How to Create an Email Newsletter: Healthcare Facility Guide

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Written by Kayla Tyson Editor, B2C Content, IntelyCare
Image of Rob Schipul, VP of Lifecycle Experiences at IntelyCare
Reviewed by Rob Schipul Vice President, Lifecycle Experiences, IntelyCare
A nurse at her computer, figuring out how to create a newsletter for her facility.

Healthcare organizations are dedicated to empowering communities with the resources necessary to live happy and healthy lives. As part of this mission, facilities work to nurture relationships with past and prospective patients as they make decisions about their ongoing health needs. Learning how to create an email newsletter can help healthcare companies foster these relationships while:

  • Improving patient engagement.
  • Spreading awareness of healthcare offerings.
  • Advertising new services.
  • Building community and expanding their audience.
  • Establishing brand credibility.

In this article, we discuss how to create an email newsletter and share some key factors to consider during the planning process.

Creating an Email Newsletter Strategy

There’s a lot to consider when starting a new healthcare advertising strategy, especially when you’re looking to earn patient trust. While some individuals believe that email newsletters are obsolete in the age of social media, these advertising tools still allow organizations to consistently deliver tailored content right to email subscribers’ inboxes — something social media sites aren’t able to do.

With an appealing name and content that feels valuable to users, your newsletter can stand out from the rest of the inbox noise. It’s worth the time to craft engaging subject lines and to test how well they perform, along with the other elements of your newsletter.

When you master the art of providing value to patients wherever they are on their health journey — without sounding pushy or salesy — you’re met with loyal clients who are eager to learn more about your products and services. Use the following questions as a guide as you formulate your newsletter plan.

Why Are You Creating a Newsletter?

The first step to creating a newsletter is to clearly define your organizational goals. Ideally, the newsletter should be part of a larger marketing plan. While you’re brainstorming how to create an email newsletter, discuss these questions with your team:

  • What do you hope to accomplish with the newsletter?
  • Do you want to grow a larger audience, promote new services,or build brand awareness?
  • How does the newsletter fit into your organization’s broader marketing strategy?

Here’s an example of defining your organization’s goals prior to launching an email marketing campaign:

Your organization wants to get the word out about its new senior wellness center, which features aquatics training, group fitness, and free educational classes. Your team chooses to create a newsletter with rotating themes to guide content topics (like promoting heart health in February for American Heart Month). You strategically advertise to individuals who’d benefit from the wellness center services, such as graduates of the hospital’s cardiac rehab program.

Who Will Receive the Newsletter?

Next, you’ll need to compile a list of email addresses that will receive the newsletter. This is often referred to as a mailing list database — an organized digital file containing all contacts. Asking yourself these questions can help you create your mailing list:

  • Where does your facility keep their patient email addresses?
  • Do you need to convert any physical files into digital form?
  • How can you best organize the emails in your database into subcategories?

You can build a mailing list database using email addresses from patients who have previously shared their contact details with your organization. You can grab the interest of new health consumers by giving them an opportunity to opt-in to an email newsletter somewhere on your website. Here are some ideas for items you can share in exchange for their email:

  • A health quiz
  • Access to a study or article
  • A coupon for a free meal at the hospital cafeteria

Reminder: Federal laws, including the CAN-SPAM Act, provide specific restrictions for commercial emails, with potentially costly penalties. It’s important to understand the legal compliance requirements, such as the need to offer the option to opt out of communications, before you launch your first newsletter campaign.

What Will the Newsletter Include?

One of the most important aspects of learning how to create a newsletter is determining what content you plan to focus on in your newsletter. Consider the overall goals and your intended audience, and determine what information would most likely be useful and compelling to them. It may be helpful to review email newsletter templates to see what types of newsletters would best meet your organization’s needs. As you do, use these questions as a resource:

  • What specific audience(s) are you targeting with your messaging?
  • What information would you like them to know?
  • What call to action (CTA) will you include so readers can take next steps?

The tone and style of your newsletter should be consistent with the educational material your organization provides. If you aim for a sixth-grade reading level in printed or digital patient education, do the same in the newsletter. Keep your readers engaged by choosing informative topics while avoiding complicated clinical language. Here are more tips for topics to include in a newsletter:

  • Patient success stories
  • A staff member or provider-of-the-month feature
  • Quotes from providers to support health information
  • Practical examples of health and wellness tips, like healthy recipes and easy exercise plans
  • Your organization’s latest victories, including research breakthroughs and award designations

Here’s an example of how to create an email newsletter based on patient-centered goals:

A hospital sets a goal of decreasing readmissions for chronic lung disease patients. The newsletter team centers the November issue around Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. Readers get education on the prevention, detection, and treatment of COPD and hear from a tracheostomy patient who was successfully weaned off oxygen. Thanks to a strategically placed call-to-action in the newsletter, there’s an increase in attendance to the hospital’s smoking cessation program the following month.

When Will You Send the Newsletter?

You’ll then want to choose the frequency of your newsletters. It’s a good idea to set a consistent schedule to build your brand’s reliability and get the word out. Make sure to communicate the schedule with your team to provide ample time for each part of the newsletter to be completed. These considerations can guide you as you plan:

  • What bandwidth does your team have to create the newsletter?
  • What newsletter frequency would match the amount of content you have to share?
  • Who will be responsible for managing the newsletter schedule?

As your newsletter program develops, you can also get a better idea of when your audience typically opens the newsletter and then to structure the timing and frequency of your newsletters based on that. There are some newsletter platforms that will collect and present this data for you so you can better optimize your email outreach efforts.

How to Create a Newsletter Online With Different Platforms

Once you’ve determined your messaging, sorted out your email list, and decided on frequency, you’re ready to start building your newsletter. There are several online newsletter programs for creating and distributing professional publications online.

Many email marketing platforms offer newsletter templates to help you get started. From there, you can leverage automation to engage and grow your audience by letting a platform send the newsletter for you. Here you can learn how to create an email newsletter using some of the top budget-friendly platforms:

Google Docs Photoshop Canva
1. Navigate to Google Drive and select “New.”

2. In the Google Doc dropdown, click “From a template” and select a newsletter option.

3. Add customization to the template.

4. Download the finished newsletter in your preferred format (PDF, web page, etc.).

1. Open a blank document or choose an established newsletter template.

2. Customize the content to your organization’s needs.

3. Save and download your completed newsletter in a variety of formats.

4. Edit and revise as needed.

1. Create a Canva account.

2. Search for “Newsletter” in the template library.

3. Select a template that best aligns with your branding and customize your design.

4. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen and select “Share.”

Additional Design Resources and Templates

If you’re having a tough time creating an original email newsletter, these companies have templates and services you can utilize to speed up the design process:

  • Mailchimp — AI assisted email newsletter design
  • Constant Contact — Specializes in mobile-friendly designs
  • Campaign Monitor — Offers easy drag-and-drop templates
  • Email Octopus — Provides support throughout the design process
  • Cakemail — Select from over 75 email newsletter templates, organized by industry

How to Create a Newsletter in 5 Steps

Now that you’ve selected a platform to design your newsletter, it’s time to strategize on how it will reach your intended readers. Follow the tips below to plan, execute, and measure the success of a newsletter as part of your healthcare marketing campaign.

1. Create an Email Subscription Form

Before sending out a newsletter, your organization should have an email list database with potential readers. If it’s not a huge list to start, that’s okay. Many email marketing tools do the hard work for you by automatically building lists as people share their email addresses.

2. Create a Newsletter Campaign

The next step is strategizing what happens after you collect someone’s email address. Decide the frequency, timing, and recipients of the newsletter — and how you’ll use automation to make it happen.

Newsletters can be incorporated into email marketing campaigns, or a series of emails sent after a subscriber signs up. An email campaign sequence typically starts with a welcome email followed by other informative or promotional content. It’s up to your team to decide how often you’d like to show up in a reader’s inbox — whether it’s one, three, or five times a week is up to you.

3. Compile Your Newsletter

By now, you should have an outline of your newsletter content. Sticking to a central theme will help the content flow and keep the reader engaged. If you find it challenging to create original work, you can recycle content from your other online resources like blogs and research articles. When the content is ready, compile everything into a visually appealing newsletter design from your desired platform.

4. Send Your Newsletter

Before sending your newsletter out, use your email marketing software to send a test email to yourself or another team member. This is a quick way to check for broken links, typos, or other errors. Once everything looks clean and ready to publish, send the newsletter to your recipients. Don’t forget to provide an “unsubscribe” option for those who’d like to opt-out.

5. Measure Success

A newsletter can drive traffic to your organization’s website, blogs, or other online content. Tracking analytics helps you see how engaged your readers are with the information you’re sharing. It can also help you modify your approach to bring more consumers to your site.

You can check how well the newsletter is performing by looking at these key performance indicators.

Performance Indicator Definition
Bounce Rate The number of emails that are rejected by a recipient’s server
Click-Through Rates The percentage of links people clicked on compared to the number you embedded throughout the newsletter
Deliverability The number of delivered emails divided by the total number of emails sent
Open Rates How many people are opening your newsletter compared to how many are sent out
Unsubscribes How many people no longer wish to be on your email list

Want to Learn More About Healthcare Marketing?

Engaging patients in online content is a strategic way for healthcare organizations to build trust and awareness. Now that you’ve learned how to create an email newsletter, you can subscribe to our own free newsletter for more tips on how to support your community and improve patient engagement.

IntelyCare writer Danielle Roques, BSN, RN, contributed to the writing and research for this article.

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