Jesse McFarland, MBA
If you’re a physical therapist, then email marketing should be in your wheelhouse.
The reason is simple: patient retention.
Did you know that 80 percent of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel? (Emarsys, 2018)
But maybe you’re thinking that email marketing is 2000-late. If so, then here are a few numbers to consider.
As of 2017, there are 3.7 billion active email users across the globe – higher than the 2.5 billion who actively use social media. This number is predicted to grow to 4.1 billion email users by 2021. (Statista)
But, can email be effective in getting you patients? According to Salesforce research, the answer is a resounding yes. Email marketing has an average ROI of 3,800 percent, meaning that for every dollar invested, the average return is $38.
And while I’m throwing out stats, it should also be noted that 72 percent of people would rather get brand content through email than other channels, such as social media. (Campaign Monitor)
Among all these numbers and stats, the bottom line is this: email marketing is not going anywhere. And, it is still a primary marketing tool that all physical therapy clinics should know how to utilize.
That said, there’s no question that the overall success of email marketing can depend heavily on the number of subscribers. Therefore, the first step in building and effective email marketing effort is to build an email list.
In this spirit, I want to share 20 steps for building and growing an email list for your physical therapy practice.
Step one starts with an “ask.” It can’t get much simpler than this, and it’s the most effective way to grow a list for most businesses.
1) Ask your patients. This should have the largest impact on growing your list. Asking for email addresses from patients and clients should be as natural as asking for a name and phone number. Making this a required field on your patient intake form is recommended. If you haven’t been doing this already, ask your patient to update their contact information the next time they come in.
2) Ask your audience. Building a list should also start with your current database. Using contact information from colleagues, friends, and family members is a great start.
3) Ask your social media followers. Creating a simple post with a link to a signup form is a quick and easy ask that should regularly appear on your wall or timeline.
Forms are powerful tools for gathering contact information, gaining leads, and generating email subscribers. Forms should be short, simple, and convenient, as adding too many fields will greatly decrease the amount of submissions.
Here’s where to place digital forms for email subscribers:
4) Signup form on your email. There is a chance that non-subscribers will see your email. If your email is good enough for a share, then having a signup form will allow new viewers to subscribe.
5) Signup form on your website. This is an absolute must. Yet, don’t hide it or bury the sign-up form on the bottom of our website. Put it somewhere it’s prominent like near the header or in a side widget.
6) Signup box on Facebook. Did you know that you can add a signup button on your Facebook page directly under the image header? Well, now you do!
7) Exit popups on your website. Some people think popups on a website is tacky. However, this is hands-down the most effective type of signup form on a website.
Incentives and forms work hand in hand. Using an incentive provides the viewer a more intriguing reason to submit their contact information. The use of Incentives is one of the most effective way to gain digital contact information.
Here are some incentives to consider:
8) Grant access. Special access or downloads like a PDF, E-book, Cheat Sheet, or “Exclusive” content is a great incentive for building subscribers.
9) Special offers. Offers are great for gaining contact information and generating leads. Using a “free analysis” or “free assessment” is a popular way to get more submissions.
10) Contests. This is another powerful strategy for generating contact information. The reward doesn’t have to be related to physical therapy either. Some examples: a gift card to popular restaurant, iPad or tablet”, a “fitness watch,” etc.
11) Surveys. A survey can be effective when you have an engaged audience like those you gain through social media. Asking opinions on trending topics is great way to get new email info.
Email campaigns come in a variety of forms. Industry updates, office updates, appointment and scheduling reminders, and newsletters are all reasons to gain email addresses. Yet, the content you send your email recipients needs to provide value.
Here are some qualities of content that has a high level of perceived value, creating a level of acceptance and even demand for your email communications:
12) Interesting & engaging. Make sure your viewers have a good reason to open your emails, read, and then possibly share them with others.
13) Consistency. If you are not consistent with email marketing, then there really isn’t a point to doing it at all. Using a content calendar and reminders are strongly recommended to keep you on task.
14) Include trending topics. Our BuildPT content team is the master at this. The content we create for clients is almost always trending because we make this a priority. Example: “Choosing the Right Fitness App,” posted in January of 2018 — a time when people are looking to conquer their New Year’s Resolutions.
15) Specific for your audience. Usually content that’s targeted for your typical patient is generally best, especially for generating leads. If you mostly serve seniors, then a topic like “Slip and Fall Prevention” would be better, more relevant content then “Extreme Sports Training.”
16) Segmented. Segment your list for specific audiences. If you have a versatile audience, then you can email out segmented content to your different audiences in order to be most relevant for each.
17) Shareable. If the content from your email marketing efforts is good, then some people will be willing to share with others. Using social media sharing icons to Facebook and Twitter is a great way to get more viewers and possibly more subscribers.
Networking and speaking engagements are excellent for growing your brand. It’s also a great way to gather contact information. You just need to remember to ask.
18) Webinars. Webinars are common and can be quite successful in growing an audience. Since webinars are digital, a registrant must provide their email address.
19) Workshops. You can generate emails from “registering” while promoting the workshop. Then, make sure you have a sign-in form during the workshop to prevent any missed emails.
20) Tradeshows or networking events. Don’t rely on a business card or a handout like a flyer. If you want to gain contacts from an event, then ask for them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jesse McFarland is the marketing director for BuildPT.com and PTPubNight.com. With more than a decade of agency and marketing experience with small to medium size businesses and large corporate brands, Jesse is proficient in nearly all aspects of digital marketing with in-depth experience in SEO and reputation management. Reach Jesse at BuildPT.com.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.