How To Use Email To Get More Patients In Your Clinic
The idea of using email to market your Private Practice might seem a little ‘quaint’ in an age when we’re bombarded with TikTok and Instagram Stories. However, don’t be fooled.
Email – and by that, I mean email marketing, is likely to be the single best tool you have for promoting your practice or clinic.
To be clear, there are two kinds of email in our Private Practice lives – the kind we use to send clinical information, and the ‘marketing’ kind of email that we ask people to sign up to, e.g. MailChimp or Convert Kit.
The GDPR put a lot of people off the idea of email marketing ‘in case they got it wrong’ but have no fear; these tools now have built-in GDPR compliance.
Provided you’re asking people to sign up (of free will), you’ll be fine. And if you’ll be missing out if you aren’t actively using this kind of Private Practice promotion.
Why use email marketing for your practice?
You might wonder why you should be asking people to sign up to your (marketing) email list at all – surely if they’ve seen you as a patient, they’ll know to contact you in the future?
Wrong! Patients have a funny habit of wandering off, and seeing other clinicians, even if you did an amazing job for them. The purpose of email marketing is to keep you front and centre in their minds, reminding them of how you can help them, without being ‘salesy’.
You can also entice people onto your email list if they’re not a patient of yours. For example, if you regularly treat runners, having a brilliant ‘freebie’ (aka ‘lead magnet’) on ‘how to prevent shin splints during marathon training’, which the runner receives in exchange for their email address, is a great way for your to become their future, go-to clinician.
Even if a patient never comes to see you ever again after your initial interaction with them, if you are regularly sending them useful information, they will likely recommend you to others who have a problem you can solve.
Is Email cost-effective for medical clinics?
The very small cost of a subscription to ConvertKit or MailChimp (just a few pounds a month), is vastly cheaper than running something like Google Ads – which turn off the moment you stop funding them.
In addition, your email list belongs to you, and won’t fall foul of the issues related to purely using social media for practice promotion.
Social media algorithms change all the time; when you post organically on them, just 3-5 % of your followers may actually get to see what you post, while Social Media is useful for a medical practice, email is much more powerful. For more information on adding Social Media to your practice’s toolkit, read our guide here
What should you write in your emails to patients?
First of all, you need to remember that it has to be something that people will actually want to read. People don’t care about your ‘news’ (sorry), unless it’s completely awesome, and you can relate it to their potential needs (e.g. you recently competed in the Marathon Des Sables, and you’re going to share how you can share how to prepare for it).
Instead, it’s best to think in terms of how you can impart useful information, that will help patients to better understand something, or to help them self-identify when they should be taking action about something.
For example, if you’re an Orthopaedic Consultant who specialises in knees, you could write an email about ‘should you consider having a second surgery if you tear your ACL repair?’. If you’re a Gynaecologist, you could write about ‘what it’s really like to go through a hysterectomy’.
You may be thinking, that these are very specific subject areas, and you’d be right.
That’s because they are supposed to be.
Email service providers such as Convert Kit and Mailchimp enable you to ‘segment’ your email list into different kinds of followers. So, if someone signs up to receive your fabulous freebie about marathon prep, they’ll be tagged as a runner, or if they sign up to your freebie about ‘persistent coughing after COVID’, they will be tagged as ‘COVID’ patients.
This means you can send emails to your followers with very specific information, information that really appeals to them and their specific problem, making it much more likely that they will want to get in touch to book in. It’s far better than sending a dreary, generic, email to all your followers, which invokes a ‘meh’ response.
Healthcare email examples:
Break it up with subheadings – we skim read information, so don’t write a wall of text. If possible, try to include a patient success story.
Put in some images (non-gory!), and have a call to action at the end (e.g. if you’re suffering from persistent coughing after you’ve had COVID, book an appointment) – and put a put a clickable link to your booking page or your secretary’s phone number.
It’s important to note there are different types of healthcare marketing emails. Try to keep your emails as simple as possible.
Healthcare emailing tips:
- How often should you be emailing your list?
Consistency is key, otherwise it won’t happen. Aim for at least fortnightly if possible. If you do a little brainstorming ahead of time, it’s possible to batch write them.
- Use split-testing and learn from the stats.
It’s pointless writing stuff that doesn’t get read. One of the key reasons emails go un-opened is because the email subject line is boring. Make it useful or intriguing and use the split-testing capabilities of your email service provider. This trials two different email subject lines (the one performing best after a few have been sent out to a random sample, will be used for the remainder of your ‘broadcast’).
Make sure you look in the stats, and see which subjects were most opened (if you get more than a 30% open rate, you’re doing brilliantly). Follow up with people who clicked on a link (e.g. to look at your booking page).
- Keep in touch regularly, and it will pay dividends.
You can recycle previous blogs you’ve written into email format, and there will be seasonal topics that come up time and time again you can read about.
Need help with figuring out how you use email in your Private Practice Marketing?
Ninja is launching the PPN Academy, where you can learn all the skills you need for growing your Private Practice.