What to Know About Email Marketing for Healthcare

Melanie Balke
November 29, 2023

Healthcare email marketing may not be the first thing you think of when you’re trying to grow your business, but it should be!

This robust marketing channel has the power to deliver targeted content with little more than some behind-the-scenes development and clever email automation. It’s an all-in-one package of acquisition, retention, and conversion. And it can be your new best friend.

Today, I’m diving into the wild world of email marketing for healthcare professionals! Join me! Keep scrolling to learn more about the benefits of targeted emails and how they’ll supercharge your healthcare marketing strategy.

The Benefits of a Robust Healthcare Email Marketing Strategy

Assorted blister packs. “The Perks: Amplify Your ROI With Emails.”

I’ll start with the perks.

Now, I’ve already dedicated multiple posts to the financial benefits of email marketing, so we’ll set that perk aside. Instead, I want to focus on the impacts of email marketing on your patients.

Healthcare providers may be businesses, but the health and well-being of every patient is the heart and soul of the industry. Sick and dissatisfied patients make for poor supporters, after all! Delivering luxury-grade service and attention is more than a nicety; it’s a requirement.

And I can already hear the crowd pushing back!

“But,” you may be saying, ”how can something as simple as email marketing promote anything in the healthcare industry? It’s so simple, so pedestrian. What good can it do?”

Well, theoretical reader, I’m glad you asked!

The Power of Audience Selection

I’ll start with the most significant of benefits. It’s no secret that a good email marketing strategy relies on personalized content. That ability to connect through constant contact has endeared this marketing medium to every industry under the sun — including software, real estate, travel, and more! So, it’s only reasonable (and correct) to assume its powers can be used for healthcare marketing.

Setting aside the legality of things, email marketing remains one of the simplest and fastest ways to connect with consumers. More importantly, it lets businesses tap into increasingly specific markets. If, for instance, your healthcare practice is limited to individuals between the ages of 50 and 75, you can find and target that demographic.

All you need are some patients’ email addresses, and you’re ready to start your digital marketing journey!

Manage the Customer Experience

A stethoscope on a leather bag. “Get Connecting: Customer-centric marketing helps brands connect with consumers.”

That’s just the beginning, though!

Let’s be real! We’re firmly within the 21st century; relying on old-fashioned direct mail is a fool’s errand. Those pen-and-paper communications work well enough for invoices, but they’re slim pickings compared to the otherworldly power of email marketing campaigns.

Yes, customers now expect a welcome email. It’s become an extension of a consultation or first visit! However, there’s more to love about email marketing.

See, unlike traditional mailers, email marketing campaigns deliver immediate results. Those feedback questionnaires and surveys are answered in minutes instead of days! And forget about customers missing out on those appointment reminders; your marketing emails handle those, too.

Again, this is the 21st century. Most consumers now carry their entire online presence in their back pocket. Mobile devices are just as useful to healthcare institutions as they are to retailers and lawyers! Regardless of your profession, our mobile devices are digital advertising personified. For better or worse, our phones have become an inseparable part of daily life, making it easier than ever for marketing efforts to reach the appropriate audience.

(As a brief aside, much of the heavy lifting in this category comes from well-planned customer-centric marketing. It’s a complex process of fine-tuning every email campaign to match your vision for the ideal customer journey, and I don’t have enough time to do an in-depth examination of the process. However, I can say that far too many healthcare practices underestimate this marketing strategy!)

Improve Every Healthcare Newsletter With Live Metrics

Speaking of immediate responses, healthcare providers also get access to on-demand updates on their marketing strategy.

Most of these measurements are key performance indicators (often shortened to “KPIs”), which — as the name suggests — are indicative of the performance of your email marketing campaigns. Among the many data points you’ll likely see, some of the most important are as follows:

  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR): This metric may be blocked by some modern email providers, but it’s an invaluable measurement of audience engagement. A high CTR is a surefire way to know your healthcare newsletter is being read and consumed by happy, satisfied customers.
  • List Growth Rate: As you probably guessed, this metric measures the expansion of your subscriber list. Obviously, you want a high list growth rate!
  • Spam Report Rate: Even the best promotional emails will fail if they land in the trash folder! Guarantee the efficacy of your email marketing strategy by maintaining a low spam report rate, and you’ll soon see the perks of reaching out to your patients’ inboxes.

By the way, I must mention the versatility of these metrics. Your patient emails are more than a marketing tool. When done properly, even the simplest newsletters become a vessel for that highly coveted positive experience. Those appointment reminders that you automatically send every day? Those are worth more than you think!

Keep an eye on your metrics for your commercial and personalized emails. That data is email marketing gold, and it’ll serve you well in the future. Even the tiniest details — such as a call-to-action link or engaging subject line — make a huge difference! Experiment with every element to truly optimize patient engagement and boost your campaign results.

Engage Patients as Needed

This may be the final perk for this blog post, but know that these four points are far from the only benefits of healthcare email marketing!

A city skyline. Overlaid text describes how relevant, timely content marketing improves healthcare results and patient experiences.

With that said, the ability to establish immediate, meaningful contact is an unassailable asset to healthcare providers. Commercially, patients can easily receive clear value propositions that are (as I noted earlier) tailored to their needs. Unlike television or website banners, emails go to an individual rather than a generalized audience. Senior citizens no longer see ads for content targeted at young adults and vice versa.

In a more urgent sense, email marketing is an efficient way to provide much-needed updates on a patient’s health status. Researchers even dedicated an entire piece to the power of email marketing in the Journal of Medicine and Life, which emphasized the powerful positive effects of timely, informative email messaging.

What Healthcare Providers Must Know About Email Marketing

A modern hospital hallway. “What to Know: Issues to Be Aware Of.”

That said, these benefits come with a cost.

There are plenty of things to be aware of as you establish a healthcare email marketing strategy. These concerns impact both your email marketing and your standing within the healthcare industry, so listen up! This is not something you want to glaze over.

The Legal Specifics of Your Healthcare Email Marketing Strategy

One of the most prescient concerns healthcare professionals should have is their legal standing.

On the surface, you must obtain explicit permission to acquire email addresses. This is a near-global standard for any marketing email, and failing to do so before sending messages is an easy way to be the unhappy recipient of hefty fines.

Secondly, email campaigns must abide by the legal guidelines surrounding patient privacy. I can’t cover every country’s specific legal concerns, but I’ll review some basics for United States healthcare providers.

In the United States, healthcare email campaigns (and marketing materials at large) have two legal classifications:

  • Anything encouraging recipients to purchase or try a product or service is legally defined as marketing.
  • Conversely, anything “related to the treatment of the patient” is not marketing — at least legally — and is subject to fewer restrictions.

Both current and future patients must give explicit permission to receive any marketing emails, although “non-marketing” content can be sent without authorization.

Standing Out From Other Healthcare Organizations

Once you’ve educated yourself on the legal aspect, it’s time to dig into the tactical side of healthcare emails.

At this point, you’ll be asking a lot of questions about your competition, such as…

  • How are current patients treated?
  • How are prospective patients treated?
  • How do comparable services design and write their monthly newsletter?
  • How is educational content handled?
  • How often do emails get sent to patients’ inboxes?
  • What language is used, and how does that help form a personal connection with patients?
  • What should an opt-in form require?
  • What tactics do other brands use to avoid those dreaded spam filters?
  • Who is the target audience? Moreover, can you find an appropriate niche within the industry?

Now, these are just a few of the most common questions.

And they’re not optional.

Yes, you’re a healthcare practice. However, at this moment, you’re a brand. You’re an entity with an audience, and that audience demands a clear value proposition. Failing to deliver results to your contact list is more than a marketing faux pas; it’s a surefire way to lose traction.

Much of this volatility lies in the inherent dangers of the marketing email as a medium. While it’s a powerful tool, it’s becoming an increasingly abused power.

Even professional researchers have noticed this unsettling trend! A 2020 report in the BMC Health Services Research journal specifically called attention to the influx of half-baked content marketing. Aside from email marketing, researchers rightfully denounced lackluster mailers, low-quality online content, and woefully inept segmentation for their roles in muddying the water.

Maintaining Credibility

So, what do I mean by that?

Think about it.

Open a random “healthy living” blog — one that’s not affiliated with a brand or healthcare institution — and you’ll see the issue on full display. Spelling errors, bungled “facts,” and regurgitated “information” abound. Yes, content and SEO are powerful forces, but they’re becoming increasingly useless to modern consumers.

Thus, summarily, your marketing emails must stand out as trustworthy, worthwhile content. Otherwise, your contact list will toss your efforts aside, deeming them little more than those pesky low-effort question-and-answer posts that often clutter modern search results.

The Struggle to Perfect Your Healthcare Email Marketing Campaign

Overlapping leaves. “Find a Pro: Let Us Handle the Details.”

That’s a lot to consider.

Between daily interactions, social media channels, and developing relevant content, it may seem impossible to run a successful email marketing campaign!

But despair not, dear reader! There’s a solution.

I’ve assembled a team of email marketing pros. Together, as The Email Marketers, we’re always ready to tackle your business’ marketing woes. We’ll develop a personalized email strategy for you — not Generic Healthcare Brand #5. We’ll keep your email marketing campaigns out of spam folders and in satisfied patients’ inboxes. We’ll even help you set up those pesky opt-in forms.

Now can be the exact moment your healthcare newsletter goes from bland to grand. All you need to do is schedule a free strategy session! I’ll meet with you and discuss the ins and outs of your individual needs. I’ll show you how even the tiniest details — like call-to-action text and subject lines — can dramatically change your marketing’s trajectory. More importantly, I’ll show you how The Email Marketers can help build your business!

So, go ahead! Take the leap!

And feel free to learn more about email marketing by browsing the rest of my blog.