Why should physical therapists use email marketing?
Email marketing can feel like the fad diet of physical therapy marketing—we have all tried it, but no one really knows how it works or if it’s working. You might have seen spikes in patient volumes after sending an email (but that also coincided with the injury surge after the local 10K race) and have been wondering if email marketing is worth your time and efforts. Or you want to try sending emails, but don’t want to waste money since 90% of those go to spam anyway right? Wrong!
3 Reasons email marketing will work:
- It’s inexpensive: email marketing is not exactly free, but it is a great low-cost marketing option. You can choose a program and plan that fits best for your practice and goals. Start by determining how many patient email addresses you have on file and then decide how frequently you want to market to patients via email (1-3 times per month is a good starting point). Check out Capterra for a list of email marketing software.
- Be proactive: it’s better to lead the pack then to jump on the bandwagon. Your competitors may (or may not) already be running monthly email campaigns. Be proactive and start planning and sending your own emails. You will get better results by being one of the first PT clinics to start emailing v. the last one in town.
- Consistency is key: if you are already sending a monthly print newsletter to patients and doctors, why not send an e-newsletter too? You can mail the newsletter at the beginning of the month and email the digital version two weeks later to generate even bigger results.
Now that you are thinking about starting your program, how do you get started? Let’s choose a reasonable starting point—two emails per month to your past patients. One of those emails should definitely be an e-newsletter of your monthly print newsletter. That’s one email done!
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for email marketing:
DO: clean up your email address list. Using email marketing software can manage these lists for you. They will import existing addresses from an excel spreadsheet and can monitor unsubscribes, bounces (when messages fail to reach an address), and spam flagging.
DO: think about your subject lines. “Your monthly e-newsletter is here” seems simple enough, but is that the best way to introduce your email? Each subject line should be distinct and informative since users usually see just the sender, subject line, and snippet before deciding to open the email. Try “Stay Safe This Summer with our May e-Newsletter” or “Stand Up to Back Pain with these Tips”.
DON’T: purchase an email address list from online. Sending emails to individuals who have not opted in (ie. Check this box to receive promotions and updates) can be a violation of federal and state laws. To expand your address list, promote an incentive, such as an email contest for healthy recipes, and feature them in next month’s newsletter. Be sure to include the opt-in information in the fine print.
DO: develop a strategy and template for your monthly emails. Three pieces of content is manageable: an article, an activity, and an incentive. You can use a short paragraph your website blog articles with a “read more” link to the full article on your website (thus driving more web traffic!). Activities could be: recipes, exercises, tip sheets (ie. 5 fun games for road trips), or fact sheets (ie. simple stretches you can do at your desk). The incentive should vary each month so that it doesn’t get stale and so you can track the results of your email campaigns. Offer a 20% discount on a massage, free mobility screening, or BOGO on personal training packages.
DON’T: get discouraged. Email marketing is challenging! If only 30% of users open your email that is a great result. Check out MailChimp for more data on email marketing by industry.
DON’T: forget to be conversion oriented. What does that mean? An email is no good from a marketing perspective if the recipient cannot take action from it. Make sure to include links to: Make an Appointment, Contact Us etc. This will take your email from a static message to an actionable marketing promotion targeted for results!
Email marketing for physical therapy doesn’t have to feel like the latest diet craze. By researching and investing time and money up, you can experience lasting results (pun intended) from your PT email marketing campaigns.