Healthcare provider’s guide to email marketing

Healthcare professionals work hard to win their patient’s trust. While the goal is to keep people healthy, you still want to maintain patient relationships for when they need you.

Email marketing for healthcare providers can help make sure that you're their first pick when something does happen. Email enables you to keep in touch with your patients, build long-lasting relationships and stay top of mind.

Healthcare marketing falls into two areas: acquisition (getting new patients) and retention (turning them into regular patients).

Acquisition strategies often rely on online reviews, advertising, promotions and social media to get new patients. When you get that new patient, you work hard to win their trust and deliver a positive experience. That is priority numero uno.

What’s priority number 2? Growing your email list!

Email marketing is the best channel for healthcare providers to build long-lasting relationships with their patients. After their initial experience, email marketing allows you to stay in touch until they need you again.

This guide to healthcare email marketing is designed to give you the tools, tips and newsletter examples to get the most out of email marketing.

Email is a unique marketing channel. You completely control the message with an audience that wants to hear from you. It’s a mutual relationship that empowers you both to establish a deeper connection.

Hopefully, you only see your patients a few times a year. When you see them, you build a rapport that makes them feel comfortable. Email lets you extend that trust throughout the year.

Email is proven to be very useful. Based on our data, the average open rate for healthcare emails is 23.46% with a super-high 3.62% click-through rate. It’s one of the highest open rates among all industries!

This goes to show that patients engage with health care emails and, more than in other industries, actively open and read these emails.

​How healthcare providers win with email marketing
  • King of retention. The livelihood of your practice depends on your ability to show patients that you’re the right pick and maintain that trust for each visit. Email marketing attracts and retains customers better than any other channel.
  • Speak directly to your patients. Email marketing gives you a direct line to your patients. You can target personalized emails based on their interests, medical conditions, etc.
  • Enhance social media. The organic reach of your Facebook page keeps declining while ad costs increase. Social media is still essential, but you can significantly enhance it by combining it with email.
  • People want to hear from you. Not only have your readers opted-in to hear from you, but studies also confirm that people prefer receiving promotional content through email.

There’s little debate that email marketing is essential for any thriving healthcare practice. Now, let’s go deeper into how you can start and maintain a successful health care email marketing campaign.

When it comes to healthcare marketing, the standard email list building tactics don’t always apply.

Most healthcare providers don’t have the time or resources to create inbound content to attract new people. Moreover, the number one goal of your website and ad campaigns are to attract and book new appointments – not to build an email list.

That said, not everyone is ready to make an appointment when they are researching you. People like to explore their options to see which one of the offers is the best fit. Give these people more information about your practice and stay connected by inviting them to join your health care email list.

Email marketing also plays a critical role after you’ve landed a new patient. Here are 3 ways healthcare providers can effectively build their email list

1. Get patient emails at the first appointment

As we mentioned, your #1 priority is to give each new patient a first-class experience. But if you want to start building a long-lasting relationship, you also need to keep step #2 in mind – obtain their email address.

When your new patients are filling out paperwork (either digitally or on paper), make sure you include a section that allows them to opt-in.

Here’s a typical form example. Make sure you include a separate checkbox clearly indicating that the patient wants to receive promotional emails. Learn more about GDPR compliant forms here.

medical signup form gdpr example

The paperwork phase is by far the best time to allow opt-in to receive your health care email campaigns. Make it super clear what value your emails will add to their lives to higher the likelihood of your patients checking the opt-in box.

If you want to modernize the process, you can use our iPad app at checkout to seal the deal. Your desk admin can promote the newsletter and let the patients input their information into the tablet right on the spot.

Their email addresses will automatically update in your MailerLite account!

2. Use opt-in forms on your site

Another way to acquire email addresses is to reach people online. If your practice has a blog or uses digital advertising to attract new people to your website, you can create embedded forms, pop-ups or custom landing pages by using your email tool.

You can add forms and pop-ups throughout your site so people have several opportunities to sign up. Place them strategically in various places that won’t interrupt the website experience.

Best places to include a signup form
  • Blog sidebar
  • Blog footer
  • Underneath each blog article (or integrated as a content upgrade)
  • About page
  • A pop-up on your blog

Here’s an example of a nice footer subscriber form from Michigan dental. It’s designed well with a clear value proposition of what the subscriber will receive (all the latest news in dental health).

dental subscriber form example

If you plan on segmenting your list so you can send more targeted newsletters, create a signup page that allows people to choose their preferences. For example, you can let subscribers choose how often they want to hear from you or what topics they’re most interested in. Once they submit the form, they are segmented automatically into your email tool. This allows you to set up health newsletters that focus on a specific topic and choose the automatically created segment when picking your recipients.

Here’s an example from Jersey City Medical. You can see under the name fields that there are checkboxes with various topics. Each subscriber chooses only the ones they want to know more about. This is a powerful way to empower your subscribers to receive only what they want!

healthcare subscriber form with segmentation example

Apart from finding new subscribers via your website, you can also run digital ad campaigns or place links on other digital channels like social media, and create unique landing pages for each campaign.

Here is a BabyCenter landing page that allows you to calculate your baby’s due date. Many aspiring or again-to-be parents will find this information very valuable, making the decision to signup easy.

babycenter healthcare subscriber form example

It’s important to give your website viewers a good reason to sign up. You can offer educational content, special discounts or event notifications. Whatever you decide, make sure you offer value for their email address.

3. Leverage your social media for email signups

Your followers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter are either current patients or potential patients who want to hear from you. Why not get them on your email list as well?

You can add a link to a signup landing page on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and any other social media profiles. Use your social media audience to build your list. When people opt-in to your email list, you have a more direct and effective way of communicating with them via email.

Ways to leverage social media to build your list
  1. Include links on your profile pages that go to a landing page
  2. Use our Facebook integration enabling you to include an opt-in form directly on your pages.
  3. Post useful content that will send people to a CTA to subscribe

Posting a link to a landing page is the easiest and most effective way to connect social and email. Check out how seamless The Joint chiropractic adds a link to their Instagram description.

instagram subscriber page link healthcare example

Building your email list is never-ending. As you grow your social media presence and drive more people to your site, keep thinking about new ways to add to your list.

Before you think about your messaging strategy, make sure you’re using these features that make email so effective.

Email’s amazing ROI comes from its ability to target the right people with a message tailored just for them. The 3 killer features that enable this are segmentation, automation and personalization.

Segment and group your subscribers

Segmentation and group tags divide your subscribers into smaller groups based on a set of characteristics that will help you deliver more targeted emails. For example, you can make a group of patients with kids. Instead of sending out pediatric info to your whole list, you can just target that relevant group. Everyone wins!

Implement email automation

Once you start growing your email list, it becomes harder to send emails to each subscriber at the right time manually. Email automation solves this by enabling you to send emails based on triggers. For example, at sign up, you can automatically send a welcome email and/or set triggers to send a patient a yearly appointment reminder.

Personalize your emails

Email can be a very personal channel. Even though you’re sending messages to hundreds or even thousands of people, you can make it feel like you’re speaking directly to one person. You can use everything from the first name, date of birth and even tao into their interests.

When you’re setting up your campaigns, keep these 3 questions in mind:

  • What’s the best way to segment?
  • Can you automate certain messages such as a Welcome email or Happy Birthday?
  • Can you make it personal with relevant content and using real names?

Keep experimenting to find out what works. Now let’s get to the good stuff – the types of emails you can send to keep your business healthy.

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The people on your email list want to hear from you, so what are you gonna say?

Remember, your goal is to extend your relationships with your patients, not to pressure them to come in for an appointment.

Build trust by giving them a glimpse of your personality and sharing your expertise.

Email marketing is a long-term strategy.  It’s about making a connection, building trust, and offering advice that improves people’s lives. How do you do that? 

Here are 7 ways to build stronger connections using email.

1.  Start with an automated welcome email

It might not seem that important, but an automated welcome email is the most powerful email you can send.

When someone signs up, you set up an automated message that will be sent at the exact moment they confirm their subscription. That immediate response sets the tone for the relationship. It lets each person know that they are important and that you’re ready to meet their needs.

The welcome email is your opportunity to set expectations and make a strong first impression. 

Below, RealAge does an exceptional job of welcoming new subscribers. They state their value proposition, explain what to expect and offer valuable content right off the bat.

realage welcome email healthcare industry example

2. Local events show you’re thinking about them 

People want to know that you care about their health beyond when they need you. Show them that you care and encourage them to be proactive with their health by sharing health-related events and seminars that they can attend.

Or better yet, create and promote your own events. Pediatric Associates of Frisco created a Summer Safety Event and sent this fun and colorful newsletter to promote it.

pediatrics newsletter example

3. Patient stories and testimonials can be powerful

When it comes to health-related issues, there can be a lot of different emotions at play that affects people’s decision making. 

An authentic way to address these types of sensitive matters is to use real patient stories. Hearing about similar health experiences lets others know that they are not alone.

Tennessee Reproductive Medicine created this newsletter that features a couple’s journey through IVF, along with educational content and a patient testimonial. For a best-case scenario, this health newsletter would be segmented to target patients dealing with the same issues.

personal story healthcare industry newsletter example

4. Send a Happy Birthday email

Remember that you’re building a long-term relationship with email marketing. Sending an automated birthday email is by far the easiest way to let your patients know that you’re thinking of them.

In MailerLite, it’s really easy to set up an automated birthday email so the system sends out personalized emails throughout the year without you lifting a finger.

Dr. Bennet sends a nice birthday email. He makes it personal using the patient’s first name (which can be automated) and writes a thoughtful note. Notice he also includes his website link, phone number and social media channels, just as a subtle reminder that he wants to stay connected.

happy birthday healthcare newsletter example

5. Helpful health tips and news to show your expertise 

A common and effective marketing practice across all industries is to create content that shows people you’re an expert in your field that wants to help others.

The healthcare world is no different. Set some time aside to write helpful articles or develop a set of tips that will help your patients. Then, promote your knowledge via your newsletter. takes advantage of the holiday season to promote Thanksgiving tips as well as promote a photo contest to raise money for charity.

As a parent, this type of information can be super valuable. If I were a patient, I would definitely open this email and click through.

healthcare tips newsletter example

6. Offer special promotions and remind people of your services

Finally, a promotional email! After sending a few emails that establish the value you provide, it’s perfectly fine to send them a promotional message to grow sales.  

The example below from Lady Lakes Dentist does an excellent job by offering a discount for a teeth whitening service, while also including some other content resources for recipients who aren’t interested in that service.

The promo messaging uses a nice image to draw the reader in and has a clear CTA (call to action).

healthcare promotion email example

7. When the time is right, ask for a referral

When you feel like you’ve reached a certain level of positive experiences and trust with a patient, it’s perfectly normal to ask for a review or even a referral.

Reviews from real people are priceless, especially in the healthcare field. When you ask people to refer you, you’ve successfully flipped your marketing funnel where your retention efforts have transformed into new patient acquisitions. That’s a nice place to be.

This email template from NY & NJ Family Dental is sent right after an appointment when the experience is top-of-mind. Notice that they make it super easy to find the button to leave a review.

healthcare referral email example

Summing up healthcare email marketing

Healthcare marketing relies heavily on building trust and offering a comfortable patient experience.

While this relationship starts during the first visit, your goal is to keep that feeling alive during the long periods when you’re not seeing them.

Email marketing gives you that personal connection with your patients. You stay top-of-mind and remind everyone of the care and expertise that you provide them.

Don’t waste that positive first impression by losing touch. Start building that long-term patient relationship and watch your practice flourish.

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