Using Email to Warm Hearts and Minds: Email Marketing that Empowers Both Practice and Patient

Email marketing remains a cornerstone of connecting with your audience. Unlike other more transient forms of marketing (like social), email is a direct line to your patients, one that you control fully. It’s a great tool for keeping your audience engaged, but the way you use this tool can significantly impact its effectiveness.

Email Marketing: The Basics

Email marketing can broadly be divided into two types: promotional emails and nurture emails.

  • Promotional Emails are straightforward in their intent. They aim to sell a service or product and are often direct with calls to action like “Book Now” or “Buy Today.” These emails can be effective for short-term gains but won’t foster a long-term relationship with your audience.
  • Nurture Emails, on the other hand, are about building relationships over time (and these are the ones we’re talking about here). They focus on providing valuable content to your audience, like helpful resources, educational materials, and relevant advice. The idea is not to sell but to offer consistent value that helps, educates, and adds value to the reader’s life or knowledge base.

Nurture emails differ from promotional emails in their approach and goals.

  • Approach: Nurture emails are subtle. They’re not about immediate sales but about providing value. This could be through sharing tips, news, and resources that can help your patients understand and manage their conditions better.
  • Goals: The ultimate goal of nurture emails is to build trust and move people through the customer journey at their own pace. Instead of pushing for a sale, you’re fostering a relationship, so when the time comes for the patient to seek services, your clinic is at the forefront of their minds.

In my webinars I tuse the mneumonic HEAL as a strategy you can use to guide your emails.

  • Help: Your emails should aim to resolve common issues or answer frequently asked questions your patients might have.
  • Educate: Provide insights into common conditions, new research findings, or explanations of treatment methods.
  • Add value: Share resources that your patients can use, like advice leaflets, cheatsheets or guides.
  • Learn: Use the feedback and interaction data from your emails to understand what topics your audience engages with the most, helping you refine future content.

Why Email Marketing is Essential

Email is a channel you control, unlike social media where algorithms dictate who sees which of your posts. It allows for scheduled, reliable delivery of your message directly to your audience. It’s also scalable – as your list grows, so does your reach and it takes no extra effort to send an email to one person as it does to 1,000 people. This direct and controlled method of communication ensures that your messages are received by your audience, making it an invaluable tool for any clinic.

Email marketing, when done correctly, can be the most effective way to maintain and grow your patient base by providing consistent value and building a trustworthy brand. Keep the focus on nurturing your audience, and they will look to you first for their physical therapy needs.

The other great thing is that very few practitioners are doing it which very likely to be THE major contributor to why most people’s marketing is not as effective as they hope it will be! This means there’s a real opportunity for you to rise above ‘the others’.

The Significance of Your Email List

Your email list is a critical asset to your practice. It’s a direct measure of your reach and influence, and with proper care, it can be a source of sustained growth. This list is like a garden; it requires regular attention and nurturing to flourish. If tended to, it can bear fruit in the form of patient loyalty and clinic revenue, but if neglected, it will fail to produce results.

When evaluating the health of a clinic, particularly for prospective buyers of your business, one of the key metrics to consider is the size and engagement of the email list. A robust, active list is a good indicator that the clinic maintains strong relationships with its patients and has a solid foundation for future marketing initiatives.

The Role of Audience in Sales Potential

An audience is essential for sales. Without a group of people to hear your message, no transactions can take place. Your email list represents a pre-built audience, each member a potential or existing patient who has shown interest in what you have to offer. This interest is what you leverage to generate sales, making the audience not just recipients of information but active participants in the growth of your practice.

As we’ve said before, it’s the only channel you have complete control of what you say, to whom and when.

Benefits of Nurture-Based Emails

Sending nurture-based emails can transform your marketing strategy and the health of your practice:

  • Offer Advice for Free: This positions you as a helpful resource, not just a service provider.
  • Add Value to People’s Lives: By providing useful content, you enrich your patients’ daily lives.
  • Build Likeability: People do business with those they like. Friendly, helpful emails increase this likeability factor.
  • Foster Trust and Relationship: Consistent, valuable contact builds trust, a cornerstone of any therapeutic relationship.
  • Easy to Share and Forward: Good content gets shared, expanding your reach organically.
  • Encourage Reciprocity: Providing value can make patients more likely to give back, be it through choosing your services or referrals.
  • Establish Authority: Informative content reinforces your expertise in your field.
  • Non-intrusive: Unlike ads, emails can be read at the recipient’s convenience, making them less intrusive.
  • Boost Brand Awareness: Regular emails keep your clinic in the minds of your patients.
  • Clinical Tipping Points: By staying in touch, you’ll be the first thought when a patient’s need arises.
  • Guide Through States of Awareness: Your content can educate patients on various conditions and treatments, guiding them through their journey of awareness.
  • Long-Term Relationships: Ultimately, nurture emails are about building lasting connections that go beyond transactions.

By incorporating these aspects into your email marketing efforts, you ensure that your practice not only maintains but also strengthens its patient relationships and market position. Your email list is not just a list of contacts; it’s a community that you’re a part of and contribute to, and from which both you and your patients can derive significant value.

So Why Don’t More People Do It?

  • Concern about spamming: It’s important to differentiate between spam and helpful content. Spam is unsolicited and irrelevant, but what you’re providing is neither. Your weekly emails are writte specifically to add value, not to sell. They’re a service in themselves, offering advice and resources that can genuinely help your audience.
  • Worry over unsubscribers: Unsubscribers are a natural part of email marketing and can actually be beneficial. They help maintain a clean list of engaged readers. Those who opt-out are unlikely to convert into customers and can negatively impact your engagement rates, which in turn affects email deliverability. Letting them go is healthy for your list’s overall performance.
  • Uncertainty on content creation: Not knowing what to say or finding it time-consuming to create content is a common hurdle. That’s precisely why services like the Clinic Growth Hub exist. Subscribers receive weekly pre-written emails that are designed to be informative and engaging. These can be customized to reflect your clinic’s voice, removing the burden of content creation from your shoulders.

Remember, email marketing is not about immediate sales. It’s about building rapport and trust with your audience over time. By providing consistent, valuable content, you’re not just marketing; you’re contributing to the well-being of your audience, which is the essence of healthcare.

A Nurture Programme Is the Necessary “Cart Before the Horse”

Growing your email list should be viewed as a vital, ongoing component of your clinic’s marketing strategy, whatever stage of business you’re in. In fact, your success at marketing is likely to be dictated by your focus on this task. An expanding list represents fresh opportunities to connect, educate, and build relationships with potential clients. It’s an essential practice to future-proof your business, ensuring that you have an ever-growing audience to engage with, regardless of your immediate need for new clients.

However, before you focus on expanding your list, it’s crucial to have an email nurture programme in place. Without a nurture programme, your new contacts may quickly become disengaged. Imagine meeting someone who shows interest in your services but then hearing nothing from you for months. By the time you contact them, they will probably have forgotten about you, or worse, they may feel neglected. A nurture program keeps the conversation going. It ensures that from the moment someone signs up to your list, they receive regular, valuable content that keeps them engaged and informed.

A well-structured nurture programme warms up your leads, preventing them from going cold. It’s like having an ongoing conversation that builds rapport over time. This way, when you’re ready to introduce a new service or need to increase your client base, you have a warm audience that is receptive to your message.

Growing your email list is a marketing priority that has compounding benefits over time. Here’s why it’s essential:

  • Sustainable Client Base: A growing list ensures a sustainable flow of potential clients into your business.
  • Increased Reach: Every new subscriber is an opportunity to broaden your influence and establish your brand.
  • Market Resilience: Having a large, engaged list means you’re less vulnerable to market fluctuations; you have a direct line to an audience that knows and trusts you (just think back to Covid, if you’d had a warm, engaged list, ready to take action on your behalf, you could have started revenue generation activities much more quickly and much more effectively than if your list was cold).
  • Future Campaigns: Launching any future marketing campaigns will be more effective with a larger list to draw from.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: An expanding list provides data and insights into what your potential clients are interested in, allowing you to tailor your services and communications effectively.

Growing Your Email List

In order to grow your email list you need three key components:

  1. A highly desirable lead magnet
  2. An email sign up page
  3. Some content to help you promote your lead magnet

To put this process on ‘speed’ just ad some paid social media ads into the mix and you’ll be collecting new email leads from day 1 (we’ll discuss this more in a future blog post on paid ads).

As the workload and technical expertise involved in this process often puts people off, this was one of the first things we built into our Co-Kinetic platform and it continues to form a key component of each new campaign we create. It’s not obligatory, but for the experienced marketers who know how important building a targeted audience of prospective clients is, everything is included within the Clinic Growth Hub to help you do this (including the social media ad and copy).

In Summary

To conclude, growing an audience with email marketing is about nurturing relationships and offering consistent value. It’s not about hard sales or inundating inboxes, but about providing helpful, informative content that resonates with your audience. Remember, unsubscribers are a natural filter, ensuring your message reaches those most receptive to it. And if content creation and email collection is a challenge, there are resources available, like the Clinic Growth Hub that I produce, designed to streamline this process for you.

With a strong nurture programme in place, you can focus on expanding your list confidently, knowing that you have the mechanisms to keep your audience warm and engaged. The combination of lead magnets, effective lead collection pages, and compelling promotional content will set you on the path to a growing, healthy and profitable email list.

Next Steps

  • If you’re questioning your current strategy, wondering if your budget could be working harder, or simply need a sanity check on your marketing approach, I’m here to chat. No strings attached, just honest advice tailored to your clinic. And if you’re curious about the marketing solutions I offer, like some of those we’ve discussed in this post, we can cover that too. You can book a chat with me here.

Blog Author

Tor Davies

Co-Kinetic Founder

I’m a physio-turned publisher with a passion for technology and a ‘verging on OCD-like’ obsession with efficiency and effectiveness! I spend way too much time coming up with new ways of using technology to help practitioners develop their businesses, a topic that I also speak on regularly at global conferences. I’m mad about dogs and love pubs too 🙂