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Email Marketing for Patient Education & Engagement

By ||Published On: February 14th, 2022||Categories: FQHC, Healthcare Marketing||

Patients trust their doctors with their lives, so the use of email in healthcare communications remains one of the most effective channels for both ongoing communication and marketing efforts to remain in contact with patients both before and after they visit your Federally Qualified Health Center.


The number of emails sent and received globally is expected to reach 333 BILLION in 2022, so it is important that your emails stand out in your patient’s inbox. One of the main differences between healthcare and other industries sending email is the importance of maintaining your patient’s privacy. Before you start setting up email reminders and newsletters, it is important that you adhere t0 HIPAA guidelines, which require that you obtain written permission to correspond via email, especially when transmitting protected health information (PHI). Capture permission by adding a checkbox on your patient intake forms allowing your patients to opt-in or approve the use of email as a communication method.


When planning healthcare email marketing, a one-size-fits-all approach is not necessarily appropriate for your patient base. You wouldn’t want to send new mothers an email about maintaining calcium intake for bone density any more than you’d want to send your elderly patients information about milk production. Luckily, segmenting your contact list into groups allows you to easily send targeted emails with a particular focus within your address book. Take advantage of these basic components in order to maintain brand consistency:

  • Create a Template – You can personalize your base email template for each group, maintaining an overall layout that is consistent across all emails.

  • Display your Deets – Prominently locate your logo and phone number at the top of the email. Bonus points for a “Book Appointment” link. Add your address to the Footer of the email.

  • Call to Action – Encourage interaction with buttons – “Call Now”, “Contact Us”, or another form that captures information from your readers.

  • Follow us – Don’t forget to plug other forms of communications – include links to your social media platforms and your website.


  • Welcome Email – This email can provide an overview of what to expect at their appointment, reminders of any policies and procedures in place, and let them know what documents to bring to their first appointment.

  • Post-Appointment – follow up on their visit and reinforce any specific care plan details, confirm the next appointment, and ask for feedback! Include links for patients to easily leave a review.

  • Automated emails – Target patients with appointment confirmations, birthday wishes, and annual checkup reminders or take advantage of your segmented lists by providing educational content regarding pregnancy health, child-care or new-baby tips, surgical recovery and more. The opportunities are endless.


It is important to monitor the effectiveness of your emails so that you can ensure that your emails are not going unnoticed. From the frequency of emails to the time of day they are sent, there are numerous metrics that can be analyzed. Overall, though, there are four measurable elements that help you to understand the reach and impact of your emails.

  • Open Rate – Your open rate reflects the percentage of people who have opened your email. According to Constant Contact, the open rate for health and wellness emails hovers around 18%. Encourage patients to open your emails by creating an eye-catching Subject Line.

  • Click-Through Rate – Not to be confused with your open rate, a click-through rate measures the amount of those who open your email and then follow a link within the message, whether to additional content, social media, or other interactive buttons. This is effective in measuring engagement within the emails as patients read through the content.

  • Unsubscribe Rate – recognize when patients are no longer interested in your emails by monitoring your unsubscribe rate. Not always a cause for concern, this could be due to a move or following completion of a treatment plan. If your rate raises sharply, though, this is an indicator that you may want to revisit your strategy.

  • Bounce Rate – indicating undeliverable emails, bounce rates can be further categorized into permanent errors, such as an address that is no longer valid, or temporary, which can indicate a technical glitch or error within the email server. You can manually remove these addresses and flag their patient file to ask for updated information at their next visit.


Take advantage of emails to increase your patient education and engagement, but be respectful of your patient’s time. Send frequently enough to remain relevant, but don’t clutter up their inbox with multiple emails just for the sake of showing up in their inbox.

  • Newsletters – Creating a regularly distributed newsletter allows you to include holiday reminders and various healthcare topics, product and service launches, and other topics that are relevant to your patients.

  • Surveys and feedback – Asking for and implementing feedback increases the patient experience. Highlight actual reviews from patients in future newsletters or social media posts, just be sure to get permission before posting.

  • Promote your social media networks – different communication streams appeal to different demographic groups within your patient base. Let your patients know that you are active on various platforms and they can engage through multiple avenues.

Let Firefly Marketing help you to implement email strategies that will capture the attention of your patients. Let’s Talk!

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Looking for additional help?

For Federally Qualified Health Centers featuring a varied patient base, diversified strategies allow your center to thrive as it provides care to entire communities. You don’t have to do it alone! At Firefly Marketing, we offer a variety of strategies as your email marketing partner.

About the Author: Megan Wells

Digital Marketing Intern - As a recent graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University, Megan is excited to combine her love of social media and marketing and put her new skills to the test! Megan’s natural gift to care a lot about others’ experience with a product or service makes connection and collaboration easy. When she’s not spending quality time with her family and friends, she’s improving her overall knowledge of SEO & SEM to further aid clients and the Firefly Team!

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