Email Marketing: The Opportunity You Can’t Afford to Miss!

Effective Healthcare Marketing With Email

Email is the most popular channel in terms of daily use and consumer preference for both marketing and personal communication. And, according to Salesforce, 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business. That’s because emails are easy to produce and distribute, and more cost effective than traditional marketing. Plus, emails allow you to target specific audiences and link visitors to relevant information on your website, driving engagement and achieving a higher return on investment.

Watch this video to learn how you can use email marketing for everything from educating patients on health topics to driving service line volume. We’ll also show real examples and offer tips for improvement.


Corina: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today to talk about email marketing. I plan on going over some statistics that build a case to fully engage in email. We’ll tackle 14 email best pratcices, and I will follow the presentation by reviewing some emails that were submitted to us and share some recommendations. And we’ll conclude with any questions that you have at the end.

The massive use of the Internet has also secured the need for email. There isn’t much that you can do online without an email address. It is required to open an account, log in to your favorite sites and of course, communicate with others. A recent study named email the “Digital Marketing Workhorse,” noting that it is the single most effective marketing channel. Performing better than social networks, referral marketing, SEO, and traditional advertising.

73% of companies agree that email marketing is core to their business. When other social media platforms entered our digital scene, email was once rumored to be a dying channel. While in fact, the widespread use of smartphones has increased our overall usage of email.

Recent studies show that 91% use emails on a daily basis, and that we are downright addicted to it. I actually think “addicted” might be stating it nicely. “Obsessed” might be a better word to describe it. Americans are using email for over six hours each day.

That counts to be over 30 hours a week. Honestly, I think I use it a little bit more than that, but I’m not your average email consumer. Email is, and will remain, a cornerstone of the workplace culture. In fact, nine out of ten say they check work email from home and personal email at work.

Where are we spending the six-plus hours a day reviewing? At work, of course, but there are a few other places we are connected. A study by Adobe Systems tells us that 70% of us view our email while watching television and half of us are checking our email while resting in bed. I know I check my email and Facebook right before I go to sleep each night. And 50% of us remain connected to our emails, even on vacation. I’m guessing the other half go places that they don’t have access.

Okay, this is the most surprising statistic: 42% admit that they check their email while in the bathroom. I want to say that I’m surprised at that number, but I honestly wonder, how many more respondents didn’t want to tell people about that? And as much as I hate to see this, 18% are checking email while they’re driving.

To say we view email a lot is one thing. But to know that over 122 billion emails are sent every hour is overwhelming. That is every hour. Not every day or every week. With all of these emails being sent, you would think that there must be a lot of unwanted emails being sent. In fact, studies show that 72% of email users want email communication from you. Seriously, 72%, they’re begging for us to communicate with them via email, and 61% of us want to receive promotional emails weekly. And if you’re like me, which according to the survey, there are quite a few of us out there that want to receive them more often. Not only are we requesting those emails, but we are also buying directly from them. 66% of us are making purchases straight from an email. That is huge.

Okay, I’ve been throwing a lot of numbers at you, please hang in there with me. I have an important to make your email worthwhile. Direct Marketing Association states that for every $1 spent, you can earn a return of $44.25. I’m not sure any other channel can hold up to those numbers. But ROI isn’t only measured by monetary means. In our March webinar, we discussed ways to measure the ROI that isn’t about the dollars. You can count on the impressions that your brand receives from the market exposure of email, and the indirect marketing potential in creating downstream revenue. You can see and analyze where you can reach and engage people in your brand. And lastly, most importantly, it can be measuring your brand’s performance in terms of building and maintaining relationships with individuals. It may be hard to see the direct return on email in dollars only, unless you’re an eCommerce site. But by using email to distribute your brand and messaging, you can extend your reach efficiently and cost effectively.

Now, I’d like to take some time to talk about the components of an email and how you can make your emails have a great return for you. I’ve assembled 14 practices to make your email successful and provide the results you’re looking for. The start of all email begins with a list. Your motto should be “ABC–Always be collecting emails.” It’s important that we include the element of opt-in for these emails. There’s a difference between collecting the emails and getting permission to email those describers. The CAN-SPAM Regulations state that you must have permission to communicate with them via email.

There are several ways to collect email addresses. You can always collect them on your website, through Facebook, or offline at events or even in your office. The point is to keep gathering emails and to make it easy for your audience to opt in to your emails.

In addition to providing different places to opt in, you can provide different emails to mail to them, different options to mail to them. USA Today has a lot of options. By breaking out the type of content you want to receive, they can tailor their messages to you. If you select “Breaking News” and nothing else, they can only mail that particular newsletter to you. You haven’t given them permission for other emails to be sent. But if you opt in to their special offers, you will get a variety of different types of emails.

Here’s an example of one newsletter signup providing a variety of topics. This is from Billings Clinic. They’re using private health news to serve up relevant articles and they’re in my health newsletter. In addition to asking you what content you’d like to receive, they are collecting some personal data from you, so they can tailor their content more and provide ways to segment the list.

And here’s an example of a signup on Lululemon’s site. It’s prominently displayed on the homepage. Simply stating “Be the first to know,” you enter your email address and select “Sign me up.” They aren’t asking for more information, just the email. So always be collecting those emails. As you know, some of your subscribers opt out along the way, and you will continually need to rebuild your list.

Now that you’ve gained their permission, let’s work on segmenting your list. You will want to segment your list so that you are mailing to the customers who are most likely to open and read your content. By segmenting in it, you can make your email more powerful. You are selecting the group of individuals who are the most likely to respond. This is critical to your success, and you can target your audience by Opens/Purchase/Gender/Geographical Location and many more different areas. You will find that they will be more engaged with your brand is their experience is customized. Does this mean that you need to stop sending your overall newsletter? Not at all. It just means that maybe, you can repurpose some of that content and send out more targeted news.

Here’s an example of targeting by gender. Duluth Trading Company, the company who is famous for their men’s ballroom jeans sends me emails that focus on their women’s clothing line. They also tailor their “From” address at Duluth Trading for Women.

How we can do segmentation in the healthcare industry? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve listed out several examples specifically for healthcare. I’ll let you review those instead of reading them out all the way out for you. I want you to understand that there are a lot of opportunities for you to segment your audience, and provide a better and more personalized communication to your subscribers. I think my favorite example listed here is receiving parenting tips as my child grows. I know I receive those at my annual visit…well child visits, and I always take a look at those.

Now that we have our audience selected for the email, let’s get started on building out the email. Starting with the subject line, which is the first thing your subscribers will notice. An engaging subject line should be simple and honest with a sense of why you need to open. A subject line can provide what benefits they can find inside the email, or what discount they may get, or highlight an upcoming local event. Let’s go over some ways to make your subject line work for you.

Personalizing your subject line can bring a lift in opens. Everyone likes to feel special. By adding the subscriber’s first name to the subject line, you can increase open rates by as much as 26%. Let’s look at the L.L. Bean example. L.L. Bean customizes my email with women’s tees because they know I’m female. And they follow up the email with a second personalized message using my first name. Macy’s identifies me as one of their very best customers, and they send me a series of emails using a combination of non and personalized subject lines. By keeping it mixed up, it keeps it fresh. Another form of personalization is by location. Michaels Craft Shop knows where the nearest location is to me. And I love that SiriusXM personalized with my name and to really grab my attention, they use music emojis.

When you are writing your subject line, you have such limited space to get your point across. A best practice is to keep it under 50 characters. And if your audience is on iPhones, you’ll want to go even shorter. IPhones can only show about 32 characters. Sometimes, you’ll see longer subject lines and maybe their testing has proved that to be successful for them. But if your audience is reading your email on a smartphone, the subject line will get cut off.

Inbox fatigue is real. And if your subscribers are asking you to send them an email, make it count by engaging them in a meaningful way. One way to keep your emails fresh is to test the subject lines. A/B testing is the best method for this. Here’s a subject line test from Kohl’s. One subject leads with the discount, and both display the discount opportunities within the subject line and portray them as [inaudible 00:10:39]. Both emails will have the exact same content when you open them and will have the same offer. Which one do you think will win? Well, I’m guessing that the one that leads with the 40% off will win, but I don’t know what those results are. I’d love to see them. When they take a look at the results, not only would you want to see who had the better opens, but you’d want to see who bought more.

When you are writing your engaging subject lines, there are a few techniques that seem to be popular. You can lead with a promotion or an offer. Curiosity always pulls me in, and when someone creates a subject line in a form of a question, I’m always opening those. Sometimes when you see negative statements, like what you shouldn’t do, intrigues also, and we find out what we should be doing versus what we shouldn’t be doing or vice-versa. And the last one, I like it when the newsletter subject gives me a snippet of the articles aside. “Got the summer blues?” “Fall class schedule,” etc.

If I show you some tips for good subject lines, I think we need to review a few bad ones. The first one, “Three-Part Followup Series.” I don’t understand why they would send that. Why would I open that? It seems like “Three-part series” sounds time-consuming, and it didn’t even tell me what the series was for, so I’m deleting that one. I don’t suggest that you reuse a subject line for monthly or weekly emails. Who really opens 52 weeks’ of emails with that subject line? And lastly, I personally hate this, sticking the month and year to your subject. As if I’m unaware that it’s September. I’m guessing that someone who is doing that is making it easier on themselves and using it as an archive technique. But I’m guessing most subscribers won’t be keeping around for months to need it.

An important piece of real estate in email copy is the pre-header. The pre-header text is used by subscribers as a pre-screening tool. The pre-header copy should play off the subject line, and introduce the story and message of the email. It’s visible right after your subject line and your email client. Just to make sure everybody knows what I mean by “email client,” it is what you read your email in. It can be Gmail, like shown in this example; Outlook, Apple Mail, or whatever.

I want to share a great example of a subject line, pre-header, and copy working together. Warby Parker, who sells eyeglasses, starts with an intriguing subject line that is clear and very short. “That is fast.” The pre-header helps pull me in with “It’s time to return your frames.” And then, the content of the email restates that it’s time to send them back, and provides instructions on how to do it.

Many times, people waste the pre-header by stating “View on mobile” or “Unsubscribe here.” This lack of attention to this space can cost you opens. This email is actually responsive, so asking to view online really isn’t necessary. Use the pre-header to reiterate the content and to support the subject line.

As we assemble our email, we need to pay particular attention to the call to action of the email. The entire email should be focused on what action you want your user to take. By providing an easy to see, easy to react to call to action, you can assist the reader in getting to the point. All of the content should focus on what we want the user to do, drawing them in to take our desired action. These emails nicely show graphic buttons to push the reader to start shopping or to shop now.

Now, if you’re not getting the clicks you want, I suggest you start testing your call to action within your audience. See what resonates best for your audience. I’ve seen research that states “Learn more” is better than “Buy now.” Try the placement of the copy or the call to action button. Test different colors of the copy or the button. Your testing can result in your own best practice to use on your emails. Once you’ve set your best practice, don’t forget to occasionally retest to see if your audience remains loyal to what you’ve tested to be true, or if they prefer something different. And number six, seriously, it seems like an obvious best practice, but we want to keep our email copy short and scannable. We have seconds to keep their attention and get them to take action.

Whenever possible, try to arrange your content in an easily readable format, using bullets and images to break up the layout, and it increases usability. These newsletters are using images and short paragraphs to convey their news. Ensure your copy is easy to read. You may include images to break up the content or choose to use buttons. Breaking up the text with headlines or doing it with a different font style to emphasize this copy works really well.

And number seven, show off your brand. You want to show your colors and your brand throughout the emails. Extend the look of your website and other marketing materials. You should be using your logo and corporate colors in your emails, extending your look and feel throughout the entire experience from inbox to website, inside your organization. Under Armour uses their large, dramatic images along with their site navigation and logo at the top to keep the consistent feel from email to website.

Creating visual consistency throughout your emails helps people familiarize with you and your brand, making them more likely to engage with you more. Mercy does a nice job at keeping the Mercy Blue corporate color in their emails and it extends to their website.

This is another design best practice that I think is paramount: designing responsive emails. Here at Geonetric, we encourage building websites that are responsive and I cannot stress enough that your emails should be responsive as well.

People today are checking their phones over 150 times a day. We’ve already heard all the places they’re checking it. So you know it would be missing a huge audience if you didn’t create responsive emails. Let’s take advantage of their willingness to read email while they have downtime throughout their day. Email is read more on mobile than on desktop email clients. According to Litmus, 49% of all emails open on a mobile device. Web mail follows with 29% and only 22% of us are viewing on the desktop.

Here’s an example of a non-responsive newsletter. This shows why it’s so important to design for mobile. There is so much information in this newsletter, and they include it in their subject line, too. They listed four titles of the articles in the subject and finish it off with “And more.” That subject is way too long. The email tried to keep the full-size formatting for their mobile view rendering it pretty unusable and quite unreadable on a mobile device. It is important to design your emails so that they can be read on both the mobile and desktop. Otherwise, your readers are missing your content.

All right, number nine, tracking your links. This is an important step in the process to see where your customers are clicking and going on your site from your emails. By monitoring the click map of your email, you can see where your subscribers are clicking on. For a recent webinar email, you can see that the majority of the clicks were on the “Register Now” button. We track every email and monitor when someone clicks, opens, or unsubscribes. We look for trends in our unsubscribes to see if we are mailing too much, or maybe too little.

In addition to seeing where they click on your email, you will want to add analytic tracking information to your links, so you can see where the users are going on your website. You can find out a lot about your users through the tracking codes. For example, we can see the analytics show us that Apple users make up over 69% of our traffic during this time period. The iPhone is accounting for 51% of those visitors. Trackable analytic codes are those strange UTM source equals in the URLs that you see. They are helpful in seeing where your subscribers are going, and which emails and topics perform the best beyond the click.

And number ten, don’t forget to be social in your emails. We want to add social sharing icons to your emails as a way to continue your engagement with your subscriber. By including an option for your Facebook page and Twitter account, you are providing an opportunity to continue your brand and conversion in many different ways. You will want to test the placement of these in your email. Mayo Clinic places them within their header, but most often, I see them at the bottom of an email.

In email marketing, we adhere to the regulations set forth in the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. So for number 11, we are going to review two of the must-haves to comply with the rules. Let me make my most disclaimer statement, that these items are not all of the regulations covered in the CAN-SPAM Act, just two of them.

You should use your full company name and physical address. Best practices to use a copyright with the current year shown, so you can easily pull these two items together at the bottom of your email. If you’re using a third party to mail your emails, such as Private and Health news to send out your newsletter, it’s okay that they use their physical mailing address. The “Unsubscribe” link must be accessible and working. Note that the term “accessible” doesn’t mean it has to be at the top of your email. It is standard practice to have it below the content, as seen in these examples.

Okay, we have put together all of the elements into the email. Now, it’s time to make sure it all works. Best practice number 12 is beyond the A/B testing of subject lines, or click to action, or design elements. We are talking about actually testing how your email will perform and look in the different email clients.

We are talking about the quality control of your email and how it performs. Make sure your test plans include reviewing each of these: spell-checking the email. Do all the fields look correct in the email? Is everything looking right, working right? The links resolved to the right locations? Do you have analytics tracking on all the links?

Another important step in testing is to make sure your email looks good on different clients, as well as mobile devices. We use Litmus to show us how email will look in these clients. It does a great job of rendering in all the different email clients on desktop and mobile, so you can take a look at it before you mail. If your email doesn’t render correctly, you can fix it. It’s really nice to make sure you don’t send out an email that’s broken to your subscribers.

And lucky number 13, when is the best time to mail your emails? It’s a question that everybody asks. With all the reporting metrics we have at our disposal, we can see when our emails are being opened, and when people are taking action. Constant Contact has industry statistics that state healthcare services have the highest email open rates at 6:00 a.m. local time on Monday mornings.

When determining the best time for you to mail, you should look at your own trends, as well as in the industry. You will want to review your open patterns and website statistics before you start scheduling all your campaigns to mail early on Mondays. Another popular way to find the best time to send, is by conducting an A/B test for both the time of day of sending and the day of the week to send.

Okay, we’ve successfully sent your email. Does that mean you’re all done? Well, not exactly. After your mailing, you will need to analyze and measure the results of your mailing. We always want to continue to better our campaigns. By tracking to see what works is great, but it doesn’t always…but what doesn’t work also tells us a lot. Measuring several times after a mailing helps you see how long it takes before activity drops off, or when everything drops off. So you want to take a look at those. There’s several things to take a look at. You can look at opens and clicks. Conversions; did they do what we asked them to do? Did they register for the event or sign up for that class? Or did they buy something? We want to also look at the unsubscribers and see how disinterested they are, the hard and soft bounces that come through. Don’t forget to document these results. Because keeping a spreadsheet with all the data that you can reference later is a wonderful tool, especially when you’re doing testing, so you can back and reference those tests.

Here’s an example of ExactTarget’s overview of email performance. I find it easy to look at, but for archival ease, I usually export this data into Excel, so I can do a nice comparison of my past emails and see what my average opens or clicks are on a similar campaign.

I’d like to review a few healthcare industry measurement rates for email. This study shows that healthcare rates are slightly higher than the overall average rates. An open rate for healthcare is 23.4% and it has a 2% click-through rate. And the click to open rates are a nice 10%. Why do you think healthcare is higher than overall? I think that subscribers are personally invested in their health, and when they subscribe, they really want to read the information. If you personalize the content that you’re sending them, your rates will increase. These measurements are meant to be a guide. Your emails will have your own averages, which may be higher or lower than these rates.

We’ve covered a lot of material today. Some of the best practices, you might already be doing, and others may give you a reason to refresh an old template. Email can positively increase the effectiveness of your marketing. It’s a powerful communication tool that you can use to be the health expert in your community, and the trusted source of all their healthcare needs. All delivered directly into their inbox.

All right, let’s begin to review some emails. I know this is what you’ve been waiting for, and I’ve made you wait through to leave this at the end, so first off, I want to thank you all for submitting your emails to review. I love checking them all out, and I reviewed your emails, and I’ve created a few areas to discuss for each of our submissions. My hope is that you will take some of these ideas back and tweak your next campaign. And it would be great to hear what you are testing, and how it worked.

Starting with Abington-Jefferson Health’s email on their upcoming sessions. This has good information and the subject leads me right to what the email has to offer. It uses social icons, and the brand is apparent with logos and colors. I did, however, see that the pre-header is overloaded with three instructions; “View online,” “Add email to inbox,” and “Unsubscribe.” Unless you are having trouble with your emails being marked with spam, you can move the “Unsubscribe” to the bottom of the email. You don’t want to ask your reader to add the email to the inbox at the top, because they haven’t read it yet. Maybe include that at the bottom if you have to have that.

And “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here.” Try simplifying that language and move it to sit right above the logo. Use maybe “View online.” The header graphic is not linked to the site, so I’d expect that the classes and the programs and the location and the logo all be linked to separate areas. This email is non-responsive, so it doesn’t move with you, so sometimes, you can’t read all of the copy when you’re on mobile view. You might want to tighten the design up, because there’s a lot of space used for the header, it’s kind of tall. So if we can move that a little bit shorter, you can bring up the call to action up a little higher, and maybe make the two classes go up side to side, so it brings the call to action up a little bit more.

Altru Health System sent us their “Enrich” newsletter. The articles are relevant, the banner height is nice and short, the layout is clean and easy to scan. I liked how they used the different headlines and copy and the call to action fonts. All of them are different, but yet, you can scan right through and know what you need to do.

The branding doesn’t really match the website. There’s no logo on the email and it doesn’t have the same company colors as the website does, and the header doesn’t link. I keep trying and it never links through. And the subject line could be a little bit more descriptive. It simply states “Enrich.” Which is great to lead them with what the newsletter is, but it maybe doesn’t tell them what’s inside to get them to open it. I also notice there isn’t tracking codes on the links, so you can’t tell where it’s driving the traffic.

Billings Clinic sent My Health eNews. This one has relevant content. It’s the information I requested when I had the signup form. So it makes it kind of long because I requested a lot. And I liked how the content…in the content, not only was there generic information about asthma or diabetes, but there was also a Billings content added in there. So it was personalized to that location and helped you bring it in to the company. There was lots of branding in this header, and the logo and color usage was nice.

I will say the award banner, it’s a great honor to have that, and it’s wonderful that you’re promoting that. But it takes up a lot of room in your email. And maybe you can move that up into the header banner, and remove the personalized eNewsletter from Billings Clinic out of the header since you already have that…that you’ve told them about it, and you have your logo in there, so you remove the different logos that are in there. But just to clean it up a little and bring that up. We need to bring the call to action up a little bit more.

This isn’t a responsive email, so it’s hard to read on mobile. And the pre-header copy…you might want to use this area as another content area. Maybe you could pull the My Health eNews, your personalized eNewsletter from Billings Clinic, into the pre-header copy. Currently, the copy states “Trouble reading this newsletter? Read online here. View it in your browser.” You can also shorten that copy to just “View online.”

Cape Cod Healthcare has OneCape Health News. These are great visuals. They’re relevant…the images are relevant to the article and they lead you to the headline. And when you click through, the image is also on the website. So it kind of keeps the consistency there. The copy is scannable and short and informative, and the branding from the logo and headline extends to the website. The subject is descriptive, it tells me the newsletter, and references the top three articles.

Acronyms…however, in the subject, there’s an acronym. Using acronyms that your audience might not know in the subject line is kind of hard. It says “Introducing TABR.” But in the copy in the newsletter, it doesn’t reflect TABR anywhere. And you have to click through the article to see what that relates to. I had actually looked that one up, so, anyway…

I’d also like to see some social icons on the email, and we’d like this to be a responsive design. On a phone, you wouldn’t read any of the headlines. You’d just see the images unless you scrolled to the right. The call to action text colors for each article are light grey and don’t stand out very much, so you may want to change that.

Here’s Cone Health’s Wellness Matters newsletter. The logo is prominent and you get the feel…their links are trackable, and they included the use of social icons. It’s really good scannable content, it’s short, and it’s brief. I will say that the introduction paragraph “Welcome to Wellness Matters, a monthly electronic newsletter…” that paragraph shouldn’t even be in there. You send that each month. [inaudible 00:31:19] removed and it’ll bring up space to bring up your articles and make them more prominent. Again, we’d love to see this to be a responsive design in emails.

Now, I know I’ve said that several times and I want you to know that everybody’s viewing on their phones, only 11% of us are creating emails that are responsive. So we really need to work harder at making sure that we’re communicating to our subscribers in the method that they want to view it in. And the subject line, I’d like to see more than just “Wellness Matters” in the subject line. I would like to see some more “What’s in this email for me to open it?”

Mercy Medical Center sends out an eTouch newsletter. Their branding is good; it uses their corporate colors and their logos from their site. The subject “Urgent care v. ER, where should I go?” in the form of a question pulls me in nicely. The social icons are used. There’s good content. It’s scannable and links are on each one.

Another pinpoint for me or a touchy point for me is not having the header linked. I like to see that linked back to the site. The content order that was in the subject references the third article that’s in the email, so I’d like that to be more in order. I’d also love to see the upcoming events to be pulled up higher, and maybe reduce it down to five events instead of the top ten events, so they can see those. I think that the spacing in this email is very tight, and if we can shorten some of the copy and add some space between the copy lines, it’ll give the reader an easier time to go through it. Again, this is a non-responsive email and we’d love to see that made responsive.

And our last review, Milford Regional Medical Center. The branding is very consistent with the site. It shows the green and purple on the site as well. All of the links are great, they have tracking items, and everything is linked; the images and copy and that kind of thing. I liked how the patient story in the middle of the email…this is a rather long email, so the patient story broke it up nicely with the different treatment to it. And the lecture series was prominent in the upper left. It was easy to review, and I can see if I wanted to go to any of them.

I mentioned it’s a really long email with lots of articles. So I would suggest making the articles a little bit shorter, and using…clicking off to the main article on the site. So by doing that, you’d be able to reduce that need for that index in this one. Because in the first, I don’t know, maybe couple of inches, you’re using an index to promote what’s in the email and where you could be putting your main article there. It’s a non-responsive design, so you can’t see a lot of things other than what’s in the left side without scrolling.

You use social icons, which is awesome. But maybe take them out of the headers since you already used them in the footer area. And the opening article, which is the subject line, was hard to see the time and date of the event. And maybe you could use the same treatment that you used on your front of site where it pulled out “You’re invited…” October…I think it’s 3rd. I’m sorry, I did not say the right date. And have it prevalent and listed, and then maybe bullet out some of the activities that are going on instead of placing the copy in paragraph form. All right.

Liz: We will now open the floor for questions covering as many as we can in the time remaining. Don’t worry if we don’t get to your question. We’ll follow up after we’re done today. We had a couple questions, Corina, on permission. “When do we need to get permission, especially when we can give them the sort of information?”

Corina: “The sort of information,” sorry.

Liz: So you referenced on the Lululemon, that they ask for the email, and then are allowed to send all types of information. Whereas sometimes in healthcare, people are asked to give different levels of permission many times.

Corina: Right. So when you’re opting someone in to send an email to them, you can either leave it vague and just ask them for an email address, which doesn’t give them the opportunity to target which kind of content they want. Or you can say which newsletters you have and which ones you want to opt in to. If you do that and they opt in to one out the…so you have two emails and they opt in to one and not the other, you can’t mail them the other one. Even though they opted in to emails overall, they’ve specifically asked for that first email.

So you have to be aware that even though you’ve got their email addresses, not all the times, can you send to them. Which I know we have another question about “Can I build my email list with past class attendees? We didn’t have an opt-in for the signup form, but we mailed them class confirmations. Can we email them for different campaigns?” Again, if you sign them up for the classes, that’s great that you have them, that email address, and maybe you could pull those email addresses out and send an opt-in campaign to get them to opt in to mail other emails to them. You can do this once, and try and do it within a timely manner.

I think I would say three to six months would be the longest. But if you can do it a shorter time frame, that would be great. But please add opt-ins to any place that you can, especially your class signups. Because then, you can ask them if they’d like to…you can send them more upcoming class dates at a later time. Do we have any other questions?

Liz: “Our compliance department wants multiple levels of permission. Are we being overly careful?”

Corina: “Multiple levels of permission.” I think that if you have permission to mail them emails for your marketing materials, that that level of permission is okay. Now, if you just have their email…like, they’re in the system for EPIC, you can’t just start emailing them a marketing material. They have to opt in for that. So you’d have to create an opt-in campaign for some of those people that you have emails for, like I mentioned before. And you really have to watch where you’re gathering emails. You don’t want to buy lists. Those are not very…how would I say, they’re not very responsive for that. They don’t generally work for you.

Liz: We’ll take one final question. Somebody had asked “How do I manage unsubscribes?”

Corina: Sometimes, your email service provider helps you do that. It goes directly from your website into…it sends code to tell them to take them off the list, and that’s all that happens. But if you’re managing your list manually, you’d have to take them out individually. And it’s good to note that you keep them in a suppression list or keep them ongoing so that…and remove them from your list…obviously, remove them from your list. But it’s always good to have an archival bat. Who knows, maybe someday, they’ll opt back in and they’ll be back on your list.

Liz: Great, thanks, Corina. Don’t forget to fill out the post-webinar survey where you can share your thoughts on today’s webinar. On the survey, you’ll be able to request our email checklist takeaway. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for an email review. This is a great way to get personalized feedback on your organizations, emails, and recommendations on how to improve your content and conversions.

Be sure to join us on October 21st at 1:00 Central time for our next webinar, “Website Strategy & Content for Medical Groups.” Learn how Cone Health Medical Group in Greensboro, North Carolina worked with Geonetric to effectively communicate its system brand online, while considering individual physician practice identity. Through this in-depth case study presentation, you’ll learn the secrets behind our multifaceted strategic process that led to a cohesive and intuitive Web presence for this medical group.

Email Marketing: The Opportunity You Can’t Afford to Miss!