Health systems produce print and digital newsletters to share information about their services and successes, and this format continues to be effective in some marketing situations. Newsletters work well when your goal is to increase awareness of your system across a large audience. But today’s health systems have a range of communication objectives , including building physician loyalty, increasing referrals, and limiting outmigration.
Many of these initiatives can be fueled by email. Yet knowing exactly when to use email may be tricky for marketing and physician liaison liaison teams that are new to digital marketing. Here are three situations where email is definitely the best channel for health system outreach.
1. When Your Message Bears Repeating
Some health system messages only need to be communicated a few times. For example, the communication plan for an upcoming CME conference might call for an announcement and several reminders over a short period of time, but nothing else. Other subjects require more repetition. In particular, growing health systems may find that new doctors need frequent reminders about the full range of medical services available in-network.
Email is an efficient solution when you want to reach doctors monthly or even weekly. Updates can be made quickly, and delivery is instantaneous. Production and mailing costs are minimized, and there’s no need to “save up” content to take advantage of the economies of scale associated with print production.
2. When You Need to Reach More Doctors
Most health systems maintain a database of the doctors in their system, but sometimes you may need to reach physicians who aren’t already in that database. Perhaps your CME team is launching a new event and wants to invite regional doctors who haven’t participated in past events. Or maybe your hospital is seeking a new neurologist and none of the physicians in your existing database match the recruiting criteria.
A high-quality email database solves these problems by providing 90% coverage of physicians with email addresses. Ideally, your database should provide multiple addresses for each doctor and indicate which one is checked most often. Many physicians prefer to receive professional information at their home email address. A quality database should include that information. Also, because email addresses change often, the best databases are updated daily to ensure accuracy.
3. When Time Is of the Essence
When you’re planning for a quarterly newsletter, it’s relatively easy to build time into the schedule for production and mailing. But many other messages must be communicated more quickly. For instance, service line leaders need to share news on a weekly basis and emergency medical situations require practitioners to communicate and adopt new protocols as fast as possible.
While producing traditional print communications may take months, email design and implementation is much faster. Physicians receive your message immediately and email data indicates whether or not it was opened. You can send additional email messages – whether to repeat the original content or build upon it – as soon as necessary.
Email offers speed and flexibility that simply isn’t possible in traditional channels. While the shift to digital communication may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Email best practices are proven and an experienced database provider can offer guidance from design through deployment.