A few decades ago, digital engagement was very limited. While individuals in certain professional arenas got online at a frequency reasonable for their trade, many people preferred to correspond via postal cards and letters. Email and other online exchanges were thought to be a little too impersonal and quite honestly an afterthought. The average Joe opened up his inbox once a day—if that—and even then wasn’t always greeted with the infamous “You’ve got mail” if no one on the other end felt the need to connect.
The transition between then and now has had its fair share of growing pains, as data science continues to evolve. Personalized content still isn’t guaranteed to be accurate and often misses the mark on meaningful. Nevertheless, consumers and professionals alike are clamoring for those one-on-one interactions of yore; so much so that a new research report from Adobe reveals that 42 percent of survey respondents get annoyed when content isn’t personalized.
As a health system marketer, you can’t afford to annoy or alienate your docs. Yet, you have to find a way to navigate (and optimize) outreach amidst all the other digital distractions physicians face daily.
“It’s becoming harder and harder to stand out,” said Loni Stark, senior director of strategy and product marketing at Adobe. “That’s why many brands are setting the bar higher by engaging on a personal level with content and messaging that is personalized, relevant, and more likely to garner engagement.”
So, what makes communications stand out?
More Than First-Name Basis
Email templates have long had the ability to insert a physician’s name into the appropriate field (“Dear Dr. Smith”) but not much beyond that—until recently. The type of personalized content required for successful, continued engagement today goes far beyond a first-name salutation. It has to make a connection.
In a recent EContent.com article, author Andrew Martin makes this astute observation:
B2B and B2C buyers often define successful content as polished, professional, and useful in accomplishing their goals. But research shows content should inform, entertain, connect emotionally, build trust, and strengthen customer relationships.
You can’t accomplish this unless you know your physicians. You can’t truly know your physicians unless you’re working with comprehensive physician profiles.
It Starts With The List
As a health system marketer, you can’t afford to annoy or alienate your docs.
Your physician email list can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on its quality. In-house lists are often outdated or inaccurate, plus they cannot provide insights about out-of-system physicians or advanced practice providers (NPs, PAs) who have the potential to positively impact your service line profits. On the other hand, a third-party database that includes only 100 percent double opted-in, verified, and authenticated email addresses not only expands your network significantly, but it sets you up for success in a number of ways.
For example, the opt-in process ensures you’re hitting the right inbox, every time. There’s no chance of emailing a doc at her office email address when her preference is to receive communications to her personal account. She appreciates your respect for her preferences (and her privacy).
Another guarantee is physician-level accuracy in terms of specialty, practice location, years of experience, referral patterns, alumni association, etc. With that information at your fingertips, personalization opportunities abound. Instead of emailing all OB/GYNs on your list about the advancements in robotic-assisted gynecological surgery at one specific facility, you can refine outreach to just those OB/GYNs in the appropriate geographical location.
Going back to Martin’s comment, you can see how the quality of your list becomes the foundation for fostering strong physician relationships. High-value content that informs—combined with relevancy unique to individual physicians—builds trust and solidifies those connections.