Marketing within the medical community comes with a set of unique challenges. This is due to the fact that confidentiality and consideration for your clients can limit your access to social-proof content. Depending on your field, clients may feel uncomfortable providing testimonials or public recommendations. And, it may even be unethical to ask in the first place.
Nevertheless, there are many other marketing tactics that can be used to great effect. Without compromising the integrity of your practice, or the comfort of your clients. Email marketing can be a particularly effective means of reaching the people who might benefit most from your services.
However, it is important to find a balance between effective outreach, and over-targeting, which could deter or distress the recipient. Here are some tips on building an effective email marketing campaign, and employing ethical techniques to boost the growth of your practice.
Many counselors, therapists, and other medical practitioners are wary of online marketing. This is because they feel that it could be perceived as dishonest or manipulative. However, it is essential to remember that your marketing campaign is whatever you make it. This means that as long as you are honest and authentic, your marketing will be as well.
You do not need to mislead your audience in order to make your campaign effective. In fact, by being transparent and genuine, you make it far easier to create a consistent message, build trust, and develop a positive reputation for your practice.
In addition, you will be more likely to retain clients. As they will not feel that they have been deceived by your marketing strategy. This repeat business is particularly valuable, as it represents a higher ROI per client, for the output required to secure their custom.
Ultimately, you should view your email marketing as an extension of your practice itself. After all, you would not attempt to manipulate or coerce your clients during their counseling sessions. And, nor will you in your marketing.
You already know that you can provide a specific, quality service. So, you should focus on conveying that in your email marketing. Think about the questions prospective clients may ask, and answer them clearly and concisely in your emails. Invite feedback, and encourage prospective clients to get in touch if they are not sure if you are able to offer the services they require.
Segment Your Mailing List
To ensure that your subscribers get the most benefit from your emails, it is helpful to use segmentation to divide your audience into demographic groups. This allows you to more effectively target your emails, increasing the likelihood that your clients will remain subscribed, and take the time to read your emails.
Sending generic emails to all subscribers can cause readers to feel disconnected from your practice, as the email content may not apply to them. In contrast, by dividing up your audience, you will be able to ensure that your clients receive content that is both helpful and relevant to them.
For example, new clients should receive a welcome email, and may also benefit from information packs containing essential information such as opening hours, and the names and specialties of the therapists practicing with you. Other demographics could benefit from informative articles on issues that are likely to affect them, and details of associated helplines, resources, and in-practice services.
In order to create engaging, useful content for your email marketing, it is vital to plan out your content schedule. If you intend to create a monthly newsletter, create a list of topics that you plan to cover. Review your client base and consider whether there are any areas that would be of particular benefit or interest to them.
Mix up the types of content offered, and plan a release schedule that distributes this content evenly throughout the year. Remember that sending too many emails in quick succession can annoy the recipient, and could even cause them to unsubscribe.
Types of content you might offer could include the following:
- Information packs and worksheets.
- Roundups of popular content from your website.
- Calendars of events relevant to your niche.
- Details for signing up for your services, or referring someone to the practice.
Remember to use sensitivity at all times, particularly when soliciting referrals. Your clients should never feel pressured into referring someone else. However, you can raise awareness via your email marketing that you are accepting new clients. And, that existing clients should feel free to pass on your details to anyone who might benefit from your service.
Retarget and Re-engage
Many of your clients may be keen to remain in touch after they have come to the end of their time with you. Provide existing clients with the option to subscribe to your newsletter or general mailing list. This not only allows you to potentially retain their business, but it also provides a level of aftercare by reassuring clients that they can still reach you should they need to.
Retargeting former clients is another effective means of growing your client-base. Send a reminder that former clients are welcomed to return should they have any future need for your services, or reach out with an update on any recent practice news, such as a change of staff, or an expansion of your services.
These individuals have already experienced what your practice has to offer, so they have already engaged successfully with your business. As a result, they should require less effort to market to, and are more likely to act on your email communications if they require counseling services in the future.
Make Security a Priority
Security and confidentiality are of paramount importance in all areas of running a counseling practice. Your email marketing is no exception, so take care to remain compliant with industry standards when selecting your marketing service, and structuring your content.
Encryption is essential, to protect the names and contact emails of the individuals on your mailing list. In addition, you should ensure that all emails include a link to allow users to unsubscribe at any time.
Bear in mind that you can also make it easy to sign up or resubscribe. For example, you can post links at the end of blog posts, and on the main page of your website. You could even add an opt-in checkbox to sign-up forms for new clients. It’s a great way to do content marketing cheaply and effectively — and it’s easy to secure your blog.
As with all of your marketing efforts, the key to growing your practice effectively and ethically is integrity. The same consideration and professional conduct that you provide to your clients should shine through in your email marketing.
Remember, for potential clients to benefit from your services, they need to be aware of your practice. As such, your email campaigns should aim to engage with those individuals openly and sincerely. This creates a sense of trust and familiarity, that will reassure your audience that they can have confidence in your organization.
Over time, as you meet the expectations generated by your marketing efforts, your reputation will grow, giving you a firmer foundation upon which to build future campaigns. Content marketing is like running a triathlon — you need to build resilience to achieve consistent results.
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and branding consultant. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on content and digital marketing. She is a passionate about using her knowledge to help businesses increase their online brand equity.