By Kaia Pankhurst,
We spend a lot of time in our email inboxes.
In fact, 91 per cent of people check their email at least once a day. Email gives you direct access to a targeted audience.
According to Mailerlite, health care-related emails get an average open rate of 23 per cent, one of the highest among a massive range of industries. There is absolutely an opportunity for eye care professionals to use emails as a lead generation tool.
Here are the basics of bringing new patients through an email funnel.
Drawing Leads Into the Funnel
This stage of the more general sales funnel, which is usually called the awareness stage, is typically about making your company known to the potential customer. However, with email, it’s slightly more complicated.
You can’t start emailing random people and buying email lists is generally ineffective and frowned upon. People will have to give you their email address willingly and you will have to give them a reason to do so.
There are plenty of ways you can do this. You could put evaluation tools, like dry eye quizzes on your site, which require an email address to see the results. Another option would be to pay for a search ad that promotes a sale or an e-book (example: 10 Ways To Treat Dry Eyes). When the user clicks the ad, they’ll go to a landing page with a form, which the user will have to complete to get the discount code for the sale or download the e-book.
As long as the user gives you their email address and agrees to receive emails, you should be all set.
Now it’s time for you and your prospects to get to know each other.
You’ll send emails that introduce the recipient to all of the awesome services you offer – but not all at once. Try to focus on one major topic per email. So, for instance, you can do one email on exclusive eyewear brands you carry. Then, in another email, you could cover some of the in-office dry eye treatments you offer. You don’t need to hit the reader over the head with calls to action, but you should suggest their next steps, like “schedule an appointment” or “see what’s in store.”
Don’t forget to cater to your audience’s interests, though. Consider what brought them into the funnel in the first place. If they signed up for a coupon for kids’ eyewear, create emails centered on services and products usually directed at kids, like pediatric eye exams and myopia control.
This may mean you use multiple “tracks” of emails. When the potential patient enters the funnel, they’re put on the track that aligns most closely with their entry method.
Once you’ve reached the conversion stage, it’s safe to assume that your readers are qualified leads (potential patients). They know what you have to offer and they’re interested in trying it for themselves. All you have to do is drive it home.
This is when you’ll start adding urgency to your calls to action. Re-introduce the products or services these potential patients are most likely to be interested in and bring up their benefits clearly and concisely.
Then, make it easy for them to take the next step by giving them a strong call to action. “Try it now,” “book today,” “schedule your consultation” are all good calls to action. Make sure to include your practice’s contact information. If you’re promoting a product that’s available via your e-commerce store, link directly to the product so the user can make their purchase then and there.
It’s All About Building Relationships
Talking about email funnels as a lead generation tool may seem very sales-y, and in some ways, it is. But when you break the entire process down, it’s no different than building a relationship with your patients.
You introduce yourself, your qualifications and your specialties. You demonstrate your expertise by providing potential solutions to their problems. Finally, you help them find the right solution for their needs. Bringing in new patients through an email funnel allows your potential patients to get to know you before they ever walk through your door.
Want to learn more about the power of email marketing? Check out this recorded 20 minute webinar on how you can add email marketing to your strategy.
Kaia Pankhurst is the content strategy manager of Marketing4ECPs, where she leads a growing team of writers. In her time at Marketing4ECPs, Kaia has created and implemented custom content strategies for eye care professionals all over North America.