Strong hospital-physician relationships are the backbone of a thriving health system. Without them, it’s hard to keep cases in-system, let alone attract referrals from independent doctors.
Building these relationships is one of a health system marketer’s most important jobs, and targeted email is the most effective way to get it done. But email marketing in the healthcare industry isn't for the faint of heart. Obtaining accurate physician email addresses is difficult, and keeping them current is a never-ending challenge.
For this reason, the first thing we do when we begin working with a new health system is authenticate your email list. Without authentication, a bad list can open a Pandora's box of problems, many of which can be fatal to your email campaign.
Our competitors are about 60% sure their email addresses are accurate. We’re more like 90% to 95% sure.
Our List Authenticity Is The Closest Thing You'll Get To A Guarantee
When we give one of our health system clients a physician’s email, we're confident that it's current and accurate. Confidence is rare in the physician email business. Try asking one of our competitors how sure they are that the email address they have actually belongs to the specified physician. When pressed, most of our competitors would say they’re about 60 percent sure. That's unacceptable.
By comparison, we're 95 percent sure. We can't guarantee absolutely every email address, but we come very close.
One Spam Trap Is All It Takes To Derail A Campaign
Our authentication process is especially valuable when clients lease an email list not from DMD.
A couple years ago, we deployed to a client-supplied list without subjecting it to our quality checks first. One of the email addresses on the list was a spam trap, or an email address that’s used to detect bad email lists. Instantly, certain ISPs sniffed it out and blocked that deployment.
Just one spam trap delayed our campaign for days.
A Cautionary Tale of What Happens When You Send To Bad Lists
So why do bad lists cause so many problems? What actually goes wrong? Say you purchase an unverified list that contains bad addresses. You don't clean or authenticate the list at all; you just throw it into your ISP platform.
You start sending out email, but you hit a spam trap about a third of the way through your deployment. That lone spam trap gets you blocked at Yahoo!, which means you won't reach any physicians with a Yahoo! address for the remainder of your deployment.
The truth is that you might not even notice the bottleneck in the first place, because few marketers monitor the numbers as closely as we do. We monitor our deployments in real time, all the time, so any kind of a delay at an ISP prompts a notification from our platform.
The Damage Multiplies With Every Invalid Address
That's the process for one spam trap, so just imagine how unwieldy things would get if your list is infested with them. On any given non-DMD list, you might be dealing with as many as 10% to 15% invalid addresses and a dozen spam traps.
You couldn't possibly call the ISP every time you hit a spam trap with numbers like that; it's simply unsustainable. Even worse, when you continue delivering junk to ISPs because of bad addresses, eventually you'll reach the point where ISPs refuse to unblock you again.
Bad lists may come cheap, but they're not worth the trouble they cause. At their best, they’re inefficient. At their worst, they can permanently prevent you from reaching certain physicians.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and completeness.