Vinyl is making a comeback in the music industry.
This theme of "going old school" is nothing more than another passing trend. Some prefer the spin of vinyl on a turntable, others embrace the ease of a downloadable, digital mp3 file. The buyer's personal preference is the final decision.
However, if you’re taking an old-school approach to your marketing strategy, it may be significantly devaluing your efforts. Direct mail was the standard in health systems' marketing practice for many years. And, for a time, that was the most effective method.
Now, there are so many more viable options to relay important messages within a digital sphere.
So, why email?
Although it may seem easy and affordable to put out a direct mailer to half a million physicians, the truth is you don't really know who you are reaching with that approach.
Paring down your list to the most relevant audience is a far better tactic. You avoid alienating physicians you really want to engage, because you’re not inundating them with non-pertinent information. To be fair, this notion does not only apply to direct mail. A recent analysis of digital marketing indicates that 78 percent of recipients unsubscribed because they were receiving too many emails, and 66 percent unsubscribed because the topics covered weren’t aligned with recipients’ interests. A high-quality database can help you achieve the perfect balance.
If you’re taking a vintage approach to your marketing strategy, it might be significantly devaluing your efforts.
When you refine your list, you can also customize your message based on the type of communication you’re sending. A local obstetric conference likely won’t appeal to OB/GYNs halfway across the country, but you can invite a select few in the immediate surrounding area and perhaps even create the essence of it being an “exclusive” event. The sense of belonging and inclusion is one of the top emotions prevalent in successful marketing.
Timing And Flexibility
The healthcare world is constantly changing. Newsworthy items like a recently-discovered drug interaction, an approved clinical trial, or the announcement of hiring of a prestigious oncologist are timely.
Do you really want to delay communications by first creating the direct mail campaign, proofing it, printing it, then mailing it, when instead you could whip up an email message or introduce this information on your website on relatively short notice? Pre-designed templates allow you to drop in the details and deploy in days, not months.
Aside from newsworthy communications, there are plenty of other ways to utilize email to relay meaningful messages. If your hospital makes the grade on the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospitals" list, that’s an announcement you’d want to share. If your health system doesn’t earn a top ranking, it does not mean you’re unworthy of referrals. Email is the best way to highlight your strengths and accurately illustrate the quality of services you provide.
Digital Is Now
Here’s one more thing to consider when asking the question, "Why email?" Physicians are going digital. Healthcare providers use mobile technology to search out information and check emails at least 60 percent of the time. If they’re already open to receiving communications that way, why wouldn’t you employ email?
I’ll be at the annual conference of The Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) September 24-27 in Orlando, FL, and would love to share more thoughts about this topic. Come see me at the DMD Booth #204 or say hello at the New Member/First-Time Attendee Reception on Sunday, September 24 from 3-4 p.m.