- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On June 17, 2015
- Email marketing
The data says email is still one of the most powerful marketing mechanisms available (with an ROI of around 4,300%, according to the Direct Marketing Association!)
But there’s a caveat: Email only produces this great ROI when your email list is permission-based, meaning your readers opted-in.
So how do you grow your opt-in email database? There is no one way. There are many ways.
This post is a checklist. It is intended to help hospital marketers think up new ways to grow your email databases (through opt-in means.)
There are two main components of growing your email list: “Offers” (what you offer visitors as an incentive to sign up to your email list) and “traffic drivers” (how you get people to your offer in the first place.)
Consumers want something in return for their email address. They know their contact information has value and that they will hear from you again once they give that information. So how to do you make it worth their while to give over their email address? Here are some ideas:
- E-newsletter sign up: ask visitors to your website to sign up for your e-newsletter. You may need to do some selling here. Let your visitor know how valuable your e-newsletter is. Exclusivity works well. Think about content/offers that you will only distribute via the e-newsletter.
- Ebook/guide download: produce an ebook that covers something of value to your patients—perhaps some kind of health guide. Require patients to enter their email to get this ebook.
- Event & class registration: When potential donors or patients register for an event or a class ask for their email and include a “pre checked” email box that requests they be added to your email list (perhaps sending them your future event/class calendar.)
- Digital magazine subscription: Do you have a digital newsletter or magazine? Ask for an email address to subscribe and permission to send other emails.
- Call center conversations: Your call center agents can be trained to ask patients for their email address to receive educational material.
- A contest: You can always give away something of monetary value. An iPhone, a cruise, a Starbucks card. We’ve consistently seen that prizes work on our local magazine sites.
The offers are the bait but you need people to see them. How do you get more people to see your offers and join your email list?
- Social media pages: post your offers (enewsletter, events etc.) on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+ pages with a link back to a sign up form.
- Radio and TV ads: Include one of the offers in your radio or TV ads to drive traffic to a web page that has the sign up form.
- Magazine ads: Make a magazine ad that describes one of the offers above (not just a branding ad).
- Direct mail: Include a URL in a direct mail piece like a postcard. (We just sent a postcard to hospital marketers with an ebook offer and it did quite well.)
- Surveys: Do you conduct patient satisfaction surveys? Include a link and an offer in these.
- Existing email: When one of your current email subscribers forwards your email to a friend make it easy for the friend to sign up.
- Signs: Put signs in your waiting rooms encouraging people to sign up to your email list. They may even be able to grab your ebook and read it on their smartphone while waiting!
- Staff email signatures: Include your offers in as many staff email signature blocks as possible. Try to update these offers from time-to-time to keep them interesting for the recipients.
- Staff social media accounts: Your staff have social media accounts and there are a lot of them. Their reach in total can be huge. They are disseminating information to their friends, meaning they are a trusted source.
- Search engine organic results: Put your offers on web pages that are optimized for search engines.
- Pay-Per-Click ads: Set up landing pages dedicated to your offer and set up Pay-Per-Click ads that drive traffic to these pages.
- At events and classes: Promote your offers at your events and classes. Post signs and distribute flyers at the event. Ask instructors and event leaders to mention the offer.
- In your print newsletter/magazine: If you produce your own newsletter or magazine promote your offer in a “house ad” or editorial piece.