Key takeaways in this post:

  • Ensure your emails are concise and to the point, considering the average reader receives around 121 emails daily.
  • To make your emails more relevant, refer to your audience personas, conduct surveys, use preference centers and analyze competitors’ content.
  • Given that 50-60% of email opens are on mobile devices, ensure your email design is responsive.

Take one look at your personal or work inbox and it’s not hard to believe the number of emails sent worldwide is in the hundreds of billions.  

Consider these statistics:  

So, the question quickly becomes: how do you stand out in all that noise?

As healthcare marketers, your emails face stiff competition in those stuffed inboxes. Do you have a winning strategy to break through? 

Here are five essential healthcare email marketing tips:  

1. Be relevant

Deliver content your audience cares about. If you don’t, you’ll soon be dealing with a lack of opens, a lack of clicks and way too many unsubscribes.  

So, how do you uncover what they want? Here are some ideas:  

  • Refer to your personas. Most marketing teams today have robust personas that detail target audiences and their interests, values and behaviors. This goes a long way to helping guide content creation.
  • Ask them! Take the time to learn what topics your audience wants to hear more about via a quick online survey. This can be especially useful when revamping an email newsletter.
  •  Let them tell you. Set up a preference center for new subscribers to tell you exactly what they want to see in the inbox by choosing topics of interest. They can also let you know how often they want to receive communications.
  •   Research competitors. Check out what types of email content your competitors are sending out and learn from what they are doing well, and where there are opportunities for you to do better.
  •  Use your web analytics. Dig into your web data to see what content is performing the best.
  • Follow trends. Keep an eye on trends in the news, on social media and among friends and family. You never know where ideas will strike.

Once you’ve gathered the data, offer tips and other information that will be meaningful and useful to your users. 

Consider segmenting your audience and customizing content based on their specific interests or where they are in the patient journey. 

For example, if someone gives you an email address after taking a heart health risk assessment on your website, they may be interested in content about preventing heart disease. A patient who signs up for a smoking cessation clinic will likely want to see emails related to their effort to quit smoking. 

With this relevant, customized content, you’ll be meeting recipients’ needs and building trust, both of which can lead to higher open and click-through rates. 

2. Be crisp  

If a reader can’t quickly grasp the key points and take action, they’ll move on.  

Follow these email best practices when writing:  

  • Have a strong opening sentence
  • Write in plain language and avoid jargon or technical terms
  • Aim for scannable, short paragraphs
  • Use bullet points or other formatting tools like bold or italics to grab the reader’s eye
  • Highlight the call to action
  • Use active voice 

Remember, with 121 other emails competing for your reader’s attention, no one has time to figure out what your email is about. Make sure you get to your point quickly.  

It helps if you answer these two questions before you write:  

  1. What is the main takeaway of this email?  
  1. What is the action I want the reader to take?  

Answering those two questions will help keep your email focused.

3. Be mobile-friendly  

It’s also crucial to make sure your email design is mobile-friendly, as it’s estimated that 50-60% of email opens come from mobile devices in 2024

If you don’t have an email designer on hand to build a mobile-friendly template, many email service providers (ESPs) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms offer pre-built templates that are responsive to the user’s device. 

4. Be strategic  

Email campaigns are the workhorses of your content marketing program. Keep them ready to win by making strategic, informed decisions. 

  • Collect and study email data, then use it to improve future campaigns and content. Create monthly and quarterly reports to look at trends over time.
  • Keep up with industry benchmarks. If you’re new to the email marketing game and not sure where your metrics should land, industry benchmarks can be a useful starting point.
  • Develop an email editorial calendar, but be prepared to jettison it for a timely topic or opportunity that will entice more opens.
  • Keep your email lists clean. Bounces and spam notifications damage your sending reputation, which means your emails are more likely to land in the spam folder for readers who do want to hear from you. Purge old contacts, confirm recipients’ preferences and consider using two-step authentication to improve deliverability, and ultimately, engagement.

5. Be compliant  

Complying with email marketing regulations is not optional; it’s the law. 

You’re likely familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act. It covers all commercial emails and protects email recipients from spam emails. Here are a few main requirements for senders:  

  • Your ‘From’ and ‘Reply-To’ must be accurate and not misleading
  • Your subject line should reflect the content of the message
  • Your email needs to include a valid physical address
  • Your email needs to tell recipients how they can opt out of future messages 

There are other regulations to pay attention to also, depending on where you do business.  

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which rolled out in 2018, meant some big changes for anyone dealing with email users in the European Union. From an email standpoint, it means senders need to be clear when they collect someone’s email address and explain in plain language what they plan to do with that information (marketing emails, newsletters, etc.)

In some cases, your ESP or CRM tool may help you avoid any regulation fouls. You should also check in with your legal department before updating any privacy policies or email processes.

WG Content’s team of healthcare writers and email strategists who can create custom email campaigns that fit your voice, audience and marketing goals.  

Drop us a line anytime to learn more.

Editor’s note: This blog was updated on June 20, 2024. It was originally published in April 2018.

To capture and retain your reader’s attention, follow these email best practices: 

  • Start with a strong opening sentence.
  • Write in plain language and avoid jargon or technical terms.
  • Use scannable, short paragraphs.
  • Employ bullet points or formatting tools like bold or italics to highlight key points.
  • Clearly highlight the call to action.
  • Use active voice.
  • Ensure your emails are concise and to the point.

To make your emails more relevant, refer to your audience personas, conduct surveys, use preference centers, analyze competitors’ content, and utilize web analytics. Segment your audience and customize content based on their interests or stages in the patient journey. For example, send heart health content to someone who completed a heart risk assessment.

TextGiven that 50-60% of email opens are on mobile devices, ensure your email design is responsive. If you lack an email designer, use pre-built, responsive templates from your email service provider (ESP) or customer relationship management (CRM) platform to guarantee compatibility with mobile devices.

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