Email Marketing: 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts

Email marketing

Emailing your customers and prospects is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to communicate your message and get more sales. But far too often it’s done wrong, resulting in massive unsubscribes and lost sales.

So how do you do it right? Here are 5 tips and 5 cautions:

5 Do’s of Email Marketing:

1. Provide value.

Give your email recipients something of value in exchange for their attention. It could be your commentary about a controversial piece of breaking health news, or information about a promotion or sale. Whatever it is, be sure it’s something that will interest your particular list.

2. Communicate frequently and be consistent.

If you email only once in a blue moon, you run the risk of losing your prospect’s attention and becoming irrelevant. Aim to email at least once a week, even if it’s just a short note about a new blog article you’ve posted with a link to the piece.

 3. Speak to one person.

Pretend as if you’re writing a personal letter to one of your favorite patients and refer to them directly using “you” and “your” rather than “they” and “their”. Use conversational language as you would in a one-on-one discussion with a friend.

4. Make it scannable.

People scan online; they almost never read every single word. Make it easy for them to scan by breaking up long paragraphs into short ones; using bulleted lists; bolding and underlining key words and phrases; and using a black or dark grey sans-serif font (no curlycues) on a white background. (And don’t make your font tiny!)

5. Use compelling subject lines.

What’s the point of sending an email if no one opens it? Your open rate depends on the quality of your subject line. Ask a provocative question, or use a numbered list. For example: “87% of Americans are Deficient in What Vitamin – Can You Guess?” or “7 Foods that Fight Belly Fat”. Here’s what will virtually guarantee a dismal open rate: “Our Clinic March Newsletter” (boring!) or “Veggies Are Good for You” (Really? I hadn’t heard).

5 Don’ts of Email Marketing:

1. Don’t be boring or long-winded.

Your email is competing with dozens or even hundreds of others and people have limited attention spans. Be interesting and get to the point, quickly. People love stories, but not ones that go on and on. When in doubt, cut it out.

 2. Don’t use corporate speak.

This is an extension of the above point. You’re a health care provider, not a corporation, so write in a personal, warm and friendly voice – just as you would when meeting a new patient. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, and use simple language, not fancy jargon. Your prospects want to know you’re a real person. They’ll be more comfortable making an appointment or buying a product if they like you and feel they know something about you.

3. Don’t forget that style matters.

You wouldn’t see a patient dressed in sweats, a ripped T-shirt, and slippers, would you? So don’t do the equivalent in your emails by sending something sloppy or hard to read. Pay attention to the emails and websites you find pleasing and easy on your eyes, and model them. I once received an email from a doctor with an all-bold black font on a dark maroon background. And he wondered why his message got zero response!

 4. Don’t omit the benefit.

Your email recipients want to know what’s in it for them. It’s not enough to just make an offer; you need to explain what benefit they can expect. An easy way to do this is to state the offer and complete the sentence with “so that you can…..” For example: “Join our Fresh Start Fat Loss Program today so that you can shed fat, have more energy, and look great in your bikini this summer – without having to suffer or starve yourself.”

 5. Don’t forget a call to action.

Every single email should have a clear “call to action” – something you want your prospect to do. If it’s an informational email, do you want them to click over to your blog for more info? If it’s a promotional email, do you want them to call your office or purchase a product online? Spell it out clearly and give the command. Tell them: “Call the office now at 415-555-9022 to schedule your appointment” or “Click here to order your Metabolic Booster Kit now.”


Now I’d love to know what your experience with email marketing has been. What have you struggled with, and what have you learned? If you could help with one thing around email marketing right now, what would it be?

Please share your thoughts and comments below!

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