By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Email marketing is a powerful healthcare marketing tool because it is relatively low cost, it’s quick and immediate, and nearly everyone uses it. That’s the easy part.
The trouble is that it is increasingly difficult to do it right. The perfect email—one that is opened, read, acted upon and shared—is elusive. Frankly, devising an effective email message is deceptively difficult.
The primary challenge is all about thinking small; being able to present a compelling message in a short-but-attention-getting subject line with concise-but-compelling content. A huge chunk (upwards of 90 percent, by some estimates) of your audience:
- Is checking their email on a mobile device
- Is busy and/or on the move, especially doctors
- Didn’t expect or invite your email message
- Have no reason to be interested until/unless you provide one
On one hand, the proliferation of smartphones means that nearly everyone has one. But it also means that, for most recipients, the available digital real estate is a small screen, which can mean messages are more easily overlooked, ignored, or deleted by time-challenged readers.
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
Excellent writing skills are hard to find, and writing shorter–clean and concise–is a major creative challenge. Keeping the mobile, small-screen audience in mind, here are several ways to perfect your email marketing efforts:
The Make-It-or-Break-It Subject Line: Be amazing in six words or less. If the subject line doesn’t draw the reader to the text, it’s a fast delete and the message is never seen or read. With limited screen space available, open rates optimize at four to seven words.
Engage the reader with compelling content: The main text, as well as the subject line, must arouse curiosity, express urgency, provide relevance, deliver value and/or inspire emotion.
Make the big idea first and fast: Clearly express your primary point at the beginning, and don’t lose the reader in preamble.
Deliver a benefit: Provide something of value or assistance. There’s got to be something useful for the reader.
Focus on a single action step: Be clear about what you want the reader to do (the Call-to-Action), and make it obvious about how to do it.
Have a deadline: With no sense of urgency, it’s not special and it’s easily forgotten.
It’s all about them, not about you: Write to the individual, not the masses. Relate to the reader as much as possible and let them know what’s in this for them.
Brevity is better: Shorter email messages tend to outperform long ones.
Eliminate buzzwords, jargon and clichés.
Always proofread: Have someone else review your work with fresh eyes. Do this more than once. Do it again.
Writing for brevity and impact is a creative challenge. Contact us and we’ll be glad to help. There’s more about this topic in our educational library, including:
- 20 Rules to Kick-Start Successful Email Marketing
- 7 Tips to Writing the Perfect Healthcare Email Subject Line
- 31 Words You Can’t Use in Email and Other Safety Tips