A Wellness Pro’s Guide to Small Business Email Marketing

June 05, 2023

The wellness market is now valued at $1.5 trillion globally, and it’s growing 5 – 10% every year. Rising consumer interest in wellness offers growth opportunities for practitioners, but it also means the sector is getting more competitive. This makes now an opportune time to consider how your expertise and offerings can stand out in a noisy marketplace. 

Marketing tactics like building a social media presence, attending events, and securing partnerships are often top of mind for small business owners. But a targeted email marketing strategy can be extremely effective at providing a direct line of communication to a highly engaged audience. If you want to truly reap the rewards of email marketing for small business, you need to know how to successfully navigate the various regulations in play, craft the right content, segment your list, and measure metrics. 

Help is here. Keep reading to learn how you can create a robust email marketing strategy to amplify your reach, nurture client (and future-client) relationships, and drive meaningful growth for your business.

The Many Benefits of an Email Marketing Strategy 

When people follow you on social media or click on your digital ads you have to hope they stumble across your content and engage. Small business email marketing is the only tactic where a client or prospect explicitly invites you into their personal inbox. This offers some unique advantages: 

  • Relevance and relationship building. When clients and prospects opt-in to receive communications from you, they’re signaling interest and a willingness to engage with your brand. By tailoring your content and messaging to their specific needs you can deepen your connection and build trust. This not only helps you retain existing clients, it can be a powerful channel for finding new clients.
  • Direct communication. A laser-focused email marketing strategy gives you a direct line of communication with your audience. Social media accounts can get hacked or change their algorithms without notice, seriously impacting your organic reach. Since you own your email list, it’s a reliable way to reach your audience. The only person who can remove a contact from your list is the contact themselves if they choose to unsubscribe.
  • Conversion and revenue generation. Email marketing has a proven track record of driving conversions and generating revenue. In fact, the ROI is 38:1 for many brands (and jumps to 46:1 for brands that have the tools in place to measure it well). Focusing on what’s in it for your audience, sharing helpful information, and sharpening your copywriting skills can compel people to act on your special offers, signature programs, event invitations, and more.
  • Analytics and optimization. Email marketing provides valuable insights and analytics that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Keep reading to understand which metrics you can track and how they help you continually refine your small business email marketing strategy to get the best results.  
  • Cost effectiveness. We won’t go as far as saying email marketing is free – you still need reliable technology to send out your emails and there will always be a time investment involved. Email is definitely less costly than pouring money into digital ads and the ROI is far greater when you execute well. 

Looking to dig deeper into benefits? Check out the ultimate list of email marketing stats.

Navigating Email Marketing Compliance for Health and Wellness Professionals

You’ll want to continually grow your email list, but you can’t randomly add contact names to meet that objective. The proliferation of spam and concerns around privacy and data protection led to the rise of email regulations like CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) in the United States, CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation) in Canada, and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the European Union. You must practice email marketing compliance or the consequences can hit your bottom line hard. For example, the CAN-SPAM website states that “[e]ach separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $50,120.” 

On top of specific country regulations that apply to small business email marketing, you also need to factor in HIPAA compliance. For example, PHI (protected health information) should not be shared in emails unless certain safeguards are in place, such as encryption technology to secure the email content. Rest assured you can always securely send personal information through the Practice Better platform – including treatment details and other individually identifiable health-related information.

Here are a few tips to help you with email marketing compliance and adhering to HIPAA standards: 

  1. Get consent. Doing cold email marketing can get you into hot water. Before sending any emails, make sure all recipients have provided explicit consent to receive communications from you. Use a clear opt-in process that unambiguously states what types of information people will receive and how their data will be used. Maintain a record of consent for future reference.
  2. Provide clear opt-out options. Include an easy-to-spot unsubscribe mechanism in every email you send. Take care of unsubscribe requests quickly so recipients don’t experience the annoyance of getting emails they indicated they no longer wish to receive. If your email marketing platform offers the ability to include a quick survey, the unsubscribe step can be an opportunity to gather insights to make your small business email marketing even better.
Example of an email marketing opt out
Email marketing opt-out example. Source.
  1. Stay secure. Choose an email marketing provider that complies with industry standards and provides adequate security measures. Look for features like encryption, secure data storage, and secure transmission protocols (e.g., SSL or TLS). Ensure your chosen platform has appropriate safeguards in place to protect the privacy and security of the data.
  2. Implement HIPAA-compliant policies. Develop policies and procedures that align with HIPAA regulations. This includes having a privacy policy, security policies, and incident response plans in place. If you have staff who send emails on your behalf, make sure you train them on HIPAA requirements and that they understand their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding PHI.
  3. Keep accurate records and assess regularly. Maintain records of consent, preferences, and any changes to opt-in or opt-out status. Regularly review and update these records to respect recipients’ preferences and maintain email marketing compliance.

If you are unsure about any aspect of email marketing compliance, consider consulting legal and compliance experts who specialize in healthcare and email marketing. They can provide guidance specific to your business and make sure you’re meeting critical regulations and standards.

Delivering Value to Your Audience

Before you read any further, take a quick peek at your own email inbox. How many unread messages are sitting there? Do you get a constant stream of marketing emails from brands you don’t remember asking to hear from? How often do you delete an email without opening it just to clear out some clutter? 
People continually receive large volumes of new emails – more than 100 each day in professional settings. This makes it hard for your emails to stand out from the backlog, especially if the content sounds unremarkable. Here are some email marketing ideas to help you drive more opens, reads, and conversions. If you’re looking for further inspiration, you can also check out these email marketing examples.

  1. Spend time on your subject line.
    Every line of copy you write should have the goal of motivating your audience to read the next line, and that starts with your subject line. Imagine you’re selling a mindful eating program. Which subject line is more likely to pique curiosity? 

    ⛔️ Subject line A: New mindful eating group program – sign up today!

    ✅ Subject line B: [Name], rewire your emotional eating triggers

    In addition to keeping the email subject focused on the benefit to the reader, you can play with elements like personalization and even emojis to see if they lift open rates. Regardless of your approach, remember to keep subject lines short. The rule of thumb is less than 9 words and 60 characters. Most smartphones only display 5 or 6 words and 81% of people prefer to open emails on their smartphones
  2. Stay on point. 
    Email isn’t the place for a long-winded essay and you should always choose clear language over clever. If your subject line prompts an open then you need a compelling hook in your opening sentence to encourage someone to keep reading. Sharing an interesting stat, a fun analogy, or even your personal connection to the subject of your email can all be compelling hooks. 

    Let’s look at this component of email marketing design through the lens of an online positive self-talk coaching program.
Email Example
An example of an engaging email.
  1. Use your voice. 
    Email is an extension of your brand, so make sure you’re injecting your unique voice into your campaigns. People are inundated with emails, at work and in their personal lives. If you write an email they enjoy reading, they are more apt to open the next one when they see it’s from you.
  2. Include a clear call to action. 
    Don’t forget to tell your audience what you want them to do after reading your email. Always include a link to the next step, whether that be a survey, a blog post, or a landing page:
  • Your call to action should be straightforward and compelling, using active language. Avoid generic phrases like “click here” or passive statements. Put your audience in the narrative by including “your” or even “my.”

    ⛔️ Consider joining the next “Mindfulness in the Kitchen” workshop
    ✅ Yes! Save my spot in “Mindfulness in the Kitchen” workshop
  1. Test frequency and timing.
    People opt-in to your emails because they are interested in hearing from you, but it’s important to get the cadence right. Sending too many emails can lead to subscriber fatigue and increase the likelihood of unsubscribes or spam complaints. On the other hand, if you communicate too infrequently your subscribers may forget about your brand or lose interest, which can lead to decreased engagement with your emails.

    Every audience is unique, so it’s a best practice to test and tweak to find the frequency sweet spot for your list. 
  • You can run A/B tests putting one segment of your list into a certain frequency and another segment into a second frequency, keeping all other elements the same. 
  • Monitor your email engagement metrics – including open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates – to gauge the impact of your email frequency. 

    You can also test the timing of when you send out your emails. Experiment with sending emails at different times and days of the week to identify when your audience is most responsive. Regularly review your email analytics to identify patterns or trends regarding the best times for engagement. Look for trends in open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to determine the optimal timing for your emails. 

The Power of Segmented Email Lists

Rather than sending everybody on your email marketing list the exact same content every time, you can segment your list to tailor your emails to specific groups of people who share similar traits or interests. This increases the chances of engagement and conversion because you’re delivering more personalized and relevant content to your subscribers, which improves their experience. 

A whopping 89% of marketers don’t segment their lists and they are leaving money on the table as a result. Why? Because when someone receives an email that doesn’t feel relevant to them, they will delete or unsubscribe. Some will even report the email as spam, which can impact your future deliverability and, in extreme cases, raise flags around your compliance with anti-spam laws. 

Effective segmentation is fueled by reliable data, audience understanding, and delivering relevant, high-value content. Here are some segmentation tips to help you perform more targeted email marketing:

  1. Collect relevant information during the opt-in process or through subsequent interactions to segment your email list based on factors like demographics, preferences, and interests.
  2. Define the segmentation criteria that align with your business goals and the objectives of your email marketing strategies. For example, imagine a naturopathic doctor has built an online program focused on taking charge of perimenopause with nutrition and supplements. If she wants to promote the program via email it makes sense to target the segment of her email list that includes women between the ages of 40 and 55. 
  3. Once you’ve segmented your email list and determined the content that’s of highest interest to each segment, make sure you customize your messaging to address their individual preferences, needs, and pain points. In our example above, if you know that dealing with stubborn menopausal belly fat is a key pain point, then you can leverage that as the subject line hook to encourage more opens. 
  4. Segmenting should be a living, evolving activity. As your subscriber base grows, you may need to adjust your segmentation criteria to keep things relevant. Keep monitoring the performance of your segmented campaigns and don’t be afraid to test different segmentation strategies, content variations, and email designs to optimize your approach. 

Email List Segmentation in Action

Here are some ways a holistic nutritionist might segment her list for more targeted email marketing:

  • Health goals or interests, including digestive health, hormone balance, or immune support. By separating out primary health concerns, she can provide targeted advice, tips, and resources related to specific goals.
  • Dietary preferences, such as vegetarian, or gluten-free. This would allow her to provide recipes, meal plans, and nutrition tips that align with each group’s lifestyle.
  • Demographics, including age or life stage. This would allow her to tailor content to each segment’s unique nutritional needs and challenges, like men aged over 50 who are interested in naturally boosting prostate health, or women preparing for pregnancy who want to ensure they’re eating enough iron- and folate-rich foods.
  • Past behavior, such as course sign-ups or website visits. Segmenting her list this way can help with creating targeted offers and promotions for subscribers who have already shown interest in her programs or services.
  • Engagement level, such as how frequently the audience opens or clicks on emails, can help her identify subscribers who may need re-engagement campaigns or who are most likely to convert into a client.

Understanding the Key Email Marketing Metrics

Before you can effectively measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns, you need to get clear on the specific campaign objectives and email marketing Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. 

For example, imagine a practitioner is sending out a bi-weekly email that shares helpful everyday mindful living tips intended to engage existing clients and nurture prospects. Since this type of content is meant to be consumed natively in the email and typically doesn’t have a hard call to action click-through, he is probably most interested in open rates. 

Conversely, if this same practitioner is promoting a limited-time offer on a group coaching session that’s intended to drive sign-ups, he will be interested in both open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the various email marketing metrics and what they mean to you. 

Email Marketing KPIsWhat is it?Why does it matter?

Delivered email messages
This metric refers to the percentage of successfully delivered emails out of the total number of emails sent. Note that a successful delivery is not the same as an open. It simply represents the portion of emails that reached the recipients’ email servers without being bounced or rejected. 

Here are two tips for increasing email deliverability: 

1. Ask for a double opt-in. Essentially, the subscriber verifies that they want to receive emails from your business. This adds an extra layer of intent to the subscription. 

2. When you send your welcome email after sign up, ask the recipient to add your email address to their trusted address book. This can help keep your emails out of spam folders and in front of more eyeballs. 
This metric helps you understand the overall health and quality of your email list. 

– A high number of bounced or undelivered emails can indicate invalid or inactive email addresses. 
– Sudden changes in deliverability rates may indicate that email filtering has changed or spam complaints are on the rise. 
Open ratesThis metric indicates the percentage of recipients who opened an email compared to the total number of emails sent. 

Note that open rates provide more of a snapshot than an entire picture. It’s important to combine open rates with additional metrics like click-through rates (CTR) and conversions.

You can’t tell whether the recipient has read the entire email or taken action. For example, if your email isn’t optimized for mobile, a recipient might open it but will likely immediately delete it without reading. 

Other factors can influence open rate accuracy – like preview panes and features like the Mail Privacy Protection that Apple introduced to disable open rate tracking.
Open rates can provide insights into how engaged your audience is with your emails. A higher percentage would suggest that your subject lines are compelling enough to warrant an open. 

Tracking open rates across your segments can also help you identify which are most interested in the content you are sending them. 

According to email marketing platform, Constant Contact, the average open rate for their customers in Health and Wellness is 34.87%. While this can provide you with an idea of what others are achieving across the industry, it’s more useful to benchmark your own open rates over time to ensure they are moving in the right direction.
Click rate
Click rate measures the percentage of recipients who clicked on any link in the email.
It indicates how engaging the content of your email is and provides clues as to what specific topics interest your audience enough to take action.
Click-through rate (CTR)CTR measures the percentage of recipients who clicked on the main call to action.It shows the effectiveness of your email in driving recipients to take the desired action. 
Conversion rateConversion rate measures the percentage of recipients who actually complete the desired action after the click-through.

It’s generated by calculating the number of recipients who clicked on the main CTA and the number who completed the intended action, or converted on the offer. Dividing the number of conversions by the total number of clicks gives you conversion rate as a percentage.
It helps you assess the success of your email campaigns in getting recipients to take the next step in their journey and convert into subscribers, clients, or leads. 

By tracking conversion rate you can better understand your email marketing ROI.
Unsubscribe rateThis metric measures the percentage of recipients who have chosen to opt out of receiving future emails from you. 

It’s important to note that unsubscribes are an inevitable part of email campaigns and they help you maintain good list hygiene. By allowing people to opt out of receiving your content, you not only comply with regulations, you improve list hygiene and ensure you’re only sending emails to an engaged and interested audience.
It indicates dissatisfaction with your content and can be a valuable metric for helping you optimize your email content strategy to better meet audience expectations.

Enhancing Small Business Email Marketing with Practice Management Software

The right practice management software can be a helpful tool for enhancing your small business email marketing. While it’s not a replacement for email marketing software, Practice Better does offer reliable built-in tools to help you execute on your marketing and communication priorities: 

  • Email-only programs – You can run email-only programs by creating a Fixed-date or Evergreen program and using email-only modules in Practice Better.
  • Broadcast messages – Sometimes you need to convey alerts and updates to a group of your contacts. For example, you might need to let all clients know about portal log-in interruptions or tell participants in a group program about an unexpected need to reschedule their session. While not intended for mass email marketing, broadcast message functionality built into the Practice Better platform gives you a simple way to send direct chat messages, emails, or both.
  • Integrating SMS or text messaging – The convenience of SMS or text messaging makes it an increasingly popular way for small businesses to confirm appointment times with clients. Depending on which provider you adopt, you can integrate it into Practice Better through Zapier.

Supercharge Your Email Marketing Strategies

Honing your marketing email strategy can be an effective way to gain new clients and build long-term client relationships. Consistently delivering relevant content to well-targeted segments and measuring the results is a proven strategy for success. The best part? An unexpected algorithm shift will never wipe out your owned email list. In fact, if you follow the tips in this article to optimize all types of email marketing campaigns, your list of engaged, opted-in subscribers should grow and flourish right alongside your brand authority. 


Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.

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