Cloud with snow Learn how your practice can weather the flurry of healthcare changes throughout 2017 in our February webinar. Register now.


Create All-Star Emails Through A/B TestingMatt is WebPT’s email marketing specialist. His monthly column covers all things email marketing and how it can help your clinic.

The most sobering realization you can make about your clinic's marketing email program is that, despite what you think, it stinks. The sooner you accept this as a fact, the sooner you’ll be able to improve it.

Email successes are generally measured at a rate that would get baseball players sent home packing (keep in mind that baseball is a sport where succeeding three times out of 10 is considered above-average). While there are exceptions to the rule, marketing emails with at least a 20% open rate are generally considered pretty successful. But do you really want to settle for one out of five people opening your email? Probably not.

So, how do you boost that open rate, thus improving the performance of your marketing emails? You test. And you never stop testing.

Typically, A/B testing is the simplest way to do this. Basically, this means splitting your target list in half and sending different versions of an email to each of the two groups. One half gets Version A and the other half gets Version B. You can either test with a single email or aggregate your results over the course of several emails. Depending on your list size, it could take several messages to get any statistical significance (the results you get from emailing 20 people won’t be as accurate as those you get from emailing 200 or 2,000). Whatever parameters you choose, just make sure you only test one thing at a time; leave the rest of the email the same so you preserve confidence in the test.

Here are five of the best email tests you can use to improve your marketing emails:

1. The Subject Line

In last month’s blog, I mentioned that the subject line is arguably the most important part of an email. This makes it arguably the most important thing to test. There are all sorts of things you can test with a subject line, ranging from length (the most successful subject line in President Obama’s re-election fundraising email campaign was simply “Hey”) to phrasing it as a question versus a statement (e.g., “Do you want to improve your health?” versus “My PT Clinic can help you improve your health”).

2. The Day and Time

When do you check your email? Are you checking it at 3:00 AM on Monday? Probably not. There are veritable sweet spots for what day and time you should send emails. Unfortunately, it varies greatly depending on your audience. The increasing use of mobile phones to check email has also thrown a wrench into the mix. So, the only way to know when to send is to test. Try sending an email to half of your list on Tuesday at 3:00 PM. Then send the same email to the other half on Wednesday at 3:00 PM. Or, send half at 6:00 AM on Tuesday and the rest at 4:00 PM the same day.

3. The Sender

Aside from the subject line, the sender is the first thing a person sees when they receive an email. But does that affect whether they’ll open the email or not? Absolutely. Try sending an email from a generic address (e.g., info@yourclinic.com) and test that against an actual name (e.g., john.doe@yourclinic.com).

4. The Content

When it comes to content, there’s a lot to test. Long or short? Educational or salesy? Casual or formal? The length, tone, and structure of your emails will vary based on the goal of each individual message, so don’t expect to test this once and apply the results across all of your email campaigns. The biggest trick to testing content is to not make so many changes between versions that you can’t attribute the results to any one thing.

5. The Design

The last—but definitely not least—important area to test with your emails is the design. These tests can range from major alterations (e.g., plain text versus a fancy HTML design) to subtle differences (e.g., using one color over another). Try to pinpoint your goal for the email. What action—if any—do you want the recipients to take? Then imagine yourself as one of those recipients. What changes would make you more or less likely to take the desired action?

Now that you have an idea of what you should be testing, it’s time to get to it. Depending on how you’re sending your emails, this task can be very easy or very tedious. Next month, I’ll discuss a few options for services that facilitate the process of sending out your marketing emails, and I’ll also help you perfect your messages so you’ll go from batting .200 to making the All-Star Game.

Physical Therapy Software Buyer's Guide - Regular BannerPhysical Therapy Software Buyer's Guide - Small Banner
  • How to Design a Physical Therapy Website Like a Pro Image

    articleJul 1, 2016 | 6 min. read

    How to Design a Physical Therapy Website Like a Pro

    If you’ve spent much time on the Internet—which I’m guessing you have because you’re reading this article—you know there’s a website for almost everything. And when I say “everything, ” I really mean it. Case in point: bees, bees, bees . But, I digress. My point is that to get your brand out there—yes, even in health care—you have to be visible online. And that means you must have a company website. Now, creating your own site …

  • Not Your Mom’s Family Newsletter: Creating Marketing Emails Your Patients Will Actually Read Image

    articleMar 26, 2015 | 4 min. read

    Not Your Mom’s Family Newsletter: Creating Marketing Emails Your Patients Will Actually Read

    You know that email newsletter your mom sends out each Christmas? Yeah, the one filled with crummy Microsoft Word clip art ( may it rest in peace ), a banal list of little Becky’s latest soccer triumphs, updates on your brother’s spring wedding plans (can you say allergies?), and pictures of the family dog dressed up like a bee for Halloween (cute, but no). Your patients deserve better, so I’m here to kick your newsletter game up …

  • articleSep 4, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Four Metrics Critical to Your Blog

    So you’ve started blogging , and that’s fantastic. It’s a great way to get your message out to the masses—whether it be how fantastic your services are, the latest in industry developments, or preferably, a well-balanced mix of both. But just like everything else in your business, it’s important to track your return on investment so you know just how much time you should be devoting to researching, writing, and responding. Now, there’s a ton of super …

  • 6 Biggest Takeaways from PPS 2015 Image

    articleNov 16, 2015 | 10 min. read

    6 Biggest Takeaways from PPS 2015

    Last week, I joined hundreds of amazing physical therapy professionals, students, and vendors (including yours truly, WebPT) at this year's PPS Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Despite the uncomfortable combination of tropical heat and humidity outside—and near-freezing conference rooms inside—everyone was in high spirits. Though I never made it to Disney World, I still felt like I was in the most magical place on Earth, thanks to the inspiring and informative presentations I saw and the thought-provoking …

  • articleSep 23, 2013 | 6 min. read

    5 Tips and Tricks for Better Website Design

    During this month’s marketing-themed month, in addition to covering overall marketing strategies, we’ve focused pretty heavily on the importance of developing an online presence when it comes to reaching potential patients. There’s a reason for that: it’s 2013—and in a blink of an eye, it’ll be 2014...and 2015...and, well, you get the idea. Time is moving forward, not backward, and in our ever-progressing technology-centric world, it’s going to become more and more crucial to present yourself and …

  • 3 Keys to Establishing Website Confidence Image

    articleNov 11, 2016 | 4 min. read

    3 Keys to Establishing Website Confidence

    In today’s digital landscape, users are less forgiving of poor web construction than ever before – and for good reason. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of false or irrelevant information on the web, and it’s just as accessible and pervasive as the truly beneficial, crucial facts that users want to find. Thus, it’s critical that your physical therapy website begin establishing user confidence from the moment someone lands on one of your pages. Consider, for instance, the structure …

  • How to Manage Your Online Marketing Image

    articleMar 26, 2014 | 5 min. read

    How to Manage Your Online Marketing

    Today’s blog comes from E-rehab.com President David Straight, PT, DPT. With the current level of over-regulation and increasing pressure from competition, payers, and POPTS, running a physical therapy private practice can be a challenge. That’s why it’s more important than ever for owners and directors to efficiently manage their business operations—and that includes marketing. While many small practice owners often view online marketing as an afterthought, it should actually be a high priority. After all, record numbers …

  • articleSep 17, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Collecting Email Addresses (a.k.a. The Digital Social Security Number)

    Matt is WebPT’s email marketing specialist. His monthly column covers all things email marketing and how it can help your clinic. When it comes to personal information, these days it doesn’t get much more personal than your email address. This might seem like a bit of an exaggeration, but just think about how often businesses try to get you to dish out your email—there has to be a good reason, right? The email address is practically your …

  • articleAug 15, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Two Quick Tips for Facebook Success

    Facebook. If you’re like me, you’ve deactivated your account more than once, only to return to the one place where everyone seems to be and where everything seems to happen. I checked out some of the most recent Facebook stats today, and the numbers are truly staggering—699 million daily active users, 76% of whom log in at least once every day and spend an average of 8.3 hours on Facebook per month (20 minutes per visit). So …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.