Using Email Marketing in Your Private Practice
Email marketing is a great way to grow your private practice. Not only will it enable you to build awareness for your services and stay top of mind with your clients, you can also use email marketing to develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships.
For a minimal investment of time and money, you can increase retention rates, improve client education, and solidify your reputation as a trusted source of information. Knowing the value of email marketing is one thing. But figuring out how to implement email marketing in your private practice belongs in its own category. The good news is you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll discuss how to use email marketing effectively as a therapist.
Email Marketing and HIPAA
You’re required by HIPAA laws to safeguard your client’s protected health information. Be sure to use a HIPAA compliant email marketing service. Even some of the most popular email marketing services are vulnerable to privacy breaches. Choose a service that encrypts emails (including names and email addresses) automatically.
Also, empower your clients to make the final call. Ask them if they’d like to receive marketing emails from your practice. Include an opt-in box on your client’s intake form. And always make it easy to unsubscribe—your email marketing service should attach an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of every email you send. If you’d like to learn more about email marketing and why it’s such an important part of your marketing strategy, check out this post: A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing.
Start Off With an Easy Email Marketing Service
There are some pretty complicated email marketing services out there. If you’re just starting out with email marketing, consider opting for a service that’s geared towards beginners.
My first recommendation is to go with a HIPAA compliant email marketing solution such as Constant Contact.
With Constant Contact, your first 60 days are free (no credit card required either). You’re given two months to get comfortable with the service, and by the end of that time, I’m sure you’ll be an email marketing pro. Another huge benefit to Constant Contact is the aforementioned HIPAA compliance. To comply with HIPAA regulations, you can request a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) from Constant Contact.
Segment Your Email List
We’ve discussed the importance of segmentation before, but here’s a quick recap:
Segmentation means that you section your list of email subscribers into groups. It can be any type of group that makes sense for the type of content you’d like to share.
For example, if you work with both families and individuals, you may wish to send each group of clients different email content based on their needs.
In another example, let’s say you have two types of email subscribers (those who are clients and those who aren’t) and you’d like to send different emails to them.
Your non-clients signed up for your email list because they love your blog posts. They want to stay updated whenever you publish a new post. However, because they live in another state, these subscribers will never see you physically.
On the other hand, your actual clients do see you physically. And, while they may enjoy your blog posts, they’d also appreciate an invite to a special workshop that you’re hosting in your practice.
In this case, it would make sense to send the second group (your clients) a different email than you’d send to non-clients.
Another option is to allow your subscribers to segment themselves. Your new subscriber can dictate their terms of engagement. On your welcome email, you can ask your subscriber what type of emails they’d like to receive from you. Your list may include appointment confirmations, blog post updates, and special events or promotions.
That, in a nutshell, is how segmentation works. It allows you to send more targeted and relevant emails to your subscribers. Instead of just spraying content without aim, when you have segments, you can focus your message better. The result? More people open your emails and answer your call to action.
Plan Out Your Emails
If you’re new to email marketing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You already have a full plate. You’re running a private practice, and now you have yet another thing to do.
Fortunately, email marketing is easy once you get the hang of it. And it won’t take a large chunk of your time.
Initially, you’ll want to create a welcome email. In this email, you’ll explain what types of emails you send (i.e. newsletters) and how often you send them (i.e. once a month). This welcome email will automatically send whenever new subscribers join your mailing list.
After your initial setup, the only thing you’ll really need to focus on is coming up with content for your newsletter. And if you plan to send out one email newsletter each month, you’ll only need to write 12 emails each year.
So, what should you write about in your email newsletters? Here are a few ideas:
- Share your blog post.
- Promote an event, book, or workshop.
- Educate your subscribers on what services you offer.
- Offer advice or insight on a mental health issue.
Remember that the more valuable (and segmented) your emails are, the more likely your subscribers are to open them. Have a purpose for each email and think of who’s actually opening your emails—what will benefit them?
Choose topics that will grab your subscribers and stand out from the hundreds of other emails currently in their inbox. They subscribed to your email list because they want to hear from you, so make it worth their time.
Get Email Subscribers
Now that we’ve discussed how to set up and what to include in your emails, let’s talk about how to grow your list. How do you get people to sign up?
You’ve got to market it. Your clients won’t know that it exists unless you tell them. Here are a few of my favorite ways to get email subscribers:
- Add a pop-up on your website. Pop-ups exist because they work. They grab your site visitor’s attention immediately. Just about every email marketing service includes an email signup form that you embed on your website. Instructions will vary depending on what type of site you have (such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix). Variations of the pop-up include a full screen welcome mat, a banner at the top or bottom of the page, and a sidebar opt-in.
- Include a link within your blog post. At the end of your blog posts, take the opportunity to invite readers to sign up for your email list. It’s a great way to carry on the conversation.
- Shout out on your social media pages. You can link to and periodically invite your social media followers to join your mailing list.
- Provide an opt-in on your intake form. Don’t miss the opportunity to invite your clients to your email list. Add it as an option right on your intake form. That way, new subscribers can get a welcome email before leaving your office.
What About Appointment Confirmation Emails?
As its name suggests, email marketing is all about marketing. Your appointment confirmation emails don’t fit in that category. Because these types of emails are individual and private, it’s best to use TheraNest’s built-in appointment reminder feature.
Before you go, check out these additional posts: