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How to write an effective nursing recruitment email

BY: Elise Oberliesen on February 14, 2018

Reaching top talent to fill nursing positions may seem like a daunting process — especially with all the choices in technology — from mobile apps to recruiting platforms to social media channels.

So, how do you decide what works best to find the right nursing candidates? With the right tactics, nursing recruitment email can add strong return on investment to your efforts — according to data analysis from the Nurse.com marketing team.

Maybe you think email is dead. Think again. About 86% of professionals use email for business communications states a report from HubSpot, an inbound marketing software developer. And by the year 2021, email use is expected to exceed 4 billion users worldwide, according to a 2017 report from the Radicati Group, a Palo-Alto California-based technology market research firm.

No doubt. Many people receive far too much email — and have a love-hate relationship with their inbox. Unless the email offers an enticing job opportunity — with a juicy hook.

nursing recruitment email

Devote time to the subject line

Robyn Herian Tran, marketing manager for advertising solutions at Nurse.com, says if you want job candidates to open more recruiting emails, it’s important to craft the subject line with strong attention-getters. Words like “sign-on bonus” or “loan forgiveness” usually get the job done.

“Also, ‘relocation bonus’ is great to mention in the subject line and [words like] ‘hiring events’ tend to get higher open rates,” Herian Tran says.

Brevity is your friend with subject lines. Don’t assume everyone reads email from a laptop or desktop.

“Keep your subject line short, less than 50 characters, so they are not truncated on a mobile device,” Herian Tran says. After she reviewed Nurse.com trend data, Herian Tran discovered the highest open rates with subject lines were less than 50 characters.

She also noted that subject lines with action verbs perform better and prompt action from readers. “Subject lines with verbs had higher open rates in 2017, among our clients,” she said.

She suggests using words like “join,” “earn,” “advance” and “expand.” Avoid cramming too much information in the subject line — a focused message is key, she suggests. Think of feeding the reader little bites of information to draw them in word by word.

Targeted messaging attracts better candidates

To fill nursing positions with top talent, first you have to attract the right nurses to your organization. And because the healthcare job market is highly competitive, it might seem like you are searching for a needle in the haystack.

When you’re looking for candidates with specific skills and experience, like caring for cardiac, ICU or hospice patients and having the related pharmaceutical knowledge, it’s crucial that nursing recruitment emails use targeted messaging, says Adia Noel, director of product management and marketing for advertising solutions at Nurse.com.

This approach helps you find nurses in those specialties. “Make sure the [email] content is relevant to the audience you want,” she adds.

Keep in mind, the goal of the email is reader engagement, which translates into nursing candidates reading and applying for the job, says Noel. In marketing terms, that’s called conversion. Plus, relevant email arrives in their inbox rather than the dreaded spam folder, she adds.

To keep content relevant it’s important to mention whether the position requires RN or LPN credentials, for example. Also include the nursing specialty, such as OBGYN or med/surg, location and required education, Noel says. If the hospital or school is known for state-of-the-art equipment or additional perks, like learning opportunities or paid education and loan forgiveness, it adds more relevance and interest.

Call to action placement matters

Apply now. That’s a simple example of a call to action. Writing a compelling call to action helps increase the conversion rate, as in more clicks. Creating a sense of urgency is critical in the call to action, says Herian Tran. Words like “now,” “hurry” and “expires” help drive more urgency.

Location is not just a highly coveted tactic for selling real estate. Placement of a call to action matters more than you might think. Annie Hsieh, digital marketing manager with Nurse.com, says a big mistake she sees is when the call to action is buried in the copy of the email.

“The call to action needs to be placed above the fold, especially for mobile users,” Hsieh says.

That means keeping at least one call to action at the top. Since readers are short on time and attention span, they may never get past the fold — so keep calls to action high up. You can add calls to action in other locations, she says, but always keep one up high.

Hsieh also suggests making all the images linkable – that way readers can easily navigate back to a landing page, job description page or where to apply. Also, double check that all links work properly. Broken links are all too common. Check tags for accuracy and relevance.

TIP: If you write a lead in prior to a call to action, Herian Tran suggests summing up the most appealing point of the email to help draw the reader in, which helps with conversion or click-ability.

Segment the audience to optimize targeting

Send the right message to the right person because it’s no longer acceptable to blast everyone with the same email, Hsieh says. Instead, create email lists based on nurse specialty, location and education level, she says.

For example, with customized email lists, it allows you to send emails to specific specialties, like critical care nurses who are more likely to apply for ICU positions, says Noel.  It will require sending more emails, but it will have a bigger impact on the reader.

AB testing is your friend

Not sure which message to emphasize in the nursing recruiting email? Or maybe several calls to action offer strong potential. AB testing helps you decide which message delivers better results for a particular audience, says Herian Tran.

Here’s how it works. Take a small segment of the audience, and send out one message to group A, and the other message to group B. Then measure the results to determine which message performed better.

Group A may show more open rates or clicks on call to action buttons. Whichever message works better should be sent to the remaining audience, Herian Tran says.

“You can just send it out to 10%, or some other percentage of the audience,” Herian Tran says. “With AB testing you can test subject lines, content and the creative [photos] to determine what works for you.”

She suggests continual testing because audience responses constantly change. Even if it works well today, there’s no guarantee it will work tomorrow.

Design enhances mobile readability

Since more people read email from their mobile devices, the content must be spot on, aesthetically. “Make sure the words are in the same font or same font family,” says Hsieh.

She suggests a font size around 14 or 16 for body text; increase the size for titles and callouts.  Reserve about 40 points on each side of the screen for white space. It creates an indented look on the screen which makes it easier to read, Hsieh says.

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Elise Oberliesen

Elise Oberliesen has 15 years of combined media and marketing experience. Her work appears on corporate blogs and publications, such as the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and AARP. Her specialties include healthcare, high tech and finance. Elise is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists and founder of Big Mountain Media.