New Ways to Think About Healthcare Communication, Not Campaigns

June 23, 2015

When the Internet was young, the very idea of email marketing was novel and exciting. Website content was static and unchanging, and email marketing was a way to stay fresh and engaged with clients.

Today’s dynamic websites, with ever-changing content and interactive features, make traditional email marketing look tired and dated—but it doesn’t have to be that way. Correctly implemented, your email marketing strategy is a key factor in growing your practice. The key is to focus on conversations instead of campaigns.

What does this mean? It means that your email campaign has to engage readers, just like your website does. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all newsletters sent out at regular intervals to subscribers.

Our inboxes are overflowing, and in our fast-paced, connected world both time and attention are limited. Content—especially email content—has to be targeted, relevant, and timely or it will end up in the trash. Healthcare communication is no exception.

Conversations mean listening, not just talking.

Despite how brilliantly you write your email content, if it is never read it makes no difference. In a world where nearly every article and blog post has a “comments” section, email readers expect to actively participate in a two-way conversation, especially when it comes to healthcare communication. If all you do is talk, you’re going to lose their attention very quickly, if you even catch it in the first place.

You must listen and observe.

To open the conversation you have to offer content that is relevant to them individually. Then, you have to willingly adjust the content based on their reactions. Pay close attention to the interactions (clicks, shares, likes) in various channels and comments within those channels.

  • Are they sharing your content on Facebook?
  • Do they click on your YouTube videos?
  • Do they respond to your email?
  • Download an eBook?

Send messages that make sense.

Sending an email about diabetes to the parents of pediatric patients doesn’t make much sense. Your healthcare communication emails need to target specific groups or sub-groups to make sure that they’re relevant for those audiences.

Start a conversation with a specific group based on unique profiles and behaviors. When someone takes a meaningful action on your website, on social media, or even offline—like calling your office with a question—you need to respond with a timely email that makes sense and engages them further.

When you automatically send an email based on an action this person took—or didn’t take—it ensures that you’re still fresh in their mind when they receive it. You’re participating in a conversation, with give and take on both sides.

Don't serve the same dish twice.

Lobster is delicious, but no one wants to eat it for dinner every night. Serve a steady stream of new content and no matter how tempting it may be, never serve the same content to the same person.
This doesn’t mean you can’t cover the same issue from various angles, but when you present the same content with only minor variations, especially in healthcare communication, your audience will quickly lose interest. Keep it fresh.

Likewise, you don’t want to run out of content. The Internet is a competitive place, and if your readers disengage due to lack of content, you may never win them back. A dynamic, automated system will allow you to easily add timely, relevant content when and where you want it, and it will automatically deliver to the right recipients at the right time.

Don’t fill up their inboxes.

Too many emails can be worse than none at all. It’s not unusual for people to g
et dozens of emails per day, and clearing out our inboxes is a chore most of us dread. Agreed?

Too-frequent emails can shift your status from a useful resource to a nuisance in short order. With healthcare communication, patients and potential patients may fall into a number of overlapping categories, and a good marketing solution will allow you to control the number of emails any one person gets regardless of how many groups or sub-groups they belong to

Email can be one of the most effective tools in your marketing plan. Like website content marketing, when executed properly, email marketing can lead to an exponential upswing in organic growth. It all boils down to your conversational skills.

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