Category Archives: Marketing/Communications

Doctors can help email marketing campaigns succeed.

Doctor involvement can spur greater success with healthcare email marketing lists

For members of the healthcare industry, email contact lists present both a golden opportunity and a challenge. While the marketing medium allows doctors and hospitals to stay in closer contact with patients and build deeper relationships, who recipients actually want to hear from within this sector is limited.

Cross-channel marketing can better connect doctors with patients          
In a recent article for Med City News, Deanna Pogoreic contended that patients do now want to build relationships with hospitals or provider networks. What they desire is greater communication with their physicians, i.e. the individual directly providing them health services. Yet doctors are not eager to involve themselves in institutions' marketing and email campaigns.

So what can marketers do to integrate doctors' voice into cross-channel marketing efforts? According to Dr. Russell Faust, a strategy healthcare consultant for Annica Media, the first thing to do is understand physicians' hesitations, the news source explained. A survey the company did last year found that doctors' biggest fears of utilizing such marketing campaigns are related to committing unknown violations or spurring negative reputations.

There are a few simple ways institutions can help assuage these worries, Faust explained to Med City News. For example, enabling physicians to create educational content for patients allows them to tap into a vocational urge to teach. Doctors can shape email content around commonly-asked questions or illnesses they are seeing more frequently.

Additionally, since physicians maintain very busy schedules with many stressful, competing demands, the easier it is for them to write up a message and send it out, the more likely they will engage with these marketing tools to great effect. Marketing departments can help doctors by setting up the simple things, such as writing bios and creating templates.

Finally, doctors like to see results. Tracking click-rates and open-rates can engage them.

"Physicians aren't afraid of data," Faust told the news source. "Show them your analytics."

Doctor-curated content can cut costs                    
As many healthcare organizations are reporting budget constraints, homegrown marketing can help them cut costs and save money, Healthcare Marketing Matters explained. Content created by doctors allows institutions to have a continuous conversation with healthcare consumers to collect more data on their preferences, choices and desires, which can ultimately help shape content and serv​ice moving forward. 

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Marketers devise new ways to stay relevant among Gmail changes.

Marketers strategize how to overcome Gmail tabs challenge

When Gmail introduced its new tabbed interface, relegating most business emails and marketing messages to a location called "Promotions" rather than "Primary," marketing professionals were up in arms. The advertising industry was convinced that with the change, marketing messages would never be seen by consumers, who would be more likely to dismiss the Promotions tab as a folder of spam.

Fortunately, recent studies have shown that the situation may not be as dire as marketers and organizations initially feared. An analysis by Return Path found that the most engaged users read nearly 59 percent of email promotions before the switch, and following the change, the percentage of marketing emails being read actually increased by nearly 2 percent. However, this didn't keep those in the industry from taking action against the tabbed interface.

Major organizations, marketers aren't waiting around                       
While studies such as ReturnPath's offer the marketing industry some hope for one of the most effective advertising channels at its disposal, experts assert that the true test of how promotional messages will fare in the new Gmail structure will come during the holiday season. As a result, some companies are already laying the groundwork to move from "Promotions" to "Primary."

For example, DVD rental company Redbox sent emails to all of its members and customers informing them that the new setup could mean they miss time-sensitive offers and deals from the company, and to avoid this from happening, all they need to do is drag the firm's communications into the Primary tab, InformationWeek reported. This approach may backfire, though. 

"Sending an email instructing readers how to move an email from the Promotion tab could be more annoying than helpful at this point," Jill Bastian, community education and training manager at Vertical Response, told the news source in an email. "I'm a Gmail user and I can't tell you how many emails I've been sent on how to do this. At this point, they just annoy me."

As an alternative, Bastian suggested that email marketers monitor their Gmail open rates, and if there happens to be a drop-off, only then should they send requests out to their email distribution lists. In this way, organizations can avoid annoying recipients with potentially unnecessary messages and instead focus on developing custom, engaging content that will drive loyalty and benefit their bottom lines. 

Mobile devices are becoming a common email channel.

Boost business email success with mobile optimization

While email marketing lists continue to be critical tools for businesses looking to reach new clients and customers, the way in which these communications are being accessed is changing alongside technology.

More than ever, research is underscoring the importance of optimizing email marketing messages for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.

Mobile is a key touchpoint for consumers        
According to a new study from Yesmail Interactive, nearly half of all marketing emails are opened and read via mobile devices, despite a marked preference for using laptops and PCs to read promotional messages.

This lack of active engagement with mobile manifests itself through click rates. On a mobile device, 11 percent of recipients click on a message after opening it, compared to 23 percent when using a desktop computer, the study revealed.

However, these rates do fluctuate by industry, with consumer services – those businesses that provide a service but not a good, such as Groupon or OpenTable - seeing the highest mobile click-to-open rate at 19 percent, while financial services brought up the rear with 2 percent.

"The discrepancy between click-to-open rates means many consumers are disregarding mobile emails," said Michael Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive. "Brands need to implement mobile-first strategies that rely on responsive design, customized content and easily clickable calls to action. Otherwise, their messages will be deleted or go unread."

These findings cannot be ignored, despite the devices showing lower engagement. The number of consumers exclusively reading their emails via mobile device stands at 30 percent, while 61 percent of consumers consider these communications on their mobiles at least some of the time.

It's a very small screen    
When marketers begin to investigate how to optimize dynamic email communications for mobile devices, one of the most important considerations they will need to keep in mind is the size of the screen, which allows for less content and more dynamic calls to action.

Research from Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey found 75 percent of consumers said they are "highly likely" to delete business emails if they don't load correctly on their smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices.

For companies that cater to a younger target audience, leveraging mobile devices will be key, especially as the study found 88 percent of millen​nials open email via mobile devices.

Event planners consider email to be the "workhorse tactic" of their marketing efforts.

Events industry sees utility of email marketing

The events industry is no novice when it comes to marketing. Professionals understand the importance of targeted email lists for reaching individuals and convincing them of the value of attending.

This was underscored by a recent report, "Digital Playbook," which outlines how digital marketing strategies such as business emails help event enterprises save money while furthering their strategic growth plans, BtoB Online reported. In fact, of 480 events organizers and marketers, more than two-thirds indicated that they maintain a digital strategy, attributing a greater share of their revenue to digital tactics than those who did said they do not utilize a digital plan.

"You can't cut your way to growth," David Rich, senior vice president of strategy and planning at George P. Johnson Experience Marketing (GPJ), said. "It's great to use digital to contain costs, but on top of that we have to ensure that we're using digital to reach more people, to stay connected and engage more deeply, to provoke people to speak positively and become advocates."

Furthermore, the success experienced by those who implemented a digital strategy has underscored the importance and utility of digital marketing channels. Approximately 56 percent of respondents said they are shifting from traditional, paper-based tactics to a more digital focus.

Email marketing, in particular, was pointed out in the survey for its "workhorse tactic." Around 70 percent of brand marketers and event organizers cited it as a top revenue generator, especially when used in combination with other channels.

For event marketers who invest in quality email databases, they may be able to make email work even harder for them, using a strategic, big-picture approach to ensure their event listings and information reach the correct respondents and sponsors to guarantee a successful event.

If a business' email messages aren't optimized for mobile, they risk being deleted unseen.

Neglecting mobile email optimization could hurt business

As if businesses didn’t have enough reasons to use their email marketing lists to reach consumers on both mobile devices and PCs, new research indicates that failure to optimize messages for smartphones and tablets could have a detrimental effect on open rates and potential revenue.

Recent research from Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey found that 75 percent of consumers are “highly likely” to delete emails that do not correctly open on their mobile devices, and 80 percent believe it is “extremely important” to be able to read emails via this medium. This finding isn’t terribly surprising considering the widespread use of smartphones and tablets in everyday life.

“The great thing about mobile emails is that shorter content and fewer calls to action actually perform better than complicated and dense messaging,” said Jim Garretson, mobile product manager at Constant Contact, in a statement. “By simplifying email marketing campaigns, marketers can take an essential and effective step towards becoming mobile-friendly.”

Additionally, mobile emails are particularly important for businesses looking to appeal to younger demographics. The study found that 88 percent of millennials read messages on mobile devices, with 50 percent calling their smartphones their primary email devices.

For companies preparing to launch mobile-friendly emails, it will be important for them to remember a few key facts about mobile devices. To illustrate, any buttons or links a business wants to customer to tap must be separated enough from another to prevent accidentally selecting the wrong thing. Additionally, the subject line needs to be even more direct and succinct, as the number of characters is usually limited to 35.

Firms shouldn’t shy away from adopting mobile strategies, as the channel offers the potential to boost the effectiveness of traditional business emails.

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