obtain Permission and Follow the Law

The Supreme Court building, photographed in 1943. "Tip #2: Know Your Legal Requirements."

Now, my second tip may seem obvious.

“Of course,” you’re probably saying, “I have no reason to do otherwise.”

And that assuredness is part of the problem. Few doctors are simultaneous experts in online legal technicalities. Even fewer will know the practical implications of modern email marketing laws. That’s fine, but it doesn’t excuse your marketing team from potential wrongdoing.

Above all else, your first implementation concern must be the legality and compliance of your email communications. This point is particularly important for healthcare providers who deal with sensitive personal data.

Use Pop-Up Forms and Clear Language

One of the most prevalent email marketing problems is what I call the “wishy-washy language trap.”

You’ve probably seen something similar on other websites. You visit the page and are immediately met with pop-up forms asking for your email address. They’ll have a clear value proposition, but you won’t see specifics about their email marketing campaigns. For all you know, you’re signing up for hourly email updates about the website administrator’s pet parakeet!

And that’s a little bit illegal.

In the United States, Federal law doesn’t require explicit consent. However, California legislation mandates informed and explicit — not implicit — consent. Ultimately, thanks to the sweeping scope of the CCPA, your safest bet is to adhere to the stricter legislative measures.

So, create a detailed opt-in form and define the specifics of your email marketing campaigns. Your honesty will net you more leads and begin every consumer relationship with a sense of implicit trust.

At the same time, don’t forget to add a legally compliant footer to every email campaign! You’ll want to include your contact information and an easy-to-use unsubscribe link. (It may seem advantageous to do otherwise, but holding unwilling subscribers hostage will actually hurt your key metrics.)

3. Track Engagement and Create Rules

A Nintendo NES controller. "Tip #3: Track Your Engagement."

Once you’re assured of your legal compliance, it’s time to start sending messages.

But first, you’ll want to craft guidelines. Get ahead of the list hygiene curve by defining who receives your health care email marketing. Determine your definition of active patients and stick to it.

The Importance of List Hygiene

It’s not enough to acquire email addresses; you must also keep users engaged and entertained. Otherwise, you’ll waste money on ineffective and unopened healthcare marketing.

On the one hand, constant contact is your goal. You want to maintain an open line of communication and assure potential patients of their value. However, you can’t overload subscribers. You must strike a balance between keeping users informed and giving users personal space.

Your ideal recipient is engaged and eager to receive your email campaigns. On the opposite end of the sliding scale is the unengaged user, the perfect target for re-engagement campaigns. Should those campaigns fail, you’ll want to remove the recipient from your mailing list.

4. Let the Pros Handle Your Subject Line Woes

Overlapping leaves. "Tip #4: Hire Email Marketing Professionals."

My ultimate tip is to consider hiring an email marketing partner.

I founded The Email Marketers to give everyone — including medical services — a chance to succeed. I hand-picked my team of marketing pros, and they’re ready to deliver high-quality, relevant content to your subscribers. They’ll handle all the tricky tactics, including subscribers’ segmentation and welcome email flows. They’ll optimize your email marketing strategy and give you more time to handle what matters most.

Schedule a free strategy session to see how my team has nurtured countless businesses’ email marketing strategies.

You’ll get a fully customized plan to optimize your targeted emails and see how an on-demand team can amplify the impact of your healthcare email marketing strategy. I also encourage you to browse the rest of my blog, where you’ll find many more tips to boost your email marketing efforts.