Check these best practices against your current email efforts and become an email marketing specialist in your practice
Despite what we may be hearing, email is not dead. Email open rates were dipping slightly prior to COVID-19, but have since risen, and email marketing specialists are riding that wave for practice growth.
For the chiropractic practice we average an over 20% open rate, and for the consulting business it’s near 30%. With some smart moves we can increase our open rate and make the emails more effective.
It’s not enough just to have someone open the email — we want them to take some sort of action. Here are five tips to increase your email open rate and have patients and potential patients take the appropriate action.
Email marketing specialist tip: check the email provider
This is so important and often overlooked. Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc., have different filters in which emails go through. If someone, anyone, is using the same provider as you and sends a lot of spam, Google may flag that provider and lower the number of patients who see that email.
Let’s say a “Nigerian Prince” is spamming people using Aweber. (The major email senders are Aweber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft and a few others.) If a lot of Gmail users are reporting the prince’s email as spam, Gmail will flag not only the prince, but all Aweber users. This means that due to the Nigerian Prince spamming people, the emails sent to your patients may end up in spam. Fair? No, but it’s the system. There is no way to know which provider is best at this moment and testing may be your best bet.
This is the headline of your email. When studying all direct marketing legends — Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, David Ogilvy, etc. — they all say the same thing: that the headline is the most important piece of any marketing that goes out.
We have to get recipients to open the email without fooling them. The headline should be relevant but also interesting. Tricking people doesn’t work long-term. A headline such as “Hey!” may have nice open rates, but do that every week and people will get turned off.
Here are some example headlines:
• What never to ______
• It’s the ______ , stupid
• 7 ways to feel better
• Why ______ doesn’t work
• 5 ways to ruin your health
• Thanking pain and suffering
• 3 hidden lessons
• Confessions of a ______
• They laughed when I ______ , but when I started to ______
• Who else wants to ______
These are just some examples. As an email marketing specialist, make the headline interesting and make them want to finish reading.
Many offices are not communicating regularly with their patient base. This can be a big problem for many clinics, because if patients don’t hear the message regularly, they stop opening emails and stop interacting. Frequency of messages is important, particularly with email.
What is the right frequency? Some of the top email experts — Ben Settle, Dave Dee, DoberMan Dan — recommend daily emails. They are probably right and if you can do it, do it. In our clinic and for our many clients, this is too much. Once a week is a frequency most of us can handle.
Doing the weekly email makes it regular for the patient and for you. Doing it the same day and time every week makes it a habit you can stick to. Schedule your email on a day you have more free time, typically a Tuesday or a Thursday for a chiropractic clinic. There are dozens of books and articles about when to send email, but the short answer is that you have to test times and days and watch the open rates.
Every area is a little different and you have to experiment as an email marketing specialist with when to send. Find a time and day when people are getting less email and send then — when they won’t just be mass-deleting the email.
Content and look
The best secret to getting better results with email is to make it look personal. This also goes back to direct mail, as an envelope that looks like a letter a friend would send gets the most opens. Same with email.
Make your email plain text, not fancy HTML, and mostly just words. Think of the patient and that you are having a conversation with them. You are just speaking to them via email, like you would a friend. Word it where it’s just like you’re speaking to one person, not a thousand. Keep it simple and short — 200-300 words is good — and make it look personal.
It’s okay to have pictures and words in there, but think of it mostly as a conversation email someone might send to a friend.
Call to action
The biggest problem with almost all marketing chiropractors do is the lack of a call to action. Every postcard, post on Facebook and email should have a call to action.
What do you want them to do? Forward this email to a friend, like us on Facebook, come to our patient appreciation day? What is the point of the communication? Every email should have a call to action with what you want them to do next. People don’t know what the next step is, so tell them. “Please leave us a review on Google; here is the link” or “Come to our patient appreciation day, Saturday at 10 a.m.” Have a direct call to action so they know the next step.
Email marketing is not dead, but remains one of the steadiest of marketing tools. Following these five tips as an email marketing specialist can increase not only your open rate but your response. Don’t forget: Banks still don’t accept “likes” and email opens for deposit. Patients need a call to action to ensure they follow through. Employ these tactics and don’t give up on email yet.
James R. Fedich, DC, owns a large multidisciplinary practice in northern New Jersey. He is also the author of “Secrets of a Million Dollar Practice” and host of a popular chiropractic podcast, Dr. J’s Path to Success. To find out more or to contact Dr. J, visit drjamesfedich.com.