12 Healthcare Email Marketing Best Practices

12 Healthcare Email Marketing Best Practices

Healthcare email marketing enables organizations to effectively connect with and captivate healthcare professional (HCP) audiences. A substantial 65% of HCPs have identified email as their preferred mode of communication, with most HCPs habitually checking their emails across various devices throughout their days.

As Adfire Health’s Director of Email Operations, Derek Barnett,  states, “Email remains an indispensable pillar of a healthcare marketing strategy because it provides a personalized and direct line of communication with HCPSs.”

Tailored healthcare email marketing keeps valuable content readily accessible to HCPs amidst their demanding routines. But healthcare email marketing isn’t as simple as writing and sending emails to your contacts. Marketers should adhere to specific rules and best practices when crafting the best healthcare email marketing campaign. This article provides 12 best practices to increase HCP engagement with email marketing campaigns.

1. Handcraft HCP Audiences

Before sending any marketing emails, create relevant audiences for each campaign. Audience segmentation allows marketers to tailor emails to specific groups of recipients based on various criteria, including, but not limited to:

  • License Type
  • Specialty
  • Prescribing Behaviors
  • Interests
  • Location

Segmenting healthcare email marketing audiences enable marketers to build better connections with HCPs by showing them you have a solution for their current problems.

Thumbprint, Adfire Health’s proprietary first-party database, provides healthcare marketers with all the data they need to create the perfect HCP audience segments for any email marketing campaign.

2. Include Engaging Subject Lines

Subject lines are the first text people see when they view their email. They can make or break whether someone even looks at the email. It is critical to catch the reader’s attention within a few seconds of seeing the subject line to get them to open the email.

Consider these tips for writing an engaging subject line:

  • Concise and Clear: Keep subject lines brief and to the point. Aim for a subject line that is around 40 to 60 characters long. This length performs well across different devices.
  • Include Actionable Language: Words like “Get,” “Learn,” and “Join” convey a sense of engagement and tell the reader what to expect.
  • Highlight the Value Proposition: Make sure the subject line includes at least some of the value the reader will get from the email.
  • Use Numbers and Stats: Make the subject line specific and tangible.
  • Use Personalization: HCPs are more likely to open an email that refers to them by name.
  • Don’t Repeat the Subject Line in the Preview Text: Utilize the preview text to share additional information to entice the reader to open the email.
  • Use A/B Testing: This will help you identify the subject lines that receive the most opens and engagement.

3. Write Direct and Concise Email Copy

HCPs are busy – they don’t have time to sift through hundreds of marketing emails. So anything you send needs to get the point across quickly.

Cut self-promotional language and fluff from the message and only include the value the recipient will gain from reading the email and following the CTA.

4. Personalize Email Content

Personalization allows you to create more relevant and engaging interactions with email recipients. It improves open rates, increases ROI, and improves conversion rates. Personalization can reduce the cost of acquisition by 50% and boost ROI by 5 to 15%.

Marketers have several opportunities to personalize healthcare email campaigns:

  • From Name: Include your business name or personal contact in your company with whom the HCP is familiar.
  • Subject Line and Preview Text: Include the recipient’s name in these places to capture their attention.
  • Tailored Message for Each Audience Segment: Show the recipient that you understand their needs.

To provide value through each email campaign, personalizing email content to HCPs requires understanding their needs, behaviors, and preferences.

5. Include Calls-to-action (CTAs)

Every email should include a call-to-action (CTA). CTAs tell the audience steps to take to gain the value proposition the email mentions. Follow these tips for email CTAs:

  • Clear and  Action-oriented: Include a CTA button that tells the recipient what to do.
  • Placement: Keep the CTA “above the fold.” It should be easily identifiable before the recipient further scrolls down the email message.
  • Benefit-oriented: The email message should convey the value the recipient will receive by clicking on the CTA.
  • Multiple CTAs: Consider using a variety of CTAs throughout the email, mainly if it is long enough to scroll through.

6. Avoid Spam Triggers

Avoiding spam triggers in your email subject lines and content is essential to ensure that your emails are delivered to recipients’ inboxes rather than being flagged as spam. Here are some strategies to help you avoid common spam triggers:

  • Avoid All Caps and Excessive Punctuation: Using all capital letters or too many exclamation points in your subject line can trigger spam filters. Use them sparingly and only when necessary.
  • Avoid Spam Words and Phrases: Certain words and phrases are associated with spam, such as “free,” “urgent,” “guaranteed,” and “act now.”
  • Be Honest: Your subject line should accurately reflect the content of your email. Misleading or deceptive subject lines can lead to higher spam reports and negatively impact your sender reputation.
  • Be Cautious with Symbols and Numbers: Overusing symbols, special characters, and random numbers in your subject lines can trigger spam filters.
  • Use Proper Grammar and Spelling: Poor grammar, misspellings, and excessive use of capitalization can make your emails look unprofessional and raise suspicions of spam.
  • Authenticate Your Emails: Implement email authentication protocols like SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) to verify that your emails come from legitimate sources.
  • Provide an Unsubscribe Option: Make sure emails include a straightforward way for recipients to unsubscribe from future communications.

7. Optimize for Mobile

Almost half (49%) of all emails are opened on mobile devices. It is essential to optimize email campaigns for mobile so users can easily read, open, and engage with the emails you send. Here are some best practices for creating mobile-friendly emails:

  • Responsive Design: Use healthcare email templates that adapt to different screen sizes for a consistent look on mobile devices.
  • Short Subject Lines: Keep subject lines concise to fit on small screens while conveying your message.
  • Readable Text: Use legible fonts and font sizes for easy reading without zooming.
  • Simplified Layout: Stick to single-column layouts to ensure content flows smoothly.
  • Fast Loading: Optimize images and content for quicker load times on mobile connections.

8. Utilize Automation

Automation creates more efficiency in email marketing campaigns and provides even more opportunities for HCP engagement.

For example, if there’s an email subscription form on your website, set it up to send a welcome message to each new subscriber. Also, create emails that get sent depending on a user’s action with the previous email (i.e., a reminder about an upcoming event if they haven’t registered or a registration confirmation).

9. Find The Right Frequency and Timing

Finding the right frequency and timing for email campaigns can significantly impact their effectiveness. Send too few emails, and the campaign could fall flat but send too many emails, and recipients may ignore them and mark them as spam.

There is no perfect number for how many and often to send emails. Many marketers send 1-2 emails per month; however, recommendations vary significantly between industries, audience types, and types of emails. Consider these tips to find the right email frequency:

  • Start Slowly: If you’re unsure of the ideal frequency, start with one email per month and gradually increase from there.
  • Monitor Engagement: If you notice a decline in open and click-through rates or an increase in unsubscribes, that indicates that the frequency is too high.
  • Experiment With Different Times: During A/B testing, email each audience segment at various times to see which performs best.
  • Schedule Emails at Optimal Times: Pay attention to when users open the emails. Schedule emails for the most active days and times.
  • Segment Audiences Based on Interaction: You may have contacts who frequently engage with emails and some who only occasionally open emails. Segment these contacts into lists that receive emails at different frequencies.

10. Use A/B Testing

A/B testing, or split testing, provides concrete data on how different elements of your emails impact user behavior. By testing different variations of each email, marketers can make informed decisions and optimize email campaigns for the best results.

Consider utilizing these best practices to implement A/B testing in email campaigns:

  • Define Goals for A/B Tests: Maybe you’re trying to improve open rates, click-through rates, conversions, or another metric.
  • Test One Variable at a Time: Choose one element (i.e., subject line, CTA button, body text, images) to determine which variable impacts performance.
  • Have a Large Enough Sample Size: Your audience must be large enough to draw meaningful conclusions from A/B testing.
  • Randomly Split the Audience: Segment the email list into two random groups. One group should receive email A, and the other email B.
  • Keep Consistent Timing: Send emails A and B simultaneously on the same day to minimize external variables.
  • Track Performance:  Monitor the performance of each email. Update the emails to utilize the best variable and continue testing new variables to optimize performance.

11. Measure and Analyze Key Email Metrics

Monitoring each campaign is vital for assessing performance and effectiveness. The metrics healthcare brands track will vary according to their campaign objectives, but here are several key metrics you should analyze:

  • Open Rate: This metric is a good indicator of the success of each subject line.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR): CTR helps determine if the content of the email is performing well.
  • Conversion Rate: Conversion rates track the percentage of recipients who completed a desired action, like signing up for an event or downloading a resource.
  • Bounce Rate: This tells us the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered to recipient inboxes. High bounce rates can impact the sender’s reputation.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: Tracking unsubscribes can help determine if the email content drives people away.
  • List Growth Rate: Pay attention to how quickly your email list grows. List growth rate is a good indicator of a successful acquisition strategy.
  • Click-to-open rate (CTOR): CTOR compares the number of unique clicks to unique opens. It provides insights into the effectiveness of emails in driving clicks.
  • Device and Client Analytics: Understanding what devices and email client recipients use to open emails can help you further optimize the content for the best performance.
  • Engagement Over Time: Analyze how engagement changes over time. This can reveal trends related to specific campaigns, seasonality, or shifts in user behavior.
  • Spam Complaint Rate: High spam complaint rates can impact sender reputation and deliverability rates.
  • Forwarding Rate: High rates indicate recipients find value in your emails and want to share them with others.
  • Social Sharing: If you include social share buttons in emails, track how often users click those.
  • Geographic Engagement: Track where recipients are located and how they engage with the emails to tailor content based on regional preferences.

12. Comply With Email Laws

Healthcare marketers operating in the United States must adhere to various email laws and regulations to ensure their email marketing practices are ethical and legal. Some of the key regulations to be aware of include:

  • CAN-SPAM Act: The CAN-SPAM Act is a crucial U.S. law that governs commercial email communications. It mandates that healthcare marketers provide accurate sender information, include a clear and easy-to-use opt-out mechanism, and clearly label commercial emails as such. The Act also prohibits deceptive subject lines and requires prompt honoring of recipients’ opt-out requests.
  • HIPAA: While primarily applicable to healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) should be on the radar of healthcare marketers. They must avoid sharing protected health information (PHI) in their email communications.
  • Transparency and Disclosure: Healthcare marketers should ensure their emails identify the sender and provide accurate contact information. Any practices that could be perceived as deceptive, including misleading subject lines, should be avoided.
  • Unsubscribe Mechanism: Every marketing email must contain a visible and easily accessible option for recipients to unsubscribe from future communications. Opt-out requests should be honored promptly and without any obstacles.

It’s important to stay informed about these regulations’ latest updates and changes, as they may evolve over time. Consulting legal professionals well-versed in U.S. email laws and healthcare industry regulations is recommended to ensure full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Conclusion: Healthcare Email Marketing Increases HCP Engagement

Email marketing doesn’t have to be complex. Partnering with experienced healthcare email marketing experts, like Adfire Health, can help you get your email marketing campaign off the ground. Our email experts will help you every step of the way:

  • Audience segmentation
  • Scheduling
  • Tailoring email content
  • Ongoing audience adjustments
  • Ongoing email monitoring and adjustments
  • Retargeting
  • Reporting
  • And more!

Contact us today to learn more about how we can enhance your digital marketing efforts.

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