6 Steps to Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level

by Thomas Crocker, Copywriter - 05/31/17

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Worried your hospital’s story isn’t standing out in crowded consumer inboxes? A few simple tweaks to your email marketing strategy can help your messages win the battle for increasingly distracted eyeballs.

When it comes to communicating with your audience via email, the recipe for success features keen attention to customization and recognition that your email list is like a bonsai tree—a living organism that requires continuous careful management to achieve the best results. Here are some best practices for email marketing that can help you breathe new life into your email marketing:

Boost your email list.

Email addresses are the currency of email marketing—without them, the exercise is pointless. To make your list more robust, consider adding a popover to your website, include a business reply card in your print magazine, or incentivize consumers to sign up for your e-newsletter (and provide their email addresses) with a Facebook or Google ad that touts a gift card or gadget giveaway and links to the registration page. 

“For hospitals that are just getting started with email marketing and have lists that are stale, list building is a way to keep subscribers high quality and fresh,” says True North Custom Marketing Manager Kayla Anderson. “If the list quality is good, open rates and click-through rates are higher, emails perform better, and marketers start to see more return on investment than if they were just sending emails to a list that with contact information collected two, three, or four years ago. List building is relatively inexpensive, and the tactics are super simple.”

Get personal.

To do that, you have to segment your email list, which isn’t as daunting as it sounds. If you’re segmenting by interest, for example, it can be as simple as identifying everyone who has completed a heart attack risk assessment on the cardiology portion of your website as candidates to receive heart-focused emails instead of general health and wellness messages, according to Anderson. You can also segment your lists based on behavior, such as active versus inactive subscribers, and frequency, based on how often consumers prefer to receive your emails.

Speak directly to the recipient.

As in so many aspects of life, first impressions matter with email, and that makes an eye-catching subject line crucial. A good way to draw attention to a subject line is to include “you” or “your,” or use the recipient’s first name. Personalized subject lines that convey a sense of urgency improve open rates, according to True North Custom Digital Project Manager Haylee Gaffin. Crafting a subject line that teases email contents is another good practice to get more recipients to read your messages.

Be predictably unpredictable.

Using different subject lines—even ones with just slight variance from their predecessors—keeps things interesting for recipients who receive, say, monthly emails for a service line campaign.

“We found that when we switched up a syndicated product’s standard subject line for one that was new and fresh every month, it produced higher open rates,” Gaffin says.

Humanize the sender.

Who sent this?” The answer to that question—the sender’s email address—is another way emails can stand out when recipients scan the unread messages in their inboxes. An individual is more likely to open an email from an address containing a person’s name than from an anonymous sender, such as “info@inserthospitalnamehere.com.”

Put your emails to the test.

Every audience is different, and you won’t know how to optimize your emails—from the degree of personalization in their subject lines to when to deploy—unless you conduct an A/B test to see which of two options works better. There may be no such thing as a perfect email, but the more you know about your audience’s preferences, the closer you can get to creating one.   

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Audience Segmentation & Targeting

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