Category Archives: Healthcare

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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Four tips for effective email marketing in the health sector

Four tips for effective email marketing in the health sector

Now that the online health care marketplace has opened, clinics and other care providers may be increasingly drawn to reaching current and prospective patients on digital and mobile platforms – and assembling an email marketing list can be an excellent starting point.

However, once you have your list, you'll need to know how to most effectively speak to your patients' concerns, and the principles of good marketing in the health sector differ in many key ways from other industries. These four tips can help you make sure you stay on track and on message for your email contacts.

Avoid over-promotion
Promotional messages are the name of the game in most forms of email marketing: Your content reaches consumers, draws them, presents a compelling offer and specifies how they can take advantage of it.

However, that's not the case in the health sector, where promotions may be viewed with some suspicion. EContent recently recommended that marketers in the field who write email or other online content take a tone of authority rather than salesmanship. The effect of this strategy, the news source suggested, is that it helps patients view your content as a source of respected, trustworthy information, and those are key characteristics people look for when choosing a health care provider.

Empathize
An empathetic tone that helps patients believe you understand their point of view can be highly effective, Medical News of Arkansas suggested. 

"In the past, communication may have been more image-oriented; now there's a lot more specific messaging and more specific dialog that the consumer is looking for," Chip Culpepper of medical communcations agency Mangan Holcomb told the news source.

Consider ways in which your emails can speak to patients' concerns. EContent pointed out that one way to make your content seem more personal to recipients is to include positive stories of other patients' recoveries.

Make sure your emails reinforce your brand
Branding may be an unusual term in marketing for care providers, but ensuring that the goals and character of your organization are clearly articulated to consumers is just as essential in the health field as it is elsewhere.

"The best messaging, best campaigns we've ever created have had at their core a deep understanding of who the organization is at its heart," Culpepper told Medical News of Arkansas.

Reinforcing your brand also means setting yourself apart from competitors. The news source also spoke with EXIT Marketing's Shawn Solloway, who insisted that marketers should be able to identify in precise terms the unique strengths of their organization so that their emails and other content effectively communicate why patients should choose their services.

Research and utilize the latest technology
Companies are releasing highly sophisticated tools to benefit email marketers all the time, and these technologies can provide marketers in the health field with detailed data about contacts on their targeted email list.

In a post on the official Fathom blog, Paul Richlovsky noted the benefits tools like email automation can offer health firms.

"Imagine being able to segment with exact precision (e.g., women over 50 who live in Cuyahoga County who have attended one of your health fairs in the last year) and then set up delivery of messages that apply to this specific audience once they click on a link in your standard health newsletters," he wrote.

Richlovsky also noted that automation tools streamline the process of creating email content on the marketer's end by providing collaborative solutions in which individuals can easily approve or disapprove of a drafted message, whether across departments or between the organization and an agency.

Sometimes, though, it's OK to get old-fashioned: The Washington Post reported that the 4.7 million unique users who visited Healthcare.gov in its first 24 hours of existence were directed there primarily through email blasts organized the firm GovDelivery.

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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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