A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing
Have you given much thought to your email marketing?
If the answer is “no” or “not really”, this post is for you. Email marketing is a standout strategy for building brand awareness and converting leads into clients. And the good news is that you can start right now, if you haven’t already, even if you’ve never heard of email marketing before now.
By the end of this post, you’ll have the tools you need to create a solid email marketing strategy that will help you grow your private practice. Let’s begin.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a set of emails that you send to your audience in hopes of establishing and/or maintaining a business relationship. Email is an increasingly essential part of an overall marketing campaign. It’s just as valid and instrumental to your success as traditional advertising methods, such as print ads or radio spots.
But because it’s permission-based, email marketing is so much more personal and effective than many other types of marketing (and quite a bit cheaper to do).
For example, seeing a flyer posted on a street corner doesn’t hold as much weight as receiving the same content in your inbox. There are many reasons why, but perhaps the most significant is the fact that you gave permission to the business to send you emails. You have an expectation that they will send you emails from time to time, and that these emails will be valuable and also relevant to your needs.
This means that you’re much more likely to pay attention to the promotional content you’ve asked for than you are to promotional content you encounter randomly on street corners or website banners.
There are all types of marketing emails you can send, not just the “Hey, use my service!” type of email. For example, you can send:
- Welcome emails
- Information-based emails
We’ll dive more into which types of emails to send and why a little later in this post.
Why is Email Marketing Important?
So, what makes email so effective at reaching your target audience and converting them to clients?
One reason is accessibility.
Everyone has an email address. Well, maybe not everyone, but at least 4.3 billion people have an email address. That’s more than half of the population of earth. So, email is one of the best ways to reach and connect with other humans.
Email gives you the ongoing opportunity to market your practice as well as educate your prospective clients on the need for mental health services.
Another reason why email marketing is so effective is a concept known as top-of-mind awareness. It’s not enough for people to be aware of you. They need to automatically associate you with a solution to the problem.
For example, one day your email subscriber, or someone in their social circle, may need the services that you provide. Because of your consistent email interactions, they will automatically think of you or your private practice when the need arises.
Types of Emails to Send
So, earlier, I mentioned the different types of emails you can send to your subscribers. Let’s take a closer look.
A Welcome Email
This type of email should be sent out immediately to your new subscriber.
The welcome email confirms that they’ve been added to your email list. This is a good practice because it eliminates all uncertainty. Your new subscriber won’t be left wondering if they’ve actually signed up because a confirmation email has immediately landed in their inbox.
The welcome email is your opportunity to set the tone for subsequent interactions.
Here, start off with a note of appreciation (i.e. thank you for signing up for my email list). Then, be sure to explain what type of messages you send to your email list and when. For example you may say, Every Friday, I send out my weekly newsletter or I do a Q&A every Tuesday.
The tenor of your welcome email should be friendly and approachable. You may also encourage the new subscriber to contact you with any questions or comments.
Newsletters are a wonderful way to stay in touch with your audience. It keeps you and your private practice in that all important position: top-of-mind. This means that even if your subscribers don’t need your services right away, they’ll remember you when they do.
Let’s talk about send frequency.
You may not think your email subscribers want to hear from you that often, but research shows that over 80% of subscribers want to hear from you at least once a month and a whooping 60% would like to receive a newsletter from you every week.
If you think that sending frequent emails will annoy your subscribers, think again. It actually helps them to remember you. It also gives your subscribers something to look forward to, especially if you consistently deliver weekly newsletters. Reading your newsletter will become part of your subscribers’ weekly routine.
In your newsletter, you can promote your latest blog post or highlight a recent event you’ve attended. The newsletter’s job is to keep your subscribers engaged and connected with your brand in general.
In additional to the more generalized format of the newsletter, you should consider sending specific content through educational emails.
In this type of email, you’ll educate your subscriber on something relevant to your services. For example, you can provide answers to the questions you frequently receive from your clients here (anonymously, of course).
The point of educational emails is to help establish you as an expert.
Promotional emails are just that — opportunities where you sell, sell, sell. To be most effective, promotional emails should be sent sparingly. How often should you send promotional emails?
Definitely not once a week, perhaps not even once a month. Quarterly sounds just fine, but of course, that all depends on how your audience responds to your promotional emails. Some subscribers won’t mind a monthly promotion. This will require trial and error, but I highly recommend sending only one promotional email every quarter.
So, what type of content is considered promotional?
- Highlighting your most popular service
- Changing from insurance to self-pay (and the reasons why)
- Mentioning an award you’ve recently received
- Unveiling your latest service
- Simply reminding your subscribers that you’re available for new clients
Any of the above (and more) can be part of your promotional pull. Just remember that even though you’re self-promoting, you put the emphasis on the client. Help them to see how this promotion benefits them. Connect the dots.
How to Advertise Your Email List
Once you’ve signed up for an email marketing tool, your next task is to get people to sign up for your list. It’s not as difficult as you may think. Here are a few ideas you can use:
Incorporate email sign-ups in your blog posts.
If you have a blog (and here’s why you need one if you don’t), you can tease additional, bonus content within your blog posts. You’ll provide this extra content to your reader in exchange for signing up to your email list. It works because people are already interested in what you’ve shared and are keen to learn more.
Offer an email course
An email course is a short series of automated emails that teach (or properly introduce) a topic. Email courses are very popular because they are self-paced and valuable.
Have you noticed our subtle signup for our email course? It’s right there on the bottom left of your page and it’s called “A Step-By-Step Guide to Billing the Right Way”.
Offer additional tools and resources
You don’t have to create an email course to get signups for your email list. You can offer other so-called lead magnets for free. People will sign up for this lead magnet because it’s useful and scratches an itch. Here’s a partial list of lead magnets you can choose from:
- Downloadable Guides
- Video tutorials
Use a pop-up
Use a pop-up (provided by your email marketing tool) to announce your email list to site visitors. I recommend a delayed pop-up (one that doesn’t appear immediately, but instead waits for 10 or 15 seconds before appearing).
Segment Your Email List
Last, but definitely not least, is segmentation. It’s a must when it comes to email marketing.
What exactly is email segmentation?
Email segmentation is grouping your subscribers into “segments”. The purpose of grouping your subscribers is so that you can provide the most relevant and valuable content possible.
There are a gazillion different ways you can group your subscribers. You can group based on demographics such as age, location, or gender, but for private practices, I recommend starting with three distinct groups:
- Current Clients
- Past Clients
- Prospective Clients
By segmenting your list into these groups, you can provide information that keeps them engaged and happy. For example, if you have a current client, you probably don’t want to send them a promotional email advertising a “new client” special. That would make more sense for prospective clients. But if you want to re-engage past clients, you may ask for a referral.
All of this matters because if you send an email that doesn’t apply, you become vulnerable to unsubscribes. Your subscribers may feel like your content isn’t speaking to them, so what’s the point of staying connected? By segmenting your email list, you’ll avoid this.
Fortunately, most email marketing tools offers the ability to segment your email list.
Check out a quick rundown of the five major email marketing tools here.