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How doctors can create email marketing engagement

How doctors can create email marketing engagement

It's taken the health sector a while to to catch up other fields in terms of what technology it uses to keep in touch with patients, but that's now begun to change: Health care is going digital. The advent of electronic medical records, which have seen an impressive rate of adoption over the past year or two, is reshaping the way doctors and hospital administrators manage their facilities – and how they interact with patients.

Electronic health record technology gives doctors a wider set of tools by which they can market their services to patients. Many of the new software solutions have secure digital messaging built into their design, so it's easy to communicate with patients electronically about personal health matters or to send them messages of universal interest – a change in hours over the holidays, or a reminder about the importance of flu shots during the colder months. As such, your patient database can easily become an email marketing list.

Establish regular contact
Since many doctors still communicate primarily via phone calls and postal mail, your patients may not be used to receiving email from you. It's important that you get them comfortable before you use email to market to them. Be sure to establish email as a convenient way you can provide patients information relevant to their health.

Josic Media recently suggested that allowing patients to respond to your digital messages is a great way to foster trust and ultimately make marketing via email more effective.

"If you build a two-way communication with them, you'll get better results for your promotion," the source wrote.

Become an authority
When it comes to health care marketing, however, your patients' ability to contact you through email isn't the only component necessary to build trust. You'll also need to establish yourself as a reliable source of authoritative information about health-related issues.

Doctors can move toward this goal by linking their emails to a blog curated by themselves or their staff members. In a post for Business2Community, marketing and technology expert Zsolt Bicskey pointed out that blogs are essential for increasing the authoritative tone of marketing efforts, and doctors can promote blog content through a variety of channels.

"You can write a blog, share it through social media and even have it hosted on a broader health care website," Bicskey wrote.

Furthermore, Josic Media noted that physicians can use email to send patients relevant health tips and advice. 

The more engagement you create among your patients, the better results you can expect from your marketing efforts.

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Begin to build more effective email communications by putting the patient first.

Healthcare marketing is all about the personal touch

Healthcare marketing is a difficult field with an exceedingly large amount of important information to be communicated, which, if done incorrectly, can have legal and even medical repercussions. For this reason, many in the sector choose to utilize business email to reach potential patients and leads, as it can offers a space in which medical instructions and full explanations can be offered and consumed at the leisure of the recipient.

Make it personal – and informative      
As healthcare providers know, their field is a deeply personal one. Their products and services can help ease pain, allow people to live fuller lives and sometimes even be the difference between life and death. But how can professionals in the sector communicate this to targeted email lists?

A recent article from Modern Healthcare urged marketers in the field to make an emotional connection, such as including links to videos and social media where patients are telling their stories and connecting with other people. This not only gets a healthcare organization's name out there, it shows potential patients how much a provider really cares about each and every person who walks through its doors. 

"Invite conversation and respond to it," Kim Fox, vice president of healthcare marketing firm Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, explained to the news source. "It's word-of-mouth marketing in a brand new way, using a different kind of tool, and a tool that you can monitor and engage in."

Investment in the channel is increasing          
For the past few years, healthcare organizations have been shifting where they invest their marketing dollars, moving away from traditional media and into new online sources. In fact, citing data from Kantar Media, the news source reports that spending on television ads in the sector fell by 7 percent from $395.3 million to $369.3 million, whereas investments in online media rose by 20 percent to $57.2 million between 2008 and 2009.

However, there is still a lot of room to grow. Recent research from MarketingProfs identified three ways healthcare marketing professionals can begin to revamp their engagement approaches, and they're quite easy: listen, participate and learn. The three steps are about breaking out of a traditional consumer-mindset to begin to build a more personal relationship with patients. Using these three very simple ideas, the source asserted that healthcare organizations can begin to tailor their messages to their patien‚Äčts.

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