According to a recent Ad Age Ipsos survey, ALL age groups preferred to receive communications about health care via email, followed by mail, phone and text messaging. The margins between email and other modes of communication were wide in all but the most rural areas.
Email marketing is on the rise, and health care marketers are beginning to take notice. Our clients consistently rate email as one of their most important and effective communications tools. There are several reasons for this rise in popularity:
Every two years, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) publishes the results of a study that includes return-on-investment estimates, as reported by businesses that are able to track them, for a variety of marketing communications tools. For several years, email has delivered significantly better ROI than any other tool. According to the 2011 study, email generates an average return of $40.56 for every dollar invested in it. This is a huge margin over second place paid search engine advertising at $22.24 and third place online display ads at $19.72. Social media is at $12.71. These consistent findings make email an obvious choice for marketers looking for the best places to allocate funds.
Email can be one of the fastest ways to create and deliver communications. Most responses typically occur from within minutes to a few days. Health care thrives on topical medical news and scientific breakthroughs. The flexibility provided by email communications allows health care providers to react quickly and spark dialogue with their audience regarding hot topics in the health care field.
Email can be targeted to select audiences. Often, the individuals who sign up to receive an organization’s emails are among its best prospects.
No tool allows for easier and less expensive personalization and customization of content to individuals or segments of an audience. In health care, creating targeted content relevant to each audience demonstrates your organization's deep understanding of your patient's needs.
Email messages should be very interactive and encourage response. Many health care marketers strive to get patients and prospects to visit their website or communicate through social media. Email makes it easy to do so. Likewise, email can be the start or continuation of a two-way conversation between the marketer and each audience member. That conversation can lead to greater understanding of your brand and long-term patient loyalty.
Good email systems enable marketers to prepare messages that can automatically be deployed at a specific time or in response to a particular action. Thus, it is possible for health care marketers to schedule specific messages related to an event far in advance, like an upcoming appointment or an anniversary for beating cancer. Similarly, a sequence of three or more messages regarding a particular subject could be scheduled to be sent three weeks apart. Perhaps most valuable, when an email subscriber clicks on a particular link in a message, visits a web page or takes some action on a web page, a follow‑up message can be sent immediately or at a specific time in the future. These automated campaigns are sometimes referred to as “lead nurturing.”
Email is one of the most easily measured communications tools. Open rates, click throughs, conversions and other metrics are readily available, thus satisfying the needs of the C-Suite who want to answer the question “how well did this perform?”
Our recent report, the "Email Marketing Guide," provides many more tips and tricks for deploying a successful email marketing program. If you would like to download the guide, visit swansonrussell.com/Email-Guide.
Good luck and happy emailing!