The Coffey Blog

3 numbers that can show you if your healthcare e-newsletter is working

Posted on: Monday, March 16, 2015

Becky Kettner, Marketing Communications Manager

Your hospital's or health organization's e-newsletter can be a great tool for connecting with healthcare consumers.

But how do you know that your efforts are succeeding?

Watching your subscriber list grow over time is a great sign that your e-newsletter is being promoted properly. But it's also important to track how people are responding to your messages after they subscribe.

Here are 3 subscriber engagement reports that are worth looking at on a regular basis:

1. Click-through rate. A truly effective e-newsletter will have a multitude of calls to action that invite people to click through to your website. Measuring how often people click, and what they click on, can help you understand where you've been successful at engaging your subscribers and where you need to fine-tune.

Number to know: The average click-through rate for healthcare e-newsletters is 4.8 percent, according to Silverpop. That's higher than in many other industries. Still, average isn't where you want to be: Top performers get click-through rates of 13 percent.

2. Unsubscribe rate. Every "Unsubscribe" click is essentially a no-thanks from a reader, suggesting that he or she doesn't view the information you're sending as valuable. Not everyone who loses interest in your e-newsletter will unsubscribe, of course. Some will just ignore the emails. So it's important to look at unsubscribe rates alongside other measurements, like click-through rates, in order to get a fuller picture of how people feel about the e-newsletter.

Number to know: According to Silverpop's 2014 Email Marketing Metrics Study, the average unsubscribe rate for a healthcare e-newsletter is 0.1 percent.

3. After-click activity. Looking at what people do after they've clicked through to your hospital's website helps you really understand the value of your e-newsletter. Are they looking at one page and leaving the site? Taking an action like signing up for a class or making an appointment with a provider?

The information you find can help you improve your e-newsletter content strategy. It might also give you insight into the user experience of your website.

Reports to watch: You can create a custom campaign in Google Analytics to help you track how many people come to your site from your e-newsletter and what they do after they arrive. Setting goals for what you want people to do when they reach the site makes these reports even more valuable.

Google has instructions on how to set up a custom campaign. Or let us help! Coffey has Google Analytics-certified staff members who would be happy to lend a hand.

What about open rates?

Marketers often focus on open-rate figures, but they can be misleading. One key reason: Open-rate reporting only works if subscribers allow you to send images to their phones and computers. Many people turn images off, which means they wouldn't be counted as having opened your email even if they read it.

That's not to say you should dismiss open rates entirely. For example, a sudden drop could give you a clue that there's a problem. It could mean a technical issue, like your email getting blocked for some reason. You'll want to do some digging to find out.

The bottom line: It's best to evaluate open rates in the context of other reports, such as the ones listed above.

Is your e-newsletter delivering the value you need?

If you need more from your e-newsletter, give us a call at 888.805.9101 or email us. We'd be happy to do an audit of your current e-newsletter.

You can learn more about Coffey's e-newsletter services here.