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EMAIL MARKETING 101: HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR STORE (OR PRACTICE) & SERVICES

Published on
22/02/2019

Posted by Erik van Dijk

Erik has previously worked for 10 years at Philips in various parts of the business and in different roles, most recently at Philips Healthcare in R&D management. Since his start at EasyScan in 2015 he headed the operations (supply chain/technical support) and R&D team. In 2017, Erik became the CEO. Erik has a PhD in Physics from the University of Twente.

Is there a place for email blasts in your optical business? If so, how should you use them to achieve positive results and what software can help you succeed? These are the main questions we will try to cover in our article.

Email blasts can be used in any type of business where you need to keep in touch with your clients. Whether you acquired a lit or recipient and want to promote your business or send a callback for an eye exam to your existing customers, email marketing remains one of the easiest—and cheapest—ways to get the word out.

After all, as of early 2019, there are 3.8 billion global email users, and this number is predicted to grow to 4.1 billion users by 2021. This naturally applies to our industry as well. For example, one of the surveys says that in the UK, every pound spent on email blasts has an ROI of 38 pounds. Impressive, right?

Did you know that 49% of optician business owners are already using email marketing?

That’s a serious reason to start thinking about your email marketing activity.

Email blast types

First of all, you should know that in terms of audience there are two basic types of email blasts:

  1. Blasts that are focused on generating new clients (cold emailing). This type of marketing is the most complicated and requires in-depth knowledge of marketing and sales techniques.
  2. Blasts aiming for your regular customers, encouraging them to visit your store once again (warm emailing).

Both variations can be used to increase your store’s revenue, but the first one requires too many resources for this type of business and is unlikely to be profitable. So, today we will focus on email communication with your regular visitors: so-called warm emailing.

What to write?

The main goal of warm emailing is to stimulate new purchases. That’s why you probably think that each email should contain information about new products in your store or relevant discounts, but unfortunately, it’s not that easy. If you try this strategy, you will quickly notice that almost all of your regular customers have unsubscribed from your emails. That’s not surprising, as these emails are not bringing them any value. Remember, your customers will keep reading your letter only if its content is sufficiently interesting and valuable to your readers. Keep this in mind when composing a new letter. It will be further improved if you take some time to compose a series of 10 to 15 emails with only every 4th or 5th encouraging them to make a purchase; other letters should provide value. For example, in these letters you can tell your clients about different types of eye diseases and how to recognize them. Sending them a colour blind test could be a good start to catching their attention. Or, you could discuss a variety of eye lenses. That may sound simple and ordinary to you but believe me, your patients are completely overwhelmed with the diversity of eye lens market propositions.

It’s important to remember that there’s no need to write long, comprehensive letters. You can compose one thorough article on a valuable topic and divide it into several emails.

What is the perfect length of your marketing email?

According to research conducted by Constant Contact, 20 or fewer lines of text with three or fewer images results in the greatest number of click-throughs per email. This means keeping your letters within the limit of 200 words will provide you with the highest engagement rate. More importantly, giving special attention to the subject line will pay off, too. Not only does the length matter but you may want to consider using that space to ask a question, thus increasing the likelihood of your recipients opening the email.

What is the best email frequency to maximize response?

According to Mark Brownlow’s research, 73% of respondents said that high frequency was the main reason for opting out.

A MarketingSherpa survey says that more than half of users prefer receiving marketing emails at least once a month. What’s more interesting is that 15% of users showed a desire to receive marketing emails every day. This study also found that 91% of users actually don’t mind getting promotional emails.

According to a National Client Email report, 35% of marketers (the majority) send two or three emails a month. So, if you rely on their experience and consider the average frequency of your client’s visits to your optical store, sending promotional emails two times per month would be just fine. This is the number you can start with, but remember that each case is different, so only testing can show the most suitable frequency for your optical store.

Which email marketing software is best suited for your optical stores?

We have studied popular email software marketing tools to find the most applicable for your optical business. What did the evaluation process look like?

We considered several important factors which are primary in your decision making. They are:

  1. Email marketing features
  2. Ease of use
  3. Cost 
  4. Security and compliance

Based on these variables, we have identified three leaders:

ActiveCampaign



Constant Contact



MailChimp

These companies are veterans in the field of email marketing, so you can be certain that any of them can become your reliable marketing partner. Nevertheless, each tool has its strengths and weaknesses; let’s figure out which software suits you best.

1. Email marketing features

ActiveCampaign is the true leader in this segment. It gives you a lot of opportunities for A/B Testing automation. The majority of email marketing tools allow you to split-test content, subject lines, and send times. In addition to this feature, ActiveCampaign enables you to split-test entire sections of an automation sequence. Therefore, you can split-test a serious change like sending five emails to patients who went through an SLO diagnostics procedure for the first time, versus only two emails to see which sequence has the highest conversion rate (number of returned patients).

2. Ease of use

ActiveCampaign keeps leadership position, although Constant Contact and MailChimp are close behind.

Don’t take my word for it, let’s see what their interfaces look like.

ActiveCampaign



 Constant Contact



Mailchimp

3. Cost

  1. MailChimp is the only software on our list that provides a completely free option. What’s most important is that this free option has several features that are not available in basic pre-paid ActiveCampaign and Constant Contact versions.ActiveCampaign’s subscription starts from $17 per month, but for it to become a really powerful tool you need to pay $49 monthly. In its defense, we can say that you cannot find a more diverse and easier-to-use tool on the market for such a price. If you plan to start a serious email marketing campaign, you should definitely consider the $49 option.Constant Contact will cost you from $20 to $45 per month, depending on which features are selected.

4. Security and compliance

  1. The one and only HIPAA-compliant email marketing service in this list is Constant Contact, so if you plan to use PHI (personal health information) in your letters, this tool will be your best choice. If there is no PHI in the email’s content, then encryption normally isn’t necessary.Like any marketing activity, email strategies and software should be tested to find the one that would work best for your unique optical store. This article is a guide but not a ready-made solution. Only your precision and efforts can build a successful email marketing strategy that works for your optical business. The secret is to stay open to new approaches and test them to see if they meet your goals.

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