Man slamming his head on the desk in front of a computerWhile social media might be the hottest new thing in marketing, email is still around, and better yet, it’s still working! Statistics have shown that email has better organic reach than social media, and email subscribers are more likely to spend money on your business than your social media followers. This doesn’t mean that we’re advocating tossing social media in favor of email (social media marketing still has its place and value), but we are suggesting that in addition to some solid social media marketing, you might want to email marketing to your arsenal as well.
Of course, even with all the benefits of email marketing, there are still plenty of reasons why your emails might not be getting the results you’re hoping for. Whether you’ve been struggling with email marketing for a while, or you’re just starting out, here are 12 reasons your email marketing might not be working:

1. You don’t have a call-to-action.

If you don’t indicate to your readers what action you want them to perform after they read your email, how will they know what to do? Email marketing isn’t just about providing great content. It’s also about encouraging your readers to interact with your practice, participate with your promotions, and come through your practice doors. That’s where your call-to-action comes in. Whether it’s a button or a hyperlink telling the reader to “click here to book an appointment,” make sure every email contains a next step for your readers to take with your practice.

2. You’re trying to say too much.

A promotion for dental health, the importance of an annual checkup, and some general information about arthritis in senior pets! There will always be plenty of information that you would like to get across to your readers, but if you’re trying to say it all at once in one email, you’re probably overwhelming them with information. Unless you’re sending out a monthly email newsletter covering all the news of your practice for that month, a good rule of thumb is to stick to a single message per email, whether that’s the importance of a professional teeth cleaning or the need to keep Fido warm during the winter months.
In addition to message overload, you may also be including too much text in your email. Realistically, how much time are you willing to spend on reading an email? A minute, maybe less? Your email subscribers are the same way. Make sure your emails are brief, informative, and to the point. You can get away with more text if you’re providing relevant and interesting content, but always try to avoid being too verbose or wordy in your emails. The longer you take to get to the point, the more readers you risk losing.

3. You’re not making it about the client.

Both the subject line and the content of your email should be about the client and their needs, not about you. Your clients don’t care about your practice’s 10 year anniversary, or about how many subscribers you’ve reached. If they’re opening your emails, they’re doing it because there’s something in it for them. So make sure your subject lines and body copy are all about the reader and their pet, not about your practice.

4. You’re not giving them a reason to open the email.

What kinds of subject lines are you attaching to your emails? Are you creating something compelling or just something mundane? If you’re not tempting your subscribers to open your emails with tantalizing subject lines, your emails might be sitting unopened in their inbox.

5. You’re sending them irrelevant emails.

It takes a little bit of extra work, but are you segmenting your email lists according to what kind of pets the client owns? If you’re sending out emails with content on caring for dogs, but the recipient owns a cat, they’re far more likely to ignore your emails, not click on your calls-to-action, or even unsubscribe. Make sure your emails are as relevant as possible to your subscribers by segmenting them according to pet type. This will allow you to target specific audiences and provide content your subscribers will actually want to read.

6. You’re landing in the spam folder.

If your emails are ending up in the spam folder, there’s a good chance your subscribers aren’t seeing them at all. Check out our blog on writing effective email subject lines to avoid getting redirected to the dreaded spam folder.

7. You’re not measuring what works.

Email data is even more comprehensive than social media data – you can see how many unique opens your email has, how many clicks your calls-to-action have, and with some email marketing software, even rate readers according to how often they read and act on your emails. Use that wealth of information to inform your email marketing strategy. Try new things and figure out which subject lines and types of content work best, and then optimize your content so you’re sending out the emails that your subscribers actually want to see.

8. You’re not picking the right time to send your emails.

Much like social media, there are best and worst times for sending out emails, and like social media, much of that is dependent on your audience. If you can, use A/B testing to send out the same email at different times and determine when your emails get the most opens and clicks. Once you’ve measured this, you can use it to make sure you’re hitting your subscribers inboxes at the right times, when they’ve got a spare moment to give attention to your email. Some times to consider trying out: first thing in the morning, around lunch time, or after work hours.

9. You’re not being personal enough.

If your emails are highly formal or full of marketing speak, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Your email subscribers expect a certain level of personality in the emails your practice sends out. If your email software allows it, this means sending out emails with that person’s name directly in the copy. Even if your software doesn’t allow this level of personalization, make a point of writing your emails in a personal and relatable manner. Formal, uptight emails, or emails that use a lot of marketing or veterinary industry jargon are less likely to convert than personal, pet-owner oriented messaging that really resonates.

10. You’re sending emails to people who no longer come to your practice.

If your audience isn’t your clientele anymore, you might have trouble getting them to open your emails. Make sure you’re updating your email list from time-to-time, and make unsubscribing from your emails easy and clear. Losing subscribers might not feel great in the short term, but  it can help keep your email list up-to-date and relevant in the long run. Remember, the quality of your email subscribers are more important than having a large quantity.

11. You’re overdoing it.

This is unlikely to be a problem for a busy veterinary practice, but just in case, be sure you’re not getting overly zealous about email marketing and sending too many emails. I get emails daily or even hourly from some companies, and trust me, I’m not usually appreciative or excited to receive those emails.There is such a thing as overload, so keep your emails well spaced out over time and your clients will likely be more eager to receive, open, and read those emails.

12. You don’t have enough emails.

If your email list is only 4 clients large, it doesn’t matter how wonderful or effective your emails are. Your email marketing can only be as successful as the number of people you can reach. If you don’t have a very large email list, it might be time to reassess what strategies you are using to collect emails, and see if you might need to try something new.If your email list is only 4 clients large, it doesn’t matter how wonderful or effective the emails you send out are, your email marketing will only be as successful as the number of people you can reach. If you don’t have a very large email list, it might be time to reassess what strategies you are using to collect emails, and see if you might need to try something new.


Looking for even more great marketing advice specifically for veterinary practices? Check out our veterinary marketing blog.

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