For this week’s “If I were” series, lets dig a bit into how a healthcare provider (such as a dentist office) might use email marketing effectively.

As always, let’s look at the 4 major components of an email marketing plan.

1. Building your list
2. Automation
3. Campaigning
4. Monitoring Engagement

Step 1. Building your list
Unlike other industries, healthcare professionals will focus on sending out emails that are more notices, reminders, and possible alerts. Because of the sensitive nature of the email content, chances are that you will want your recipients to sign up in person during a visit. In this case, it is preferable that your email list is comprised solely of people whom have previously utilized your services.

Of course, it can’t hurt to have an online signup form, but remember that by doing so, you will effectively have two separate lists; those of current patients and those of potential patients.

Step 2. Automation
The heavy majority of your emails will be automated and could be classified as “transactional”. In the case of our dentist office, the emails would be reminders about upcoming appointments, or reminders to schedule an appointment (ex. “It’s been almost 6 months since your last cleaning”). You may also consider sending out birthday wishes.

Step 3. Campaigning
Besides maybe a few select circumstances, I would expect that a health-care industry professional would only send out a newsletter type email once per month or less. The email would likely follow the below pattern:

[Header Section] This would probably be a nice image, branded with the company logo, and set the visual theme of the email.

[Newsletter] This section would be a short newsletter, maybe showcase some recent success stories, or show of some new tech/breakthroughs in the industry.

[Warnings/reminders] This section is your call to action of sorts. Remind your reader-base about any current trending issues (such as spring allergies or eating too many sweets over the holidays). Remind your viewers about how to be safe and healthy.

[Footer] The footer section of your campaign would be very similar to the header. It might contain a small sentence and signature thanking the recipient, and include phone numbers and hours of operation as well as appropriate links if any.

Again, this is just an example. Campaign design is ultimately up to you, so while the above is just an example of what I would do myself; don’t let that limit you to what you want to do with your campaign design. The main focus here is to create an email that will compel your recipients to engage with it.

When preparing your campaign, remember to review past campaigns and their performance. Use some investigative skills to figure out what recipients did and didn’t like, then design your campaign around that.

Step 4. Managing Engagement
As with other industries, managing engagement is a key component of your marketing plan. Monitoring the open rates of your emails, and removing any contacts who are not opening your campaigns is always a healthy practice.

Remember to perform your reconfirm campaigns on older contacts, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your recipients via other means (phone, physical letters) when they are not engaging with your emails. In the case of a healthcare professional, your recipients will appreciate that you show concern for their health and vitality.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully some of you retailers out there can use some of this advice to build a successful email marketing plan.