email marketingOne business tip—something your health care competition may not know—is that email is a highly effective secret weapon for physician marketing.

When some reports suggested otherwise, Gigaom Research told us that, among digital marketers, “Email marketing is the digital workhorse, deemed the most effective (relative to other digital tactics) for building awareness, acquisition, retention and conversion. In fact, 56 percent of respondents identified email as being the most effective at retention, several points ahead of the second-most-effective tactic.”

We have to wonder if the messengers proclaiming “email-is-dead” are trying to dissuade and disarm their marketing adversaries and keep email tactics to themselves?

Those of us who check our smartphone before our first morning espresso appreciate how email has grown to pervasive use in the US as well as in marketing effectiveness. What’s more, we like to consider email for healthcare marketing plans because it’s:

Cost-effective: It’s not completely free, but the cost factors in using email marketing do not have the burden of heavy media expense, making it one of the most affordable tools.

Quantifiable: Email marketing tools do more than deliver the mail. Sophisticated analytics track dozens of variables related to effectiveness, not the least of which is Return-on-Investment data.

Precision focused: Unlike many other tools, email can be personalized in both content and in audience targeting. Your message reaches the most appropriate and desirable readers.

Mobile, local and immediate: The proliferation of smartphones puts a computer (and email delivery) in nearly everyone’s pocket. And in a digital flash, your message is delivered to the reader locally and instantly.

Compelling, actionable email messages are carefully constructed as much as they are thoughtfully written. Keep these tips in mind:

Make the Subject Line irresistible: The first four or five words that the reader sees can make or break effectiveness. If the email is deleted before it’s opened, the contents—no matter how good—will never be read.

Tell, don’t sell. Some people can’t wait to jump on well-presented bargains, but an in-your-face sales slam is a quick turn-off and rapid “unsubscribe.” Instead, present reader benefits, interesting information or useful content that supports engagement and triggers response.

Use inviting text, color and images. Mindful of your target audience’s likely tastes, showcase your compelling words with an appropriate use of color, pictures and/or graphics.

Have a clear Call to Action (CTA): Include a single-focus direction about what the reader should do next. If appropriate, repeat the CTA in your message, and provide an easy and obvious link.

Contrary to recent rumors, email marketing is stronger than ever. And, although it isn’t as easy as it might appear, when done correctly, it can deliver a high rate of return as part of a health care marketing plan.

For more on this topic, or to discuss how our experience might be helpful, please give us a call at 800-656-0907. And for related reading, see: 20 Rules to Kick-Start Successful Email Marketing and 31 Words You Can’t Use in Email and Other Safety Tips.


Kathy Gaughran

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Kathy Roy Gaughran
In her career, Kathy has helped over 4,000 clients all over North America achieve their growth goals. As an award-winning strategic marketing planner, Kathy has been involved in both the high level strategies required for long-term sustainability, plus the tactical execution used to accomplish day-to-day successes.
Kathy Roy Gaughran
Kathy Roy Gaughran


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