Email marketing remains one of the most effective and affordable methods of attracting new clients, as well as selling and upselling existing clientele. Statistics vary on how popular email marketing has become, but most top marketing firms rate it as one of the surest ways to reach the public.
For veterinarians who aren’t already using email marketing, it’s well worth embracing. Let’s take a look at why email marketing is such a reliable marketing method, and examine some ways that your veterinary practice can reach more potential and current clients with email.
Why does email marketing for veterinarians work?
From a psychological perspective, email marketing works because it’s typically an opt-in relationship between a seller and a (potential) buyer. Those who receive email marketing messages have typically expressed their permission to be sent those messages, therefore they’re much more receptive to viewing them than they might be an unsolicited advertisement.
Unlike spammy emails that are sent by companies that don’t take the time to get permission—you’ve probably run into a few of those—emails received by opted-in consumers are much more likely to be opened and read. This increases the likelihood that any calls-to-action will be followed, such as clicking on links, joining a Facebook page, or scheduling an appointment.
Email is a reciprocal partnership rather than a one-sided one, which lowers the natural skepticism and defenses of consumers, making them much more willing to listen to what you have to say… and take action on it.
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How do I get email addresses?
Collecting email addresses to include on your list may seem tricky, especially since you have to get explicit permission to put a customer or lead on any kind of list. However, there are plenty of opportunities to ask for a signup, including:
- When someone makes an appointment over the phone
- When you get a walk-in who wants to ask you about your services or products
- When someone comes to your website
- When someone visits your social media page
- When you’re at a local event, such as a puppy bowl or walk-a-thon
- When a vendor comes to your practice
In short order, you’ll have amassed a number of qualified leads that are interested in what you have to say. Once you’ve started to build your list, it’s time to compose emails for them!
7 email marketing tips for veterinarians
Whether you’re just learning about veterinarian email marketing practices, or you’ve been emailing a list for a while, it’s essential to coordinate your efforts in a strategic manner. Follow these seven tips to build and grow an email list that is engaged and interested in what you have to say.
1. Monitor the results of every email
There is a plethora of email marketing software available for you to use. Each platform is designed to give you a variety of insights into the habits of your email marketing recipients, including open rates, clicks, and more.
No matter which email marketing platform you pick, you should be prepared to monitor the results of every message you send. Those results can give you valuable lessons that you can apply to future emails. By staying on top of your campaign results, you’ll be able to provide your subscribers with content that better meets their needs and expectations.
2. Provide unique, relevant content
What should you put in your emails? That is up to you, but veterinary practices often find success when they send feel-good content about pets. This might mean including things like:
- Surgery success stories
- Photos of some of your favorite animal visitors
- Information on local shelter events, like adoption days
- Suggestions on new pet food, toys, or equipment to try
- Advice from your vets on how to handle seasonal issues, like how to keep small dogs warm in the winter or ways to prevent heatstroke in the summer
Although this kind of content doesn’t “sell” your practice, it does increase the trust that your subscribers will have in you. It shows that you’re looking out for their best interests, and that you care about them as people rather than just as customers. This can give a huge boost to your reputation!
Another tip: try to use bullet points and shorter sentences. Most people scan their emails rather than read them thoroughly, and this should help them pick out the most important parts of your messages quickly.
3. Send emails on a regular basis
You don’t need to send out emails to your customers every day or even every week, but once a month is usually a good start. Make it the same day or week each month, and your recipients will begin to look for the latest emails in their inboxes.
For easier planning, create a calendar that has your send dates on it. Plan your topics out ahead of time, and make sure you know who is responsible for collecting and composing the content that will be included.
4. Add calls to action
People will take action if you tell them what you’d like them to do. Any kind of request for action in an email is called a call to action (or CTA), and an effective call to action can motivate more of your email subscribers to do something you find desirable. After all, how can you expect them to know what you want unless you tell them?
Your calls to action might include a request to click on a link, print out a coupon, or follow your veterinary clinic on Instagram. Don’t add too many CTAs within one newsletter, though: you run the risk of distracting your readers, diluting your primary calls to action, and getting fewer responses.
5. Include images
Veterinarians are in a perfect position to add emotionally-stirring images to their email marketing. For example, why not include a “pet of the month” in your messages? Or highlight cute puppies and kittens who have recently visited you for their first shots?
Images or photos are a great way to capture people’s attention, or perhaps encourage them to submit photos of their own. Additionally, visual content is a great way to break up the written portions of your email, and can keep the attention of your subscribers for much longer than a text-only email can.
6. Send personalized messages
One of the biggest perks of email is that it allows you to personalize your messages. You can create custom lists or groups in your email platform based on criteria like name, location, signup date, or even other data that you put in yourself, like when a pet is next due for shots.
For example, you can start using email to remind your four-legged patients of upcoming appointments. While many veterinarians do this using mailed cards, there’s no reason not to use email instead. You’ll save money on postage and printing costs, and probably get more attention from owners that way!
Creating a system to reliably and automatically send personalized email can be tricky, but it’s worth your time in the long run, especially since studies have shown that personalized email is opened and acted on much more often than non-personalized messages.
7. Experiment and try new things
The great thing about email is that something different works for everyone. This may sound frightening, but don’t be scared: all it means is that you can start with your knowledge and apply it to your marketing, then experiment until you find what works for your unique audience of subscribers.
With a little practice, you’ll hit upon the right variables to maximize the chances of your emails being opened immediately, rather than sitting in an inbox or immediately being deleted.
Attract more pet owners with veterinarian email marketing
Email marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. However, it is one that can lead to increased appointments and potentials for upselling and cross-selling, not to mention referrals from happy customers!
If you aren’t currently emailing your patients, it’s time to begin. The profits will start to show over time, so make certain to track the performance of your emails. By monitoring things like open and click rates, you’ll be able to get a better idea of how to handle your messaging moving forward, and what things you need to change to please more of your subscribers.
Need help creating an email strategy for your practice? Don’t think you’ll have time to create and send emails? WebFX can help! As a leading Internet marketing company, we’re always happy to lend a hand to companies that are looking to grow their businesses online. Contact us today to set up a plan!