Take one look at your personal or work inbox and it’s not hard to believe the number of emails sent worldwide in 2019 surpassed 293 BILLION each day. And that is only projected to grow.

Keeping up with all these emails can feel like racing against an avalanche.

In its Email Statistics Report, 2019-2023, The Radicati Group underlined that email is “integral to the overall internet experience.” Here are some quick stats to give you an idea of how important this channel is:

  • The total number of emails sent each day is expected to reach 347 billion by the end of 2023.
  • The number of email users worldwide surpassed 3.9 billion in 2019.
  • Over half the world’s population used email in 2019.
  • The total number of email users worldwide is expected to reach 4.3 billion in 2023.

A 2016 ClickZ study showed that 73% of millennials preferred email marketing to other channels (like social media).

How healthcare marketers can break through the noisy inbox

As healthcare marketers, your emails face stiff competition in those stuffed inboxes. Do you have a winning strategy to break through?

Here are four essential healthcare email marketing tips:

Be relevant

Take the time to learn what topics your current or future customers want to hear more about via a quick online survey. This can be especially useful when revamping an email newsletter.

It’s worthwhile to send a survey at least once a year to gauge the interests of your audience as your email list grows. You may also want to consider setting up a preference center for new subscribers to tell you exactly what they want to see in the inbox and how often.

Once you’ve gathered the data, offer tips and other information that will be meaningful and useful to your users. Consider segmenting your audience into different buckets and customizing content based on their specific interests or where they are in the patient journey.

For example, if someone gives you an email address after taking a heart health risk assessment on your website, they may be interested in content about preventing heart disease. A patient who signs up for a smoking cessation clinic will likely want to see emails related to their effort to quit smoking.

With this relevant, customized content, you’ll be meeting customers’ needs and building trust, both of which can lead to higher open and click-through rates.

Stay crisp

If a reader can’t quickly grasp the key points and take action, they’ll move on. Write in plain language and aim for scannable, short paragraphs.

It’s also crucial to make sure your email design is mobile-friendly, as mobile devices accounted for the majority of email opens in Q1 of 2019. If you don’t have an email designer on hand to build a mobile-friendly template, many email service providers (ESPs) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms offer pre-built templates that are responsive to the user’s device.

Old WriterGirl newsletter template that's not mobile-friendly

The old WriterGirl newsletter (Content Counts) was not very mobile-friendly. Look how tiny that text is!


New, mobile-friendly WriterGirl email template

The new WriterGirl newsletter template is much more responsive to mobile devices and includes larger call-to-action buttons that are easier to click on a phone.

You’ll also want to keep subject lines concise. We recommend somewhere around 40 characters, but optimizing length will depend on the email clients your readers are using. For example, if most of your readers are accessing your email on a mobile device, shorter subject lines may work better. Try testing different lengths of subject lines to see what works best.

Difference in mobile and desktop subject line length

Notice the difference in subject line space between a mobile and desktop client. If most of your readers use a mobile device, think short subject lines!

Be strategic

You’ve heard it before. Email campaigns are the workhorses of your content marketing program. Keep them ready to win by making strategic, informed decisions.

  • Collect and study email data, then use it to improve future campaigns and content. Create monthly and quarterly reports to look at trends over time.
  • Keep up with industry benchmarks. If you’re new to the email marketing game and not sure where your metrics should land, industry benchmarks can be a useful starting point. Get Response reports the healthcare industry has an average open rate of 26.88% and an average click-through rate of 3.01%.
  • Develop an email editorial calendar, but be prepared to jettison it for a timely topic or opportunity that will entice more opens.
  • Keep your email lists clean. Bounces and spam notifications damage your sending reputation, which means your emails are more likely to land in the spam folder for readers who do want to hear from you. Purge old contacts, confirm recipients’ preferences and consider using two-step authentication to improve deliverability, and ultimately, engagement.

Stay savvy

Email has been around a while, but like all things digital, it’s evolving almost as fast as the devices used to read it. Complying with email marketing regulations is not optional; it’s the law.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which rolled out in 2018, meant some big changes for anyone dealing with email users in the European Union. GDPR gives consumers more control over their data and how it’s used. From an email standpoint, it means senders need to be clear when they collect someone’s email address and explain in plain language what they plan to do with that information (marketing emails, newsletters, etc.)

Another regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, also took effect in 2018. It has similar provisions to GDPR and means email senders need to be up front about the data they are collecting and how they plan to use it.

In some cases, your ESP or CRM tool may help you avoid any regulation fouls. You should also check in with your legal department before updating any privacy policies or email processes. We also recommend visiting a reputable online source, such as the Federal Trade Commission.

What healthcare email marketing tips help you win the inbox race? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Need a partner for your healthcare email campaigns? WriterGirl’s team of healthcare writers can create custom email campaigns that fit your voice, audience and marketing goals. Drop us a line anytime to learn more.


Editor’s note: This blog was updated on February 13, 2020. It was originally published in April 2018.