Tips for Effective Healthcare Email Marketing

by | Sep 23, 2020 | Digital Strategy | 0 comments

​​Email isn’t just for appointment reminders anymore. Delivering timely, engaging content to current and prospective patients is part of a modern healthcare email marketing strategy—and an effective way to build a pipeline for priority service lines.

Many health­care mar­keters strug­gle with how to lever­age qual­i­fied email sub­scriber lists in a way that adds val­ue for both the con­sumer and mar­ket­ing out­comes. Whether your chal­lenge is in not hav­ing the right tech­nol­o­gy pieces in place, not hav­ing the resources to man­age a sophis­ti­cat­ed CRM solu­tion, or not hav­ing the con­tent to deploy — you’re not alone.

Below, we’ve addressed the most fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions about health­care email mar­ket­ing.. Here are best prac­tices for lever­ag­ing this high­ly effec­tive chan­nel— gen­er­at­ing $42:1 ROI on aver­age—to engage con­sumers along the health­care journey.

How is healthcare email marketing evolving?

Email mar­ket­ing is emerg­ing as a lead­ing dri­ver of con­sumer and physi­cian engage­ment for hos­pi­tals and oth­er health­care orga­ni­za­tions. This is illus­trat­ed by our 2020 State of Health­care Con­tent Mar­ket­ing study, which found that email is the No. 1 tac­tic to engage physi­cians and No. 2 tac­tic for gen­er­at­ing ser­vice line leads. With more than 3 in 4 health­care mar­keters sur­veyed using email, the key is avoid­ing gener­ic mes­sages. This is espe­cial­ly true for mes­sages relat­ed to COVID-19. Instead, engage con­sumers in a per­son­al­ized way by deliv­er­ing time­ly, rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion based on demo­graph­ics along with self-select­ed or mod­eled inter­est categories.

Lead gen­er­a­tion is ide­al when you have a CRM plat­form or mar­ket­ing automa­tion plat­form. You can tar­get mes­sages around pri­or­i­ty ser­vice lines. Typ­i­cal­ly, this con­sumer jour­ney will con­sist of month­ly engage­ment around annu­al phys­i­cals, return mam­mo­gram vis­its, year-end ben­e­fits uti­liza­tion and oth­er strate­gic top­ics with a call to action that con­nects to the ser­vice line featured.

Fur­ther, sophis­ti­cat­ed plat­forms and expand­ed exper­tise around email mar­ket­ing are enabling more thought­ful lead nur­tur­ing than ever before. For con­sumers who down­load con­tent on your site, engage with HRAs, attend sem­i­nars or inter­act with your blog con­tent, per­son­al­ized nur­tur­ing jour­neys can be devel­oped to build and solid­i­fy mean­ing­ful relationships.

How are marketers generating and maintaining quality email lists?

First and fore­most, pur­chas­ing an email list is nev­er a good idea. Instead, lever­age email lists acquired through opt-in forms from patients, and from dig­i­tal and tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing efforts.

Through­out your dig­i­tal con­sumer jour­ney, pro­vid­ing ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to sign up for reg­u­lar engage­ment from the health sys­tem is a best prac­tice. This includes pop-ups to invite blog vis­i­tors to sign up for reg­u­lar updates, hav­ing a default opt-in on all mar­ket­ing forms for lead gen­er­a­tion and more.

As you build your list, it’s impor­tant to treat it del­i­cate­ly. Be thought­ful in devel­op­ing a frame­work for how many emails an indi­vid­ual can receive from you in a giv­en week or month, find a sweet spot of how long nur­tur­ing jour­neys should be, and devel­op a cadence for blog out­reach based on how often you can pro­vide rel­e­vant, high-qual­i­ty content.

The val­ue of your mes­sag­ing is also impor­tant. Make sure each touch­point is rel­e­vant, accu­rate and action­able. Bal­anc­ing qual­i­ty and cadence well will min­i­mize unsub­scribes and max­i­mize the return on invest­ment in email marketing.

How do I create a consumer journey with healthcare email marketing?

Here are a few proven tips to effec­tive­ly lever­age email to meet patients and prospects where they are and guide the health­care experience.

Map the email cadence and con­tent around the tar­get con­sumer. Take a long-term approach to guid­ing patients on their health­care jour­ney rather than con­stant pro­mo­tion through smart jour­neys and lever­ag­ing opt-out log­ic to remove con­sumers who’ve con­vert­ed, or who aren’t engaged, from the email strat­e­gy. Along with cre­at­ing a neg­a­tive impres­sion of your brand, too much email can “burn your list” and impact deliverability.

Sub­ject lines should be clear, suc­cinct and atten­tion-grab­bing. A/B test­ing for sub­ject lines and con­tent should be used when­ev­er start­ing a new email cam­paign. This com­piles per­for­mance data, allow­ing mar­keters to plan future emails accordingly.

Length is impor­tant. Con­sid­er that the aver­age per­son receives 120+ emails every day. Try using short-form emails that include health tips, recipes and oth­er action­able con­tent with a link to your blog for more infor­ma­tion. Long-form emails could high­light a physi­cian or patient sto­ry with a call to action to view a pro­file or down­load a guide.

Calls to action should be aligned with the con­sumer jour­ney. Appro­pri­ate and well-timed CTAs direct users to the best next step on their care path.

Test and learn. Send emails on dif­fer­ent days of the week and at dif­fer­ent times to reach new audi­ences. Con­sid­er resend­ing the mes­sage three days lat­er to those who did not open it.

Most impor­tant­ly, remem­ber that guid­ing health­care con­sumers from engage­ment to con­ver­sion requires mul­ti­ple touch­points over a peri­od of time. While high­ly effec­tive, email is just one of many tac­tics that can be com­bined to cre­ate an effec­tive fun­nel mar­ket­ing in dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing strategy.

What about healthcare email marketing to engage patients?

While much of the above advice address­es best prac­tices for both patient and poten­tial patient engage­ment via email, there are a few nuanced ways to engage exist­ing patients to boost reten­tion and sat­is­fac­tion. These include:

Work to imple­ment the abil­i­ty for patients to book fol­low up appoint­ments or refer­ral appoint­ments online through a link emailed to them after an encounter. This could reduce strain on your call cen­ter staff and is an ide­al sce­nario for your busy patients.

Devel­op strate­gies to engage with patients with chron­ic con­di­tions. This can improve out­comes and sat­is­fac­tion among dia­bet­ics, CHF patients, preg­nant women and more.

Send reg­u­lar reminders about back to school vis­its and annu­al phys­i­cals, annu­al mam­mo­grams and more. This will improve reten­tion significantly—and bonus points if online sched­ul­ing for these appoint­ments is a possibility!

Over­all, it’s impor­tant to note that start­ing small with health­care email mar­ket­ing is per­fect­ly accept­able, and is in fact like­ly to make you more suc­cess­ful in the long run. We rec­om­mend iden­ti­fy­ing 1–2 key strate­gies like blog engage­ment or HRA nur­tur­ing, or one key audi­ence like 26–45 year old women to devel­op plans around. This will help you learn about what works well for your team, where gaps in your skill set or tools are, and where your resource allo­ca­tion is most valu­able when it comes to email.

Ready to Elevate Your Email Marketing?

Con­nect with us to learn more about how we can help with con­tent devel­op­ment, jour­ney strat­e­gy and audi­ence seg­men­ta­tion approach­es spe­cif­ic to email marketing.

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