It is an accepted maxim that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing customer. It is something most every business owner agrees with. Yet, when it comes to advertising and marketing, so much of every eye care practice’s budget is dedicated to acquiring new customers. We always want to grow our businesses and new customers are how we achieve that growth. However, with all our efforts to acquire new customers, we should never forget about our existing customers.
With all the talk about advertising budgets and the fragmented marketplace, what are you doing to reach out to your existing patients and customers to get them to come back and spend money with you? One of the most cost-efficient methods for keeping in touch with your customers and is email. Yes, that one aspect of our digital world we love to hate, email. Over 200 billion emails are sent and received every day. Well over half of those are spam emails promising everything from instant riches to instant inches. Yet, over 74% of consumers prefer email over direct mail for commercial communications. We are so attached to our email accounts that almost 3 out of 4 people check their email in bed. Almost half of us check our emails before we get out of bed in the morning.
Email remains the predominant form of communication in the business world. Of the 4 plus billion email addresses that exist, 3 out of 4 of them are consumers email accounts. While a whopping 75% of online adults have a Facebook account, 95% use email and 91% check their email daily. The average Facebook user spends 50 minutes a day on the site. The average person spends 6.3 hours a day checking email, with half of that time representing personal emails.
When we post something on our Facebook pages, the majority of organic post impressions are achieved in a 3-hour window. The lifespan of a Tweet on Twitter can be measured in minutes instead of hours. Email, however, doesn’t die off so easily. An email will sit in the inbox until some action is taken. An email will sit for hours, days, weeks even until it is read or deleted, or both. Yes, the average open rate for consumer product and service emails hover around 25%, but that dwarfs the organic reach of Facebook’s average 6.5%. Now, take into consideration that more than likely, your email lists are all current and former customers, while your Facebook audience can be almost anyone from anywhere, whether or not they have ever stepped foot in your practice, let alone spent money with you.
How do you get your patient/customer email addresses? Easy! Ask! Most people have multiple email addresses they use each and every day. The average consumer has 3 email accounts, so they are used to sharing their email addresses with companies they do business with, especially when they know they might save money on future transactions by doing so. How about using email for appointment reminders? How about notifying your patients their eyeglasses are ready to be picked up via email? How about thanking your customers and patients with a follow-up email a few weeks after their purchase or exam? How about using email to inform your patients about upcoming truck shows or sale events?
Of course, you want your emails to comply with the Can-Spam act which sets federal requirements for commercial email messages. This encompasses who you can email and tells recipients how they may opt out of future messages. No one likes Spam, so the last thing you want to do is make enemies of your patients and customers by not respecting their wishes. This is why it makes sense to use an email marketing company to house your email addresses. All the emails they send will contain the proper Can-Spam requirements as well as make like easier for you to email with a number of pre-made email templates. Some of the top email services we recommend are Constant Contact, MyEmma, and MailChimp. There are plenty of other good email marketing firms as well.
Combine your email efforts with your social media efforts and you will greatly expand your reach as well as your frequency to reach current and prospective patients and customers effectively and efficiently.