Get ready to revamp your email marketing strategy with ease—here’s how!
As a modern veterinary practice, sending marketing emails is essential to the growth and success of your business. But let’s be honest—like most people, pet owners don’t want their inboxes inundated with heaps of marketing spam. In fact, many email providers often organize promotional content away from a user’s primary email folder.
What does this mean for your veterinary marketing efforts? We’ve compiled a quick guide to help you navigate the world of email marketing with ease and proficiency. Let’s get started!
A few key things to know before getting started
Use images sparingly. Most email programs block automatic image downloads by default, which could cause recipients to delete your emails or mark them as spam. Image-heavy emails can also raise a red flag for spam filters, and the goal of any marketing email is naturally to make it into someone’s inbox.
Also, image-light emails perform better than image-heavy emails. According to studies by Prolmpact 7, clickthrough rates for a basic HTML email were 194% better when compared to the same email with richer visuals. Similarly, research by HubSpot found that the more HTML-rich an email was, the lower its open rate. As a general guideline, Mailchimp recommends a ratio of 80% text to 20% visuals in an email.
Design for accessibility. According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million people globally with visual impairment who may use a screen reader to access web content. These assistive devices use page elements to navigate web and email content and read text aloud. So, accessible content isn’t about convenience. It’s about necessity.
What types of marketing content should I include in my emails?
When it comes to sending out marketing emails, there’s a fine line between staying in touch with your clients and bombarding them with constant contact. Most of the time, less is more—so here are a few content ideas to help you prioritize your screen time with pet owners.
Local news and goings-on at your practice
Have any news to report about your practice, veterinary staff, office hours or services? Outline them in an email to keep clients informed. This is also an excellent way to keep pet owners informed of any local risks to pet health or medical advances relevant to their well-being.
Seasonal client education and promotions
These emails will establish any seasonal marketing campaigns—like flea and tick season—and spread the word about related services or potential promotions you may offer.
This is a great way to share highlights from your practice—showcasing recent posts from your veterinary blog, top curated content, stories about your local community involvement, and any staff successes, awards or relevant updates.
What does the ideal marketing email look like?
Once you’ve decided what type of email to write, you’re ready for the nitty-gritty part—actually writing the message. In keeping with industry best practices, here are some veterinary marketing email must-haves:
A clear, concise, and gripping subject line
Your subject line is your first—sometimes only—opportunity to make a good, convincing impression on your client. To ensure a higher opening rate, keep subject lines short and exciting, but remember, clarity over cleverness!
Far too often, marketing emails fail to make impressions on clients because they feel impersonal. Many email platforms have automation options that add personalized greetings that include both the client and patient names—so take advantage and customize your content when you can.
Staying relevant is also an important facet of personalization. For example, you wouldn’t want to send a promotional email detailing a heartworm preventive promotion to your entire client list, as this may not be relevant to clients with exotic pets like birds or rabbits.
Consistent practice branding
Much like relevancy, brand consistency is essential to the success of your practice marketing emails. After all, your company branding—including elements like your logo and voice—is key to helping your clients recognize quality content and associating it with your practice. This continuity will help build practice loyalty and encourage pet owners to engage with your clinic beyond the exam room.
Related, uncomplicated graphics
Adding an image to the body of your message is a great way to grab a pet owner’s attention immediately upon opening your email. When done professionally, a relevant image or graphic can add polish to a marketing email—but keep it simple, as large images can often take too long to load and cause a client to click away from your awesome content.
A strong, persuasive call-to-action
No effective marketing email is complete without a stellar, focused call-to-action. Typically found as a button in the middle or end of an email, a CTA motivates the reader to take whichever action you want them to take. Sending an informative email about the importance of routine veterinary care for cats? Include a call-to-action along the lines of, “It’s time for Fluffy’s annual exam! Call or email to book an appointment today.”
An unsubscribe option
Sure, the idea of including an unsubscribe option in every email may seem counterproductive, but actually, losing disinterested subscribers can help strengthen the integrity of your email list. Consider this: sometimes, clients move away and no longer want or need your emails. Plus, unsubscribing for any reason helps weed out those pet owners who won’t take action on your emails—helping you focus on improving communication with current, active pet owners at your practice.
Additional Email Marketing Tips:
- Let people know what to expect from your emails when they sign up, and you’ll know they are opting in because they want to hear from you. Are you sending health information? Pet care tips? Promotions? Say so. People are more likely to open something they’ve asked for.
- To change things up a bit, try asking questions in some of your subject lines to pique curiosity.
- For emails about promotions or events, add a deadline or dateline to your subject line to create a sense of urgency.
- If you’re feeling confident or clever, try injecting some humor into your subject line to help it stand out in a cluttered inbox and entice readers to click through for more humor in the body of your email.
- If your practice uses a more informal tone in your communications with clients, you could also consider adding emoticons to your subject lines to attract attention. Just bear in mind that different email programs may display these emoticons in different ways.
Things to Avoid:
- Don’t get caught in spam filters. Some triggers are USING ALL CAPS, words like “free,” and anything like “extra inches” even if you’re referring to the ones Fido will lose off his waistline with proper exercise.
- Keep it relevant. Don’t use the old “bait and switch,” saying your email is about one thing when it’s about something else. Not only is this off-putting, it damages trust.
- Don’t worry so much! There is no perfect subject line.