Email marketing is a proven strategy for professional practices and an effective method for getting the attention of prospective clients and patients. The first step in any email marketing program is to develop a mailing list. Growing a mailing list might sound simple, but in reality, it’s one of the more difficult aspects to achieve. Spam is as unappreciated in professional fields as it is anywhere, so you can’t simply send email to everyone. Here are some ways to build a lasting list while conforming to email marketing best practices.
Ask Your Clients and Patients
Your existing customers are your immediate audience. They are already supporters and are likely to respond best to receiving emails from you. Send ONE email to everyone on your list, telling them you have a newsletter and asking them to subscribe. Include an incentive, such as qualifying for a special offer or entry into a contest.
Offer a choice in the email: The opt-in method asks readers to check a box for future mailings. However, it’s marginally acceptable to ask them to unsubscribe from future mailings, which is known as the “opt-out” method. Determine what the best choice is for your practice. The first option will result in much slower list growth, but the rate of email opens will be higher.
Rent an Address List
There’s lots of hype about whether it’s okay to buy or rent mailing lists. Truthfully, this is a practice that isn’t unique to email marketing; rented addresses lists are the core of the direct mail industry! It can be a good way to kick-start your program, or it can be a bad idea, depending on how you do it.
Here’s how to do it responsibly:
- Identify companies, ideally businesses you know, that have lists relevant to your target market.
- Approach the person responsible for marketing and ask if you could send an email to their list, offering a subscription to your newsletter. They may charge a fee, or you might leverage common customers to the benefit of both practices.
- Include an incentive to opt in to your emails, and a request to forward the email to friends and family members.
Use Social Media to Develop an Email List
If you have social media profiles set up for your practice, include a subscribe option for your email list. On Facebook, use an app to customize a tab that lets followers subscribe from the page. On Twitter, regularly post a link to your website where users can provide their email address to get your updates. Just as your social media presence leverages website content, your email list should leverage your networking platforms.
Offer Useful Info
The most critical aspect of building your email marketing list is the content of your mails. What content can you send out that is likely to keep the recipients reading and forwarding the email to others? Useful information, that’s what. Information about conditions, the latest development in specific fields, issues to watch out for. Offer surveys, ask for feedback and keep your finger on the pulse of happenings in your community.
Use an Email List for Social Media Marketing
A 300-name email list can be one of the best tools in your social media marketing toolbox. Even if you don’t send many marketing emails, collect addresses from people who are target customers for your service whenever possible.