Health systems have to keep their skilled physicians and advanced equipment busy to maintain profitability. That means you always need to be promoting high-value service lines like cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, and surgery. But even U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll hospitals don’t have relationships with every physician in every niche they serve. Physician liaisons can’t possibly contact all potential referrers, and “spray-and-pray” email campaigns rarely produce results.
So how do highly regarded hospitals build the referral relationships that keep their key service lines busy? More and more often, they’re turning to targeted email marketing.
Email Tactics for Increased Referrals
A high-quality physician database can identify physicians whose specialty, case mix, and practice location make them most receptive to specific service line messages. Once you’ve located the right doctors, use the following techniques to augment referrals to your key service lines.
- Strengthen relationships with existing referrers. Local and regional physicians who frequently refer patients to your network are high-value candidates for an ongoing email campaign. A specialty-focused newsletter keeps them up-to-date on service line news and helps distinguish you from competitors. For instance, you might create an email newsletter for pediatricians who currently refer to your orthopedic service line. Each issue could feature new equipment you’ve acquired, physicians who’ve joined your staff, recent patient successes, or press coverage.
- Identify new referrers. When you implement audience identity management technology on your hospital website, you can identify out-of-network physicians who visit your site. The Audience Identity Manager℠ (AIM) reports what content individual physicians read, as well as the frequency and duration of their visits. Use that data to determine which of your service lines individual physicians are interested in and what their current referral needs may be. Once you have this information, it’s easy to reach out with a personal email, provide additional relevant content, and begin building a relationship.
- Engage a bigger, but still targeted, audience. Patients who require complex therapies routinely travel hundreds of miles to get the best care. So reaching referring specialists across the country is essential for health systems that want to grow their service lines. Email offers efficiencies that allow you to promote important capabilities to this broader audience. If you have access to an authenticated physician database, you can reach up to 90% of physicians with email addresses, define your audiences by numerous characteristics (not just by specialty), and reach each physician at the email address her or she opens most often.
When you begin using email to convey specific messages to physicians—as opposed to sending general newsletters to a mixed audience of patients and professionals—you’ll quickly realize how effective it can be. Email campaigns that focus on your health system’s strengths increase awareness of your most valuable services lines among your existing and potential referral network. As physicians become more familiar with your patient successes, advanced technologies, and highly qualified staff they have little reason to refer elsewhere.