Email is dead. Just kidding—in fact, email adoption among young people has increased markedly, with a 69-to-82 percent increase among teens in recent years. All this to say that a platform that may be perceived to have seen better days is still alive and well. And for hospital and clinic brands, email communication continues to be a very lucrative method of engaging patients both current and potential.

Consider these tactics to reinvent your healthcare brand's email strategy.

Position a Preview

If your open rate is relatively strong but your click-through rate is abysmal, there's something wrong with your email content. One potential cause that might be tripping up your readers is a dense or difficult-to-digest message. If you plan to include a variety of subjects in a given email or the body of said message goes on at length about a certain topic, it might be worth testing out a succinct preview section in the body of your send. Try out a bulleted list of high-level topics that are to be covered in the ensuing email in the same way that many new media publishers do—see how a segment of your sending list reacts to this method of displaying information by including links in the bulleted section. Make your healthcare brand's content easily skimmable.

Clean Your List

One surefire way to spur an unsubscribe (and to potentially get your sending IP dinged as potential spam) is to continue to roll with a subpar email list. Your database of subscribers should be a healthy roster of your known patients and leads and their most up-to-date email addresses. Scrub your list for duplicates and addresses that are no longer in use via a verification tool or simply by holding your marketing database up against your patient portal or CRM. The more accurate your list is, the better your delivery, open and click-through rates can become.

Encourage Feedback

If the end goal of sending out communications to your consumers is to get a response or encourage, don't close the feedback loop before it's even begun. Sending widely circulated email messages with a "no-reply" address or explicitly stating "don't reply to this message" is a recipe for causing your patients and leads to lose interest. Save that for an appointment notification system—marketing emails should do the opposite. Suffer through a few out-of-office and auto-reply responses and keep that line of communication open—your recipients may actually offer you some insight into how you can make sends more valuable in the future, and a consumer is all the more likely to be endeared to a healthcare brand with a communicative, human side.

Verify the Validity

Whether it's a grand hospital-wide announcement or flu season has arrived and it's time to proclaim vaccine availability, bulk sends can trip up on one major flaw—not passing the smell test. Before hitting send on a mass email, read it as a consumer. Ask yourself, "Would I care enough to open and read this email? Is the content compelling and relevant enough to me to merit space in my inbox?" If you answer "no" or hesitate before saying "yes," odds are you're perhaps sending this email to too wide of an audience or you need make it more valid to your recipients. If the end goal isn't to take a clear, specific action that is at least halfway likely to happen based on the recipient list, an email perhaps isn't the right form of communication.

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