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Email Marketing Strategies for Weight Loss Practices: How to Make Every Email Count

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Email Marketing Strategies for Weight Loss Practices: How to Make Every Email Count

— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN

Email is one of the most effective ways to engage with current and prospective patients in your weight loss practice. Here are specific ways to optimize your results.

When it comes to marketing your weight loss practice, initiatives tend to be driven by three primary goals:

  1. Patient acquisition or attracting new patient leads. This is typically accomplished through online reviews, paid advertising and social media.
  2. Converting leads into established patients.
  3. Retaining them as an active patient for ongoing support and a higher lifetime value – especially if you offer quality weight loss nutritional products.

Active patients who have experienced success are also more likely to refer others to you that can benefit from what you offer. Email marketing has been shown to be a great way to accomplish the latter two goals — conversion and retention.

Based upon industry data, the average open rate for health care emails is 23.46 percent, with a click-through rate (clicking on a link within the email) of 3.62 percent.1 This is one of the highest rates among all industries. Thus, patients open and read health care emails more often demonstrating higher engagement. This is more likely to happen when you follow best practice email marketing strategies.

Benefits of Email Marketing

While there are many benefits of email marketing, none will be realized or optimized if you don’t view having someone volunteer their email as an honor. In addition, it is important to respect such trust by sending emails that serve them well — communication and education that they not only want, but need to help them accomplish their weight loss goals (not just sales and one-way communication). Approach every email with the thought or question: What do they need to hear from us right now? When you do, you will find that their trust in you and what you offer increases. Combine this with a clear call to action (CTA) and your practice can enhance patient conversion and sales. It takes time and effort, but is well worth it.

Some benefits of email marketing include:

  • Direct Line of Communication: Email marketing provides a direct and instant channel to communicate with patients who have voluntarily provided you with their email address. Unlike social media, where posts may get lost in a sea of content, emails are delivered directly to your subscribers’ inboxes. It is a great way (in addition to secure text messaging) to send important updates, appointment reminders, educational information, special announcements, new offers and more. This direct line of communication fosters a sense of trust and builds engagement. It allows them to stay up-to-date on their care and connected to you, your team and your practice.
  • Ability to Categorize and Personalize: With email marketing, you can categorize your patient list based upon interested services (i.e. medical or surgical weight loss services), or progress within your patient conversion system (i.e. interested lead or active patient). This segmentation allows for personalized content delivery so you can ensure they receive information tailored to their needs and interests. Personalization increases the likelihood of opening your e-mails and the overall effectiveness of your communication.
  • Efficient Automation: Email marketing platforms enable you to streamline your communication processes through automation. For example, appointment confirmations, prescription refill reminders, e-newsletters, new patient onboarding sequences, and post-procedure, visit, treatment or nurturing sequences. Automation ensures that patients receive timely and consistent information, while improving efficiency and providing a more seamless experience for your patients.
  • Cost Effective: Compared to traditional marketing channels, email marketing is a cost-effective strategy for your practice. Sending e-newsletters, practice updates, appointment reminders and other forms of communication is easy within one platform, and avoids the need for costly printing or postage. The digital nature of email also allows for easy tracking and analysis, ensuring that the resources you allocate provide a return on investment.
  • Higher Engagement: Email marketing facilitates higher engagement by providing relevant content to patients. Whether it is links to your blogs, wellness tips, healthy recipes, personalized health recommendations, or a new service or product announcements, relevant content keeps your practice top of mind and valued. This fosters a sense of loyalty, leading to better patient conversion and retention.
  • Enhances Social Media Efforts: Integrating your social media with your emails creates a cohesive online presence. By cross-promoting your valuable content and initiatives, you can reach a broader audience. Your email campaigns can drive traffic to your social media platforms, while social media can be used to add people to your email subscriber list. This improves the overall effectiveness of your social media efforts and maximizes the delivery of your content.
  • Targeted Marketing and Higher Sales: Email marketing allows you to launch highly targeted marketing campaigns to those people that have expressed an interest in what you offer. By analyzing patient data and preferences, you can send targeted promotions for your services and nutrition products. This targeted approach not only improves patient satisfaction, but also can contribute to increased revenue through new sales and sharing of your information with friends and family of those on your list.

Effective Email Marketing Strategies

In order to experience email marketing benefits, you must enlist proven strategies. While strategies change over time due to ever-evolving technology and industry regulations, the strategies identified below are a great way to make the most of your efforts and make every email count.

  • Build Your Email List: The foundation of any successful email marketing strategy begins with building a robust, permission-based email list. You can build your list in a number of effective ways such as through your new patient onboarding process, your website, social-media or in the office. You can also utilize an email opt-in to unlock access to a valuable resource they desire such as a discount, special offer, educational e-book or PDF, recipe book or anything else of value to them. These efforts help to ensure that you have a receptive email audience interested in the education, services, support, and products you provide.
  • Categorize Your Contacts: Segmenting your email list as outlined earlier, allows for delivery of targeted and personalized communication. Categorizing the contacts on your list ensures that the right messages are delivered to the right people. This increases the relevance of your message and improves engagement.
  • Create a Consistent System for Email Creation and Delivery: While it may seem counter-intuitive, automation can help deliver personable, customized emails that are delivered to your patients when they need them most. You know your patient’s weight loss journey and understand when typical challenges will arise. While everyone’s journey is unique, there are commonalities between patients, such as the balance of macronutrients, how to manage saboteurs (themselves and others), what to order when eating out, how to overcome a plateau, etc. You can help anticipate such difficulties and be the “go to” resource for them. Automation increases your efficiency as well. While this is true, it is important to inject your personal touch such as your personal viewpoints and personality. This balance between automation and personality creates a more desirable communication strategy. Two more tips: First, keep your emails concise and direct so they are more likely to be read. Second, test inclusion of a short video with subtitles into your e-mails. This has been shown to significantly increase engagement.
  • Write Compelling Subject Lines: It doesn’t matter what you have within your email, without a compelling subject line, the likelihood of your patients opening your email has been shown to be much lower. You can see this demonstrated if you look back at email open rates. The subject line is the first thing your recipients see. When you craft a compelling and relevant subject line that grabs their attention they are more likely to open your email and read further. For example, a subject line that states “A message from Dr. Smith” or “A video for you from Dr. Smith” is more likely to be opened than a subject line that says “December Newsletter” or “Office Updates.”
  • Keep it Simple and Direct: A confused person is not likely to act. Thus, be sure to keep your email content clear, concise, and focused on what you want to convey or the specific action you want the reader to take. Use compelling visual graphics, break up text into digestible sections, and deliver with a conversational tone.
  • Optimize for Mobile Devices: As a growing number of people access their email on their mobile devices. Optimizing email content for mobile responsiveness is crucial. Ensure that your emails are easily readable on various screen sizes, and have a clear call-to-action. A mobile-friendly approach ensures that patients can access your information seamlessly, regardless of the device they use. Be sure to check all links in your email prior to sending to make sure they are functional. This lowers reader frustration and the likelihood they will opt-out of your email communication.
  • Test and Track: Refine and optimize your email marketing strategy by testing different elements such as content, design, subject lines, and send times. Track key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to gauge the success of your email campaigns/sequences. This will lead to data-driven improvements.
  • Stay Up to Date on Deliverability Recommendations: Email deliverability is crucial for the success of your campaigns. Be sure to select an email customer relationship management (CRM) system that allows you to accomplish the strategies identified above. Stay informed about best practices and recommendations they have for improving deliverability, avoiding spam triggers, maintaining a clean email list, and adhering to all email marketing regulations.

Email marketing is a powerful, direct tool that can enhance all of your paid and organic marketing efforts. By focusing on the strategies here, you will find yourself experiencing better patient engagement, education, higher sales, improved patient conversions, higher efficiency, and increased patient/team satisfaction. Apply this information so you and your team can make every email count!

Source(s):

1 https://www.mailerlite.com/blog/compare-your-email-performance-metrics-industry-benchmarks

About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, www.BariatricBusinessAccelerator.com. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss physicians and their teams helping them simplify creation of a profitable and enjoyable bariatric practice.

About Robard: For 45 years, Robard Corporation’s medical obesity treatment programs and nutrition products have been utilized by physicians, surgeons and hospitals across the United States to successfully treat patients living with obesity. To learn more about us and how we can help your practice and patients, visit us online at www.Robard.com, email us at info@robard.com, or call (800) 222-9201.

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