A strong brand can withstand the occasional hiccup. Apple’s recent software snafu—which impacted the battery performance of older iPhones—will likely irritate users, but not instigate a mass transfer to Android. That’s the power of brand strength. It keeps customers, and it keeps them (generally) happy.
As we enter 2018, particularly with the U.S. News & World Report rankings on the horizon, it’s an opportune time to consider this: Are you keeping your physicians happy?
Perhaps your numbers are on point. You have out-migration under control and referrals are flooding in. That’s great news. Remember, there’s always room for growth. Regardless of your health system’s current situation—struggle, status quo, or success—email is the most effective tool to engage physicians, strengthen hospital-physician relationships, and improve retention.
Establishing a Respected and Recognizable Brand
For some, “iPhone” is synonymous with “smartphone.” The two terms are interchangeable. Health systems have a greater challenge building brand recognition and respect, because the market share is much more diverse and complex. And, as health systems move towards consolidating physician practices and incorporating surgical centers, urgent care facilities, and specialized care centers under one umbrella, the brand can become murky.
Consistent interactions with physicians becomes even more essential for maintaining brand clarity.
Consistent interactions with physicians becomes even more essential for maintaining brand clarity. Direct mail had been the go-to method, but health systems are beginning to realize there’s no time (nor money) to rely on this mode of communication. Physician liaisons can only do so much, given the rapid growth and widened geographical expanse.
Email, on the other hand, is quick and cost-effective. Investing in a high-quality email database allows for targeting so precise that you can speak to physicians on a one-to-one level, based on their referral patterns and other data points. For example, if you’re a doctor who repeatedly refers out of system, receiving an email from the CEO or KOL that addresses your specific concerns can be a very compelling argument to rethink those referrals.
Why Email Works
Here are just a few reasons why email marketing works so well for physician engagement:
- Email is accessible. Physicians have busy schedules, and no two doctors’ days are the same. Email can be accessed immediately and easily, whether on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. You’re meeting physicians where they are.
- Physicians love email. It’s their preferred form of contact. In fact, many physicians provide their personal email addresses when opting in to receive information. This indicates a true interest, as opposed to providing a professional email address where messages might get lost in a cluttered inbox. When you know the physicians who opted-in, it is almost impossible to send them email they do not want.
- Opportunities for value-based content are endless. From urgent communications such as a local flu outbreak to inviting physicians to attend an upcoming in-house CME event, email is the best way to relay timely, meaningful news. Email can also serve as the conduit to video marketing tactics (e.g. webinars, highlighting new equipment, service line news, etc.).
- You can measure response. Email’s digital foundation is measurable versus a direct mail campaign. You know which emails are getting opened, read, and if any click-through action is taken. Or, alternatively, you can determine if your emails are being ignored and abandoned. Use this data to build upon and refine future campaigns.
- Reach your targeted physicians. You would be hard-pressed to find an individual who doesn’t have an email address. Everyone has it, most use it daily. A high-quality physician email list that has been first-party sourced and third-party verified ensures deliverability, avoids spam risk, and can help you reach your targeted physicians.
In the competitive healthcare environment, conveying a strong, positive message about your health system isn’t just marketing anymore; it’s a necessity. Email is the best approach to ensure you’re reaching the right physicians with the right message at the right time.