White Paper


Database Marketing for Healthcare Markets

In this difficult economy, healthcare marketers largely use online channels to create product/services differentiation and enhance customer loyalty. The benefits of online channels include convenience, time savings, ease of use, cost savings, and wide selection. From all the many online channels available, email marketing is the flagship among health care marketers; low costed and targeted.

This whitepaper outlines:

  • How you can increase permission users in your database through multiple channels
  • How website can be optimized to increase list growth
  • How healthcare marketers are using emails to reach more customers
  • The best practices recommended for effective email marketing

Contents :

1. Nine Ways to Increase Permission Subscribers in your Database

  • Organic list growth from website visitors
  • Transactional messages
  • Off-line list collection
  • Use advocacy marketing
  • Mobile capture
  • Tie-in your call center
  • Procure list from email vendors
  • List appending
  • Use social media sites

2. Seven Tactics to Develop List Growth from Website

  • Exchange Value for sign-up
  • Display privacy policy
  • Give clear exit route
  • Be specific about offerings
  • Provide clear navigation
  • Make it easy to sign up
  • Offer multiple communication option

3. How Healthcare Marketers Reach out through Permission Emailing

4. 15 Recommended Best Practices for Email Marketing

5. Conclusion

Healthcare marketers are fast integrating database marketing to enhance profitability and achieve higher value from CRM initiatives. In the surge to acquire new prospects, marketers are leveraging multiple initiatives to increase prospect counts.

For a novice health care marketer, we'll show how to spread list acquisition strategies to multiple channels. By leveraging all channels, you can cost effectively acquire new customers and kindle right customers for long-term loyalty.

1. Nine Ways to Increase Permission Subscribers in your Database:

Organic list growth from website visitors

On-site registration from website visitors is the best performing tactic to bring in high-quality prospects to your database. Display pronounced sign-up button at home page and at vital locations of your website to enhance visibility of your call-to-action.

Transactional messages

Many tech savvy healthcare marketers use transactional messages to encourage people to sign-up. The messages passed during order confirmation etc can be used to procure users consent to join your email subscription.

Off-line list collection

Healthcare marketers can gather information of affiliate physicians and patients through health fairs, business reply cards, health education course registrations etc. Your effort to gather email address through off-line channels will supplement online channels with high-quality sign-ups.

Use advocacy marketing

Leverage the power of mouth-of-mouth referral or viral effect of campaigns to reach beyond your user base. A recent survey report showed that more than 70 percent of customers have at one point or other received a health care recommendation from a known individual. Launch health- care videos or online surveys with click forward button to spread the buzz and build a sizable opt-ins.

Mobile capture

One of the fast growing list strategy is through subscription to emails via mobile phones. With the growth of hand held devices, many health care firms are making websites compatible with such devices.

Tie-in Your Call Center

Leverage your tele-callers to collect health information from customer interaction. Educate and train your call center staff with specific script. Your call center representatives can ask callers if they're interested to receive health information/news by email.

Procure list from email vendors

Email vendors specialized in healthcare contacts can supplement your database marketing efforts by infusing valid contacts. Many professional vendors have permission database of records segmented on the basis of various health care divisions.

List appending

Appending process can add valid records to your missing or incomplete records. Often the in-house customer records contain only off-line contact information. Through appending process you can add multi-channel contact information, eg, email, fax, phone to your customer records.

Use social media sites

Rise in social media sites for social interaction has resulted in concentration of users at community sites. Create an account in the most relevant networking site and get visitors from the members.

There is no single strategy that will provide meaningful list growth. To achieve successful list growth, you should employ multiple off-line and online strategies to pull new users for prospecting.

2. Seven Tactics to Develop List Growth from Website

Often times, an organization may have a comprehensive website but aren’t fully leveraging the value of it. Incorporate the following tips to your existing website and see how you can get more opt-in with less effort.

Exchange Value for sign-up

Freebies like e- books, whitepapers act as powerful incentive to prompt more users to join your subscription. Juicy links of value and relevance to users (i.e. health information, news related to your health care industry, products or services) will encourage more sign-ups.

Display privacy policy

Write out a clear privacy policy with a link at a visible spot on your website. Convey the trust that you won't trade their email addresses to a third party. Display of privacy policy will induce more users to join your mailing list.

Give clear exit route

Provide unsubscribe link at the footer of all your newsletters as this makes it easy for people to unsubscribe from your mailing. Such explicit links give credibility to your emails and assures subscribers an exit route.

Be specific about offerings

Give users full details about what they can expect from signing-in. Such clear statements establishes trust from the start of your relationship with your new subscribers.

Provide clear navigation

Design the subscription form or incentive link at prominent location on your website. Provide attractive color/style to set it apart from the rest of the content. Apart from the looks, make it easy for potential subscribers to locate your subscription page.

Make it easy to sign up

Make signing up any easy process. Ask minimal information on the initial subscription form. Lengthy sign-in forms will result in more web page bail-out due to form fatigue. To start a relationship, you just need first name, email address and phone number. Minimal information with a single field newsletter subscription box, will reduce subscription-page abandonment rates.

Offer multiple communication option

At the sign-up page, display multiple communication options for the user to receive newsletters/ updates. Every time someone visits your site, it's an opportunity to solicit information like name, email address, and phone number. This is best done through an optimized page that can channel visitors to sign-up your newsletter or to join your mailing list. Now, get your team to come with new innovation, mods to improve the content and design of your sign-up pages.

3. How Healthcare Marketers Reach out through Permission Emailing

Once your marketing database is up and running, the opportunities to develop one-to-one relationship with your heath consumers are endless. The key, of course, is personalized promotions to reach appropriate customer segment with valuable information.

In late summer 2008 we surveyed 2,500 health care beneficiaries on attitudes and usage of permission marketing (PEM). The results of the survey showed how targeted email campaigns has developed sustainable relationship for health care institutions.

Email Marketing

Highlights from the survey : Health care marketers use email in the following ways:

  • Send health consumer surveys
  • Contact health care institutions for business to business relationships
  • Make special offers for products or services
  • Send personalized health email newsletter
  • Send health and wellness bulletins
  • Provide information on health seminars
  • Perform medical industry market research
  • Send appointment reminders
  • Increase marketing and cross-selling opportunities
  • Drive traffic to your health website for immediate information
  • Increase site traffic by specific user groups
  • Notify users of a special offer for a health screening
  • Connect patients to online forums and chats
  • Contact medical administrators with health care Industry offers

As a marketer, you should gather all-round information of potential customers – that makes marketing personal and effective.

4. Fifteen Recommended Best Practices for Email Marketing

Here are the best practices to be followed by every database marketer for optimal results from targeted email marketing:

  • Personalize and segment your message to ensure full house email marketing
  • Place message header to let subscribers know they are receiving the email because they have signed up
  • Discard email blast mentality. Send emails only to segmented audience
  • Automatically send event-based transactional emails to increase conversions or sales
  • Use auto responders to built trust from subscribers
  • Make use of mobile marketing opportunities and strategies, to reach decision makers with purchase intent
  • Offer alternative choice to users to view your email by HTML or by plain text
  • Create compelling subject lines to enable users to get the idea in one shot
  • Include signature message with personal details, your company details, and an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email
  • Test link-click by using different text for both content and links. Re-position images, logos and buttons – compare the click through for optimum response
  • Use online social networking websites to increase brand popularity and increase online visitors to your website
  • Do preview pane testing of emails across a variety of mailboxes (Outlook, Aol, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc) before rolling out the email campaign. Provide interesting content on the top of the email to catch the attention of your users
  • Research the most receptive time of users in your database before you send email communications. Reach your users at the most preferred time to increase in click rates
  • Check spam-score of your email content before sending it to customers. This avoids false-positives from your campaigns.
  • Abide by CAN-SPAN rules in all your email communication to avoid legal penalties

5. Conclusion :

Marketing to health care professionals can be challenging—if not daunting, provided you approach it with the right knowledge and tools. Health care organization with a clinical database marketing system can offer valid follow-up treatment and work with affiliated physician with less cost and efficiency. The bottom line is, be passionate about email engagement. Manage your list well, and the results will be both rewarding and motivating. Relationship management is all about treating the permission users with common sense and respect, and treat customers how you’d like to be treated.

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