The Simple Email Marketing Formula for Your Medical Practice
Note to reader: this post has not been updated to reflect GDPR-compliant strategies. Please also see the GDPR blog post.
You can show up on Google and you can show up on Facebook, but do you know what happens when you show up in somebody’s inbox? Of all of the digital marketing channels available to your medical practice, email will generate the most revenue. I’m talking about more appointments, more product sales, and more referrals.
Statistics from 2016 show that the return on investment for email marketing is 4400%. That’s $44 in revenue for every $1 spent.
You might be raising an eyebrow right now. Maybe you have been sending out a monthly e-newsletter for years and have never seen that $44. Right? The reason is probably that you have not had a strategy. You need a reliable method that will lead people on your email list down a path to purchase.
I am about to introduce you to the 3-step formula that will strategically increase your bottom line—simply by showing up in your patients’ and potential patients’ inboxes. These 3 steps might revolutionize your perspective on email forever.
STEP 1: GROW YOUR LIST
Many doctors and medical practices collect patient email addresses but make no effort to build an email list of potential patients. If you want to increase your number of new patient visits, you need to generate a database of those potential new patients. I am talking about people who have a certain condition, who are interested in natural alternatives to prescription medications, and who want to learn ways to actively improve their health.
To grow a list of potential new patients, you need to show up and provide valuable information that your ideal patient is seeking. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. A Free Offer. Create a free guide that visitors to your website can download after providing their email address. In marketing lingo, this is called an “opt-in offer” or a “lead magnet.” This piece of content needs to be irresistible to your ideal new patient and give unbelievable value. If you want to attract patients with IBS, for example, create a guide of top supplements to improve digestive health.
2. A Landing Page. A landing page is a simple web page with the sole purpose of promoting your free offer (like the IBS guide). Once you have a landing page, you can promote the offer on social media. You can share it on your own social profiles, share it in groups you belong to, or pay to advertise it on social platforms (like Facebook ads).
3. Webinars or Public Talks. Giving talks is one of the best ways to connect with your audience, show your authority, and give potential patients a taste of what it will be like to see you as a doctor. You can promote your public talk or webinar online and ask for an email address to confirm registration. This builds a list of people who are interested in what you have to say, and now you can follow up in their inbox.
STEP 2: NURTURE YOUR LIST
After a person provides an email address, you need to follow up with a series of emails to nurture that relationship and guide them on a path to purchase—like scheduling a new patient appointment or signing up for a group program. Here is the exact process you need to follow to nurture your email list:
1. Segment your list. Go to your email service provider platform (MailChimp, Ontraport, ConvertKit, etc) and create separate lists or tags to organize your subscribers. You will want to have one list or tag for current patients. You will want to have a separate list or tag for each of your free offers. You will have a list or tag for everyone who downloads your IBS guide (the people interested in digestive health) and a separate list or tag for everyone who signs up for your webinar about thyroid health (the people interested in thyroid). Segmenting your subscribers allows you to send them messages about the content they care about most—and show them that you offer exactly what they want and need.
2. Write email sequences. The next step is to write a series of emails that will go out after a person subscribes to your list. After a person downloads your IBS guide, for example, you should send them 3-5 more emails that provide additional value, educate them about who you are, and direct them to the next step on the path to purchase. After a person signs up for your webinar, you should send them info about how to access the webinar and reminders before it starts.
3. Automate your emails. Let’s say somebody downloads that IBS guide. Your email service provider starts to send them the series of 5 emails that introduce them to your practice and provide more value. But after only the 2nd email, that person follows the link to schedule their appointment and becomes a patient! That’s awesome, but wouldn’t it be strange if they then receive 3 more emails encouraging them to become a patient? That is where automation comes in. Many email service providers allow you to create email sequences depending on actions the subscriber takes. If they make it all the way to the confirmation page for scheduling an appointment, they can be switched over to the “new patient sequence” and away from the “IBS download” sequence. Get it? This process may seem daunting at first, but sequences can easily be created with the right email service provider. The most affordable and user-friendly platform that I have found to do this is ConvertKit. Now let’s talk about exactly what to write in those automated email sequences.
STEP 3: INVITE PROSPECTS INTO YOUR PRACTICE
I often hear from doctors that they just want to educate people and do not want to be “salesy.” I get it! I do not want you to be salesy either. But I do want you to educate in a way that will grow your practice and boost your bottom line. I want you to guide your subscribers on an intentional path from discovering you to paying you. Your email sequences are not intended to sell, and your goal should not be to have every subscriber sign up as a patient. Your email sequences should provide incredible value, nurture a relationship, and invite people to make a choice. If you never invite people into your practice, they will never come. Open the door for them to make that decision, and show them exactly how to walk through that door if they so choose. Your email sequences should provide 3 critical things:
1. Personality. People buy from people. More specifically, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Be authentic in the emails you send. Write from the first person, and let your personality shine through. Use the words you use every day. If you say “woohoo!” (like I do), then say it in your emails. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share a short story of a time you learned an important lesson. The point is this: make sure your emails come from you and from your heart. It is awesome to show your expertise, but it is even more awesome to show that you can relate to your potential patient as a real person.
2. Value. People need to see that you offer the thing they want and desire more than anything in the world! Think about your ideal patient. What does that person want to know? Tell her that. Do not worry about giving away too much information for free. Think about that free IBS guide. A person will get some real value out of trying some of the supplements you recommend, but the real transformation comes when they work with you one-on-one. Give enough free information that subscribers see some benefit, and make sure that the obvious next step is to say yes to your paid offer.
3. Offers. You need to show your subscribers exactly what they need to do to accept your paid offer. Invite them into your practice if they are not patients yet. Invite them to purchase more products, write an online review, or refer friends and family if they are active patients. Tell them exactly how they will benefit. Be clear about exactly how to accept your offer. Provide an obvious link to schedule, to purchase product, or to write a review. Make it easy and seamless for people to say “yes!”
Where to Begin
If email marketing is a new thing to you, do not be overwhelmed! The place to start is with a user-friendly, affordable, and helpful email service provider—like ConvertKit or Active Campaign.
About Sarah at Wellness Website Pro
Sarah Cook, ND, is a StoryBrand Certified Copywriter for health and wellness businesses. If you're a naturopathic doctor, functional medicine practitioner, or anybody with a message of health, Sarah is your copy gal. The right words can turn your website into a revenue-generating asset and take your business from ignored to adored. Find out how here.