Anyone can write an email, but standing out can be a challenge. Most inboxes are so clogged with messages that a lot of them are never even read.
For veterinarians eager to build better communication with pet owners, writing an effective email can mean the difference between cultivating a loyal client, and losing their interest altogether.
Wondering where to start? If you haven’t already, you should choose an email marketing service to work from. The right tools can help you create professional-looking emails – plus, many email services geared toward small businesses are free, so you won’t have to break the bank.
To ensure that your marketing emails are improving business at your practice, we’ve compiled a series of best practices that can help you crank out awesome, effective emails.
But first, you have to actually catch their attention – which starts with crafting the perfect headline.
The Subject Line.
Email marketing is all about building content that will get the best open rates (the number of clients who open your email) and even better, the highest click-through rates (the number of people who click the link within your email).
One way to achieve a high open rate is to hook your reader with a killer subject line. Whether you’re letting pet owners know about a promotion at the clinic, or sending out an informational email as part of a seasonal campaign – your subject line should aim to be honest, urgent, concise, and compelling.
The options are endless, but the character limit is not. Try to keep your subject line under 80 characters – or ideally, around 50 or less – to avoid getting cut off.
You can use your subject line to introduce a pet owner problem and introduce your services as the solution – but in general, try to avoid scaring your clients into opening an email from you.
For example, for a seasonal fleas and ticks campaign email, you could highlight the risk of bug bites by also mentioning the preventive treatments available at your clinic.
Now that you’ve mastered the headline, you’ll notice that much like the knee bone’s connected to the leg bone, the subject line’s connected to—
The Message Preview/Subtext.
It’s always a good idea to preset the preview text of any email you send because if you don’t, many email providers will generate a preview automatically. This tends to look sloppy and confusing, which can reflect poorly on your veterinary clinic.
These should also be short (around 50 characters or less) and to the point. A message preview is like an extension of the subject line. If you opt to use the problem/solution model above, you could use the subject line to address the problem while the message preview could introduce the solution. This makes for a seamless transition into—
Now that you’ve convinced the pet owner to open your email, how do you keep them reading?
What your subject line and message preview promised, the body should deliver. If your content is not relevant to the pet owner, it holds no value and will not yield any click-throughs.
It can help to personalize emails whenever possible. Since not all clients own the same pets, some marketing emails will not apply to all your subscribers.
When crafting an email to a targeted audience, try to avoid the “laundry list” of features or services you’re promoting. Instead, focus on how a particular product or service will benefit the client and their pet.
Let’s say you want to promote a new brand of mite treatment for rabbits. Rather than touting price, ingredients, and the treatment process, highlight how safe, gentle and effective the treatment will be for a healthier, happier bunny. It’s simple, but it works!
Simple is better.
Stick to the bare bones. While there’s no magic word limit to ensure a high click-through rate, nobody wants to read a lengthy email. Keep it brief – opt for short sentences and concise wording, and avoid over-the-top marketing jargon or veterinary terms.
Pet owners will skim their emails, so it’s best to make your point quickly. Use action-driven language to create clarity and urgency, both of which can be accomplished through your call-to-action (CTA).
Your CTA should tell the reader what you want them to do and drive them to click the link. The link should lead to a specific page on your website that explains the campaign, product or service you’re promoting. Stick to one CTA per email, to avoid confusion.
Show some personality.
Clarity always trumps cleverness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your writing. Keep your voice as natural as possible to humanize your practice.
Write in the second person to keep the focus on the client rather than your clinic. This will help to personalize the email.
Spice up your content with humor, wit and even a few images to help make it easier to consume.
Studies show that people generally only retain 10% of what they learn, unless their learning is accompanied by a relevant image – in which case they can remember 65%!
Use professional images in your emails to break up large blocks of text and to increase click-through rates.
Where can you find these images?
Be careful to avoid using copyright-protected images, as they can land you in some trouble if used without permission. An easy way around this is to either use photos of pets at your clinic (with pet owner permission) or to use a free stock photo resource.
Once you’ve found some relevant images to include, it’s time to consider your design.
Less is more.
Using a minimalist design adds clarity and prevents an overly corporate look. Less is more, especially when it comes to the number of photos you should include.
Emails that contain too many images can get flagged as spam, so try not to overdo it. A good rule of thumb is to use three images or fewer.
It’s also a good idea to avoid high-resolution photos, because these take longer to download. Try to keep your images under 600 pixels wide (the length of the average email window) for optimal size.
If you’re not sure how to resize a photo yourself, you could use a free resource like Tiny PNG or Optimizilla to compress your images and optimize them for mobile use.
Change things up.
You’re not limited to just images, either! There are plenty of options to keep a reader interested, and using GIFS is one of the latest trends.
You can either create your own GIF based on a pet video you love by using a resource like imgflip or makeagif. If you’re looking for something pre-made, you can use a tool like Giphy.
GIFS are a great way to breathe life into your emails, by adding a touch of fun and entertainment to your content.Now that you’ve learned the anatomy of an effective marketing email, you’re well on your way to improving the way you communicate with pet owners at your veterinary practice.
What do you think makes an effective marketing email? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Looking for more ways to improve pet owner communication via email? Book your WebDVM demo today and get access to practice-branded email addresses for consistent communication!