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Email marketing is here to stay. What do pharmacists need to know?

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera
Gerry Spitzner helps pharmacists and healthcare practitioners to develop winning business management strategies for their practice

Even in 2021 people still open emails; email marketing is here to stay and should be a part of an online marketing strategy

You might think that email marketing is dying or dead but this is a myth. It actually remains as the best way to engage. You can be forgiven for thinking that email marketing is old news, since the arrival and growth of social media for business. Open any business site and you will see hundreds of how to market on social media articles and very few on email marketing.

Email has truly stood the test of time. It’s one of the oldest online marketing tactics out there. While social media advertising is a fantastic marketing channel for all businesses, be careful you don’t dismiss an email channel. With the broadest reach, lowest cost, easiest measurability, and highest conversion rates email still dominates online marketing channels. Studies show that email offers the highest return on your marketing dollars.

So yes, email marketing still works, and can be a hugely effective marketing weapon, but the same rules used in social media need to be followed.  Authenticity, target market and relevant content worth reading among them.

However, it’s not quite as clear cut as pushing emails out. You can’t rock an email marketing campaign with the same ‘blast-it’ attitude you could have got away with a decade or so ago. People’s inboxes are inundated. Get it wrong, you’ll switch off your reader, and the chances are you’ve lost them for good.

 There are no second chances.

Utilize a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

This is where one should consider using a system like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to market prospects that have opted into receiving your email containing content from your blog or newsletter. There are plenty of other free or low-cost alternatives available and you might find one that suits your needs better.

It's no fun sending emails without knowing if anyone opened them. Finding out this information and adjusting and tweaking emails based on these results helps you become a better email marketer by sending effective and valuable emails. All these email services have great statistics and robust analytics built into their systems.

You don’t have to be a designer or tech whiz to use CRM systems. They are full of design tools that make it easy to create sophisticated campaigns that shine a light on the best of your business, and they can integrate with multiple online marketing channels including social media.

Trustworthy because it’s permission-based.

Since the introduction of Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in July 2014, building a permission-based email marketing list is as critical to the success of your campaign, as well as responsive design and relevant content. Build your list and only use email addresses from those who ‘opt in’. Opt-in means that an individual has voluntarily given you their email address to communicate with them. Although you are allowed to send a message to an existing client, in the year following their purchase, it is a lot easier to maintain your database if you get their expressed consent to send messages to them.

Naturally, email marketing cannot be done without email lists. And while permissionbased email marketing has long been advertised as a best practice, Canada’s antispam legislation has turned it into a legal requirement. As a result, most Canadian companies nowadays prefer to use double optin instead of single optin to confirm the explicit permission of their subscribers.

No list? No problem. Give people a way to join your list with a landing page on your website

A great way to entice subscribers is to offer exclusive content that they would not have had access to before signing up to your list. The content doesn’t just need to be big white papers or research reports, it can be a good infographic which is a handy point of reference. The key is that the subscriber feels good for being able to access this exclusive content.

Run an in-store clinic event or social media contest. Much like the exclusive content, clinics and contests are a great motivator for potential clients to subscribe to your list. Whether it’s an online or in-store contest, make it clear in the terms and conditions that by entering they are ‘opting in’ to your emails.

Look for offline ways to build your email marketing lists. Going to a trade show or networking event? It’s not only a great opportunity to make new connections, but also grow your email lists. Collect their business cards and ask for permission to add them to your list, then send a message to confirm.

Craft a strong message

Your message is what can make or break an email marketing campaign. Encourage readers to open your email by delivering a message that informs, entertains, and resonates. Create a catchy and meaningful subject line with 3-4 strong words and have a short and strong lead-in sentence that will entice people to keep reading or offer value such as discounts or useful information like professional tips of the week.

When done well, email marketing is an effective way to communicate with your customers. Email is inexpensive, convenient, and is easy to track. Consider an email marketing strategy that respects Canadian laws and targets your clients with the right message.

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