A local market in my town gives out lollipops to kids who help their parents bag the groceries. As a result, I often see children proudly stacking items into bags in an effort to earn this treat. Not only does this keep them busy, it also helps speed up the check-out process. This is a great example of using “conditioning” to teach children that taking a desired action will be rewarded.
Healthcare organizations can try a similar approach with their email marketing. When you design relevant copy that resonates with your target healthcare professionals, you entice them to open your emails and engage with your brand.
The Power of Conditioning
Perhaps you’re educating email recipients about a new research finding, educational program, medication, or procedure available. You’ll need to condition healthcare professionals your email is worth opening because they will receive information that is worth their time. But not all conditioning is the same in healthcare marketing.
Generate a desired response by teaching recipients that they will be rewarded with information that is worth their time and effort
Depending on the value of your emails for recipients, conditioning can help—or hurt—your marketing efforts. In either direction, the response (good or bad) that you condition today will affect the response you get tomorrow. In other words, how you condition people to respond to your messages determines how well you will be able to engage them.
Creating Positive, or Negative, Outcomes
Consider these two scenarios:
Valuable Content Generates a Positive Response: When you consistently deliver relevant emails, you encourage healthcare professionals to want to open subsequent emails because they come to value the information you provide. It also gives them a positive feeling about your hospital or brand when you’re addressing their pain points.
Self-Promotion Weakens Your Brand: On the other hand, delivering self-promotional messages can turn off recipients. Most healthcare professionals are only interested in content that has a personal benefit for them. As a result, by sending irrelevant content, you condition them to skip over your messages or delete them unread. This will cause them to have a negative association when they hear, or see, your hospital or brand name.
Best Practices for Best Results
How you condition people to respond to your messages is really the variable in how successfully you will be able to ultimately engage your target audience.
With so much hinging on the strength of your emails, it’s important to follow some simple—but effective—responsible email practices to condition healthcare professionals to have a positive reaction to your messages.
- Know who you are targeting with your emails. Physicians have a wide range of specialties, needs, and interests. You need to understand your audience to be able to communicate with them effectively.
- Target your content for specific audiences. One recent study found that email segmentation increases the open rate by 14 percent.
- Know when—and where—recipients prefer to receive their emails. Another survey found that despite the effectiveness of this approach, only seven percent of the brands included in the study consider customer preferences for the channels through which they want to receive marketing messages.
- Be comprehensive with your offerings. By incorporating a range of information, including product information, research findings, and tips/advice, you can serve as a valuable resource and keep providers more engaged.
Using the Right Resources to Guide Your Efforts
The most effective email conditioning strategies are rooted in a high-quality database that provides key insights about healthcare professionals, including when (time of day and day of the week) they prefer to receive emails and also their preferred address (professional or personal).