There is a virtual explosion of competition for eyes and ears online. There is more competition for your customer’s inbox attention than ever before and it is growing. Everyone is competing with every other email customers and potential customers receive, as well as the sinister spammers that have created a hostile environment for legitimate businesses. That is the power of the inbox.

However, email marketing is still going strong and should not be abandoned. Email marketing is a rather cost-effective way for you to connect with customers and patients, and to encourage them to share your message with their networks to spread the word about your clinic. But to get your e-blasts opened, read and shared, requires a newfound creativity and commitment to getting it right.

The key is to strike a balance between being incredibly creative to grab the attention of the people on your mailing list, and be mindful of not unwittingly causing people to opt-out or having disgruntled customers complain rather than tick the unsubscribe box. Your marketing efforts should be designed to increase followers, add more sign‑ups to your email list, and to spread the word about your products and services to increase your bottom line.

What are the best open rates?

Most modern email marketing programmes include analytics that are handy tools to evaluate how your e-blasts are treated and maximise your efforts. These tools tell you what is working and what is misfiring, and also who is reading your e-blasts. For example, you need to evaluate what subject lines tend to work best for your list of subscribers. This will help you to determine what topics you should plan and which should be set aside. Some effective e-blasts may have a special offer in the subject line, such as ‘20% Off Facial Injectables for You and a Friend’.

You should also look at who is opening your e-blasts with regard to demographic profile. For example, is it the younger (or older) customers, which postcodes are more active on your list, what are people clicking on most? This level of detailed information is invaluable to determine what your e-blasts need to be more effective. Paying close attention to who is buying your products or services enables you to confidently market to them.

When should you send e-blasts?

There are a number of ways at looking at the ideal days, times and frequency to send your e-blasts out. For example, the highest percentage of emails get sent and opened at the beginning of the week; Monday–Wednesday, when most people tend to go through their emails. However, it is also when most e-blasts are sent out so yours could get lost in the crowd. If you look at click‑through rates, weekends may have a higher percentage because people have more time to read.  The time of day is also a determining factor. The middle of the day at around lunchtime (12 pm–2 pm) tends to have the highest open rate. In many cases, people have more time to read during this period of the day. If you wait until the end of the day, your e-blast may get left until the next morning, where it could get caught up in the urge to purge the influx of new mail.

[pull_quote align=”left” ]By using the analytics tool from your email marketing service, you can see the days and times your emails were opened.[/pull_quote] Keep in mind that sending out emails too often is one of the leading factors that causes readers to unsubscribe. It is natural to think that if you sent out more e-blasts, you will naturally get greater click-through rates and thus, more revenue. However, you may find that the reverse is actually true and sending out more e-blasts can have a disastrous effect on your analytics.

I tend to hedge my bets. I prefer to send e-blasts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and around mid-morning. Fridays tend to be risky, and weekends and holidays seem somehow too intrusive. The day after a holiday is also among my blackout dates. By using the analytics tool from your email marketing service, you can see the days and times your emails were opened. If Tuesday afternoon is the most popular, then you can try that time-frame again for special offers and see what happens. The goal is to reach out to potential customers at the days and times that it is most convenient for them to get their attention. If you have the time, conduct some internal testing with their mailing list by sending emails on different days of the week and measuring the click-through and open rates. The target customer, as well as the content of your e-blast, should also be considered. For example, if you are trying to reach stay-at-home mothers, you might try mid-morning or mid-afternoon when children are most likely to be napping.