How to Improve ROI for Healthcare Email Marketing

Although other digital channels like social media are gaining traction, email is still an incredibly powerful marketing tool for healthcare organizations. It helps healthcare marketers gain valuable data insights, deliver personalized messaging, and increase website traffic, as well as enabling you to stay in touch with prospects and current clients.

But more than anything, healthcare email marketing is cost-effective and yields a decent return on investment (ROI). You can expect a $42 ROI for every dollar you spend on your email marketing campaigns.

Use the following tips to supercharge your healthcare email marketing strategy and dramatically improve your ROI.

(1) Establish and document your healthcare email marketing strategy

Before you craft your email copy and hit send, you need to have a strong marketing strategy in place to guide your efforts. According to recent statistics, more than two-thirds of all healthcare organizations use email to communicate with and promote their services to current and prospective clients. However, only a tiny fraction of these healthcare businesses and providers have created a formal email marketing program.

Without a proper strategy, your team will likely engage in email marketing and other traditional sales activity without a reliable way of tracking the ROI or success of your campaigns. This could cost you dearly in the long run, and you might create campaigns that don't speak to your audience's needs or your business marketing objectives.

It pays to engage in this crucial initial step – brainstorm, define, and outline your email marketing plans, objectives, and goals. Rest assured that your effort and time will pay off.

(2) Build your mailing list organically

As email marketers, we know the value of a robust, well-curated mailing list to our marketing ambitions. Thankfully, you can build and perk up your email list in myriad organic ways. You can encourage walk-ins at your doctor's office, clinic, or medical practice to drop their email addresses.

Better still is collecting email addresses from patients using an online form. You can simply provide a checkbox that clients can use to confirm if they wish to receive content or promotional emails from your organization.

You can offer discounts, health guides, and other good-for-patient resources on your social media pages, blog, or website. However, these are available to them when they opt to subscribe to your mailing list. Leverage embedded or pop-up sign-up forms.

(3) Keep it personal

It's getting harder for healthcare organizations to be distinctive in an increasingly noisy digital space. The key to standing out in a sea of competition is personalizing your interaction with your audience. That means leveraging subscriber data to make your messages feel like a personal interaction.

Give your email campaigns that one-on-one human touch. You can use a wide range of tactics to do this, but the simplest yet most effective way is to address the recipient using their first name. It might seem trivial, but this makes your email content feel more authentic.

Keeping it personal helps strike an emotional connection with the recipient, boosting brand credibility and awareness. After all, people tend to base their decisions first on emotions and later use logic to justify them.

(4) Segment your mailing list

As noted by Digital Authority Partners, one major mistake most healthcare organizations make is using a one-size-fits-all email marketing template. People crave personalized interactions and want to feel seen and heard. Segmentation is the answer and one of the best email list management practices.

Segmenting your audience will help you curate and segregate your mailing list. It involves creating different categories for subscribers in your mailing list so that you can send messages relevant to their buyer persona. In other words, segmenting makes it easy to tailor your messaging based on the user's location, pain points, interests, and health conditions.

Not all subscribers are interested in everything you have to offer or say. For instance, a breastfeeding mom likely will not be interested in erectile dysfunction medication. Email list segmentation ensures relevant content reaches the right audience at the right time.

(5) Keep spam filters in mind

Writing superb, personalized email copy might not be enough to keep the spam folder at bay. Although today's spam checkers are highly sophisticated, they're not perfect. They don't understand what your emails say or are trying to convey. Instead, they employ an array of signals to figure out the likelihood of your email being spam.

For obvious reasons, email service providers (ESPs) don't make these spam signals public. However, here are some that may have a considerable impact on your email spam score:

  • Addition to address books – It sends a green light if many users add your email to their address book.
  • Deletions – Your emails are likely spam or not worth reading if they often get deleted without being opened first.
  • Spam folder – On the one hand, if users move your messages out of the spam box, it signals they're not likely to be spam. The other way around is bad news.
  • Reply rate – Obviously, users don't typically respond to spam emails. So, frequent replies will help your future messages steer clear of the spam checkers' drag nets.
  • Email open rate – Your emails are not likely spam if many users open them.

Some of these signals may be out of your hand. Luckily, there are a few aspects of your email marketing that you can tweak to avoid the spam folder. First, you must send messages to people who have agreed (through opt-in or list subscription) to receive them. Strictly toe the line when it comes to the CAN-SPAM Act.

Segmenting your email list can also do the trick. In addition, avoid sending your emails from a no-reply email account. Instead, use a reply-to email address from a healthcare business domain – for example, More importantly, never use a personal email account to send healthcare messages.

(6) Optimize your emails for mobile

It's no secret that mobile use has skyrocketed, with an average person spending 4.5 hours a day on mobile devices. A recent survey also suggests that people are happy interacting with email on mobile, with 61% of email opens occurring on mobile.

And it makes sense that mobile is the most preferred platform for checking emails, beating out traditional options like webmail client (28.3%) and desktop (9.8%). Clearly, that means you should optimize your messages to look outstanding on mobile. The text, imagery, call-to-actions, and other email elements should be designed for effortless viewing on the small screen.

(7) Start your emails on the right foot with a compelling subject line

The subject line gives you one shot to impress, and it pays to get it right. Think of your subject line as you would a first handshake with someone. It should be solid and convincing, and it should avoid elements that can get you in trouble with spam filters.

Did you know that more than two-thirds of people report emails as spam based on the subject line? While that's startling, there are a few things you can do to dress your messages in good subject lines and get a first-class ticket to the inbox…

  • Avoid overuse of punctuation marks, particularly exclamations points, single apostrophes, and question marks
  • Never include questions in the subject line
  • Never use all caps in your subject lines
  • Keep off clichés like Fwd: and Re:
  • Make each subject line stand out
  • Avoid using spammy words in the subject line, such as these.

(8) Leverage email automation tools

Using email automation tools will not only save your time and effort but can also dramatically boost your engagement and ROI. It helps you send emails to the right audience at the right point in their customer journey. For instance, you can automate emails to send alerts when the next prescription refill or appointment is approaching.

(9) Use data insights to optimize your healthcare email marketing strategy

Email marketing gives you plenty of data collection opportunities. You can extract insights from the major metrics of your marketing campaigns to help you better understand what’s working and what’s not.

More crucially, these data insights give you a deeper understanding of your audience – their buying behavior, interests, and much more. You can tap into data collected by your email marketing tools to know your subscribers' location, demographics, the type of device they commonly use, and when they're most likely to open emails.

(10) Track your success and progress

Once you have run a few great email marketing campaigns, consider establishing a monitoring system to measure how each campaign fares with your target audience. This helps ensure that your efforts align and support the objectives and goals you set as part of your initial email marketing strategy.

Wrapping up

Tracking your progress will help you ensure that your marketing efforts are providing the kind of ROI that you had envisioned. Above all, it’s difficult to mirror the success of past email marketing wins if you don’t know what is working and what is not. Keep a tab on your healthcare email performance and the overall return on investment it’s providing, taking lessons learned to heart as you gear up for the next chapter in your marketing strategy.