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What Every Healthcare Marketer Needs to Know About Email

Nov 15, 2022

This article was written by Jessica Levco, a freelance healthcare writer who covered the 26th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) for Greystone.Net. image of HCIC22 logo

In his keynote presentation, Jay Schwedelson, founder of, wanted attendees at the 26th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference to know that email isn’t boring — and it still matters — because everybody uses email. And to get people to read your email, you’ve got to write a captivating subject line.

“I want to leave everyone with new ideas that they can test,” Schwedelson says. “The littlest things make the biggest impact. That’s how you do email performance — you test the little things.”

The first email that you send is the most important email that you will ever send. Getting that first email opened by a new recipient will increase the likelihood of staying in that person’s inbox by 85%, Schwedelson says.

When you get someone’s email address, skip sending out the “thank you” or “welcome” email.

“Nobody cares,” Schwedelson says. “Nobody opens it up. As marketers, we view this as transactional — that this is what we have to do. But this a robotic way of marketing and it doesn’t work.”

De-bunk email myths

Ten or fifteen years ago, you might’ve had to avoid things like:

  • The word “free”
  • Exclamation points
  • Dollar signs
  • Brackets
  • Numbers
  • Emojis

“But that’s not true anymore,” Schwedelson says. “Need evidence? Look at your inbox and see how many email marketers use these things. These emails are not going into your spam.”

Are you asking good questions?

A subject line with a question increases the open rate by 38%, Schwedelson says. Here are a few examples:

  • How much sugar should my child consume?
  • How many steps should I take today?
  • How was your experience at the doctor’s office?

The message here is simple: Take any content you’re promoting and turn it into a question.

Know the sender

Your subject line matters, but so does the person or organization sending it. Think about how Apple does it. You might be getting emails from:

  • Apple Card
  • Apple Fitness+
  • Apple TV
  • Apple News
  • Apple Music

See how you can make the sender more specific, by doing something like:

  • Dr. Robert Stern
  • Stern Medical
  • Stern Medical TIPS

Craft a better CTA

“There’s nothing worse than a ‘Submit’ button,” Schwedelson says. “Submit to what? Your CTA needs a specific CTA. ‘Sign up,’ ‘Start your free trial,’ — be as close to the offer as possible.”

5 other quick tricks to try

  • A number in the subject line is like catnip for readers.
  • Use brackets or colons.
  • Emojis can catch a reader’s attention (clocks, calendars, hearts and hourglasses are the most popular).
  • 80% of emails are sent on the hour. Send yours a few minutes later to stand out in the crowd.
  • Put a P.S. at the end of the email.

Did you attend HCIC22? If so, the slides for Jay Schwedelson’s presentation are available to you in the conference app!

  • Jay Schwedelson
  • email marketing
  • marketing strategy