Digital marketing tips to boost the profile of your health & wellness business: part four
Almost there – this is the last post in my four-part series on boosting the online profile of your health and wellness brand. If you’ve followed from the start, you’ve already learnt how to put together a great website, discovered the basics of search engine optimisation (SEO), and got to grips with social media. In this last post, we are going to look at email marketing and how you can use it to take your digital marketing to the next level.
Email marketing is one of my favourite topics. Why? I’ve seen the power it has to build a relationship with your clients, drive sales, and keep people coming back for more.
There are two broad types of email marketing: warm and cold. Warm email marketing is when you are sending emails to someone who has already encountered you in some way – they’re a previous client, have bought something from your store, or have signed up to your mailing list. Cold email marketing is when you go out yourself to find a list of potential contacts, but they haven’t done anything to invite the contact previously.
I’m going to focus on warm email marketing in this post, because laws on data protection and digital marketing make cold email marketing difficult in many circumstances. To send email marketing to an individual you need their consent, under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which cover all EU countries (and also the UK).
The main exception for cold email marketing is if you are predominately marketing your health products or services to other businesses. The rules around B2B marketing are less strict, although it is still considered best practice to allow companies to opt out of your emails. Individual employees must be given an opt out option. If you’d like to find out more about the regulations covering digital marketing to businesses, this checklist from the ICO is a good starting point.
The other exception to the no cold emails rule is if you have bought a list of contact details from someone else that have been properly obtained. This means the details must have been gathered in a way that complies by both PECR and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The people on the list must have consented to their details being passed to you for email marketing purposes. A generic consent covering third parties isn’t strong enough – they need to have specifically agreed to marketing messages from your business. The ICO guidelines on using marketing lists for email marketing are worth a read if you are considering buying a list.
Generally, it is better to gather your own marketing list, so that you can be certain the data has been collected in a way that makes it legal for you to use it.
Getting people to subscribe to your mailing list
Assuming for the moment that you are mainly interested in marketing your health and wellness brand to individuals, how do you get those people to sign up for emails? To use people’s email address for email marketing, you need their consent to send them emails – you can’t just add all your previous clients to a mailing list and then start sending them marketing information.
Just to be clear, this doesn’t apply to communicating necessary information by email. If someone has bought something from your online health store, or has booked a therapy or coaching session via your website, they don’t have to specifically agree to receive emails from you with shipping information, or confirming their appointment. But if those emails contain significant marketing materials, they tip over into direct marketing and you’ll need their consent. That’s why it is best to keep your service emails free of marketing, although they can still carry your logo and branding, and should reflect your brand voice too.
So how to get that all important consent? Well, first of all you should give people the opportunity to agree to receive marketing emails from you at every point of contact.
Have a tick box on your order form, contact form, and feedback form where they can agree to hear about your products or services. If you see people in person, include a box on any paper forms you get them to complete too.
Without turning this post into a lesson on data protection (a whole topic in itself), note that under GDPR you need to get people to opt in rather than opt out. In other words, don’t be tempted to use pre-ticked consent boxes.
Secondly, you should incentivise people to voluntarily sign up to receive your emails. Why would they do that? You are going to need to have something they want to hear about.
The standard way of doing this is to offer a free resource that people can only get access to if they sign up to your mailing list.
You’ll see this trick used all over the internet – you get to someone’s site and a little pop up appears offering you a free eBook on plant-based eating or decluttering (or digital marketing tricks 😊) in exchange for your email address.
It doesn’t have to be an eBook. It could be an email course, or video content, or a discount code (generally how product-based wellness businesses do it). The point is to offer something exclusive.
If you are smart, that freebie or discount code will be something that then brings the potential client closer to parting with their cash. A discount code, for example, doesn’t just get them on your mailing list, it makes it more likely you’ll secure that first sale. The video content you offer could be the introduction to a longer, paid-for series.
Email marketing campaigns
Once you’ve secured your customer or potential client’s email address and got their consent to use it, you need to decide what you are going to do with it.
You could, of course, just start sending them emails telling them to buy, buy, buy. But unless you are selling literal miracles, this approach is unlikely to work (even then it might be a hard sell).
It takes time to build a good relationship with someone and for health and wellness brands, there often needs to be a high degree of trust and belief in your service or products before people are prepared to commit.
The good news is that email marketing can be an excellent way to convert subscribers into clients. You just have to be a bit gentler about it. Treat your subscribers as you would any of your clients – with care, empathy, and respect.
What you can do with your mailing list depends a bit on the technology you are using. If you are a small business and have a restricted budget, you might not be ready yet to invest in something that has all the bells and whistles.
There are plenty of free email marketing platforms you can use to get yourself started. Most popular, still, is Mailchimp. In fact, it leads the market by such a long way that the only other mass email platform I’ve ever used is the one that is inbuilt into the CRM for the charity I fundraise for.
Since I can’t tell you about alternatives to Mailchimp with any authority, I’ll point you to this post from Authority Hacker to give you the low-down on some other options.
You can easily integrate Mailchimp subscription forms into your website, and it acts as a basic CRM database, as well as taking care of consent tick boxes and opt outs for you. The email design interface is also user-friendly, even if you aren’t techy – no need to learn html just to send a newsletter.
Once you know which mailing platform you will use, you can start to set up some campaigns. There are lots of different options for campaigns, so I’m going to concentrate on two essentials to get you started: welcome journeys and email newsletters.
1. Welcome journey
A welcome journey is an automated email (or ideally a series of emails) that kicks off when someone new subscribes to your mailing list. Welcome emails have a higher open rate than other email campaigns, so they are an excellent way to start to build a relationship with your new subscriber.
Fortunately, even the free version of Mailchimp now allows you to automate a welcome email to new subscribers, although you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid-for versions if you want to get fancy with your segmentation or create journeys with multiple branches.
Even if you decide against a full welcome journey, I highly recommend configuring at least one welcome email to start your relationship with your new subscriber on the right foot.
What should you include in your first welcome email? Start by doing what it says on the tin – welcoming your new subscriber and thanking them for signing up. Tell them a little bit about you and your health business; what do you offer? What problem will you help them solve? Why should they consider engaging with you further?
Set the expectations for your ongoing relationship. If you are going to be sending further welcome emails, tell them so. Will you send a monthly newsletter? Can they expect exclusive offers and discounts, priority booking, or sneak peaks of new things?
If you promised a freebie to get them to sign up, make sure you deliver.
If you didn’t, now might be the time to give them a little something as a way to nudge them back to your website (and hopefully a sale). Either way, end your email with a call to action – a suggestion of a product or service that might meet their needs, somewhere they can find out more about you, or an invitation to get in touch.
As with your website copy, your email copy should feel warm and personal – a human speaking to another human, even though you aren’t communicating face-to-face. You don’t address real people as ‘dear customer’ so don’t start your emails this way. Capture at least their first name at the same time as you grab their email address, so that you can use tokens to personalise the email.
And, of course, go back to your audience research so that you can write your email directly to your ideal client.
If you have the option, take your welcome journey beyond just the first email and set up a whole series. Each one should explain a little more of your offer and how it can help subscribers meet their health and wellness needs. Trail the next email in the one before and make sure you include a call to action in each one.
You don’t need to send your welcome series back to back. Especially if it is a longer series (I’d recommend 6 emails max), you don’t want to overwhelm people. Your series might look more like:
Day 0 – welcome email
Day 1 – email two
Day 3 – email three
Day 5 – email four
Day 8 – email five
Day 11 – email six
You don’t have to make such a long series either. It depends on how much you have to offer. Test a few different options to see what works best.
2. Monthly email newsletter
While your welcome email grabs potential clients at the point they are feeling most engaged, a monthly newsletter is your regular reminder to potential and current clients that you still exist. You don’t have to send it on exactly the same day each month (trust me, no one will be keeping that close track), but you should aim to email your list at least once a month.
This is a regular mailing; separate from any promotional campaigns you might do. The aim is as much to share your news and give your clients helpful content as it is to sell.
And email newsletters do sell. At the charity I fundraise for, we send a newsletter every month to both donors and non-donors. It makes my job so much easier, because I know that as soon as that newsletter hits inboxes, I’ll see a big jump in new donors.
An email newsletter doesn’t just bring in sales though. It drives engagement, keeping you and your health business in the minds of your subscribers. Even if they aren’t ready to make a purchase or book an appointment at the point your email lands, the regular reminder of your presence means that when they next need your services, you’ll be their first port of call, rather than one of your competitors.
What should you put in the email newsletter for your health and wellness brand? The standard template is a short, chatty introduction letting people know what you have been up to this month, and then a few short ‘news’ items which link to a longer article or an area of your website.
This is where having a blog and an email newsletter fit in so well together – you can use your top performing blog posts from the month as content in your newsletter. It saves you some time in creating new content and drives people to your website.
Occasionally, it is a good idea to offer your mailing list some benefits that no one else has access to. This might be an additional discount code, early notice of a sale, pre-orders for a new course, service, or product, or free content that they can’t get elsewhere. It keeps people feeling engaged and loyal to your brand and therefore minimises unsubscribes. Plus, people like the feeling of exclusivity and being an insider with privileged access to your brand.
There’s plenty more to unpack around digital marketing, but I hope this series has been a useful introduction and got you thinking of some ways that you can improve your health and wellness company’s online reach.
Take it one step at a time – there’s no need to jump in doing everything at once. Digital marketing can feel overwhelming, but it is worth the investment in time to bring new clients to your brand.
And if you are feeling completely panicked by the idea of writing blog posts or putting together an email newsletter, I can help. Why not check out my services to see if I might be a good fit for your brand?
In the meantime, you can catch up with the rest of this series here: