Authentic Patient Engagement

May 24, 2022 | Marketing

Marketing to Prospects: A Race to the Bottom?

It makes a lot of sense at first: More new patients means more chances to sell devices. Thus, many providers focus on lowering their new-patient marketing costs.

A quick breakdown, though, sheds some surprising light:

  • Average cost to keep an established patient = $100
  • Average cost to acquire a new patient = $525
  • It’s >5× more expensive to target new patients

Marketing to capture new patients is important. But only as one facet of a balanced marketing plan. It’s just as crucial — maybe even more so — to develop a robust system for keeping established patients loyal and engaged.

Putting in the effort to connect with your patients is not only a good care decision — it’s a sound business decision.

But how should you go about accomplishing this? That’s right — the humble email.

Lean Into Email Marketing

With social media and other platforms on the rise, the question naturally arises: Is email still relevant?

It’s more than relevant; it’s one of the best ways to reach people.

  • 59% of consumers say marketing emails influence their buying decisions.
  • 50% of consumers say they buy from marketing emails at least once a month.
  • Every $1 spent on email delivers an average return on investment of $32, per the Data & Marketing Association.
  • Plus, 74% of marketers say that targeting and personalization of emails improves their customer-engagement rates.

Let’s dive in with some best practices!

Define the email’s purpose and goal

An email is only as useful as the planning you put into it. For any marketing email you send, the email should:

  • Be timely and relevant for each and every recipient
  • Have a clear purpose — go to a landing page, download a PDF, book an appointment, or see your practice as a trusted health resource
  • Motivate an action by pointing out benefits, tugging at heartstrings, using humor, even highlighting a lack they probably experience
  • Be sent at the ideal time for the audience in question
  • Be optimized for how the audience tends to read email — PC/laptop vs. smartphone
  • Have a clear method and benchmark for measuring the email’s success

Use inbox strategy

The inbox is your recipient’s first impression. Everything visible before they open the email should draw them in.

Your sender name needs to inspire trust. Use the practice name or, even better, the name of someone at the practice — Amanda from Awesome Audiology, for example.

Your subject line should be only 30 to 50 characters. The first few words are crucial — don’t waste characters being clever. “[Ice Cream Social] RSVP now — it’s not too late” is short, direct, and drives them to action.

Don’t skip or skimp on the preview text (also called preheader text). Think of it as an extension of your subject line. Use it to add value, interest, or context. The subject line in the previous paragraph could be paired with the preview text “We love our hearing care community — let’s get to know each other!”

Put it all together and your recipient would see something like this in their inbox:

Amanda from Awesome Audiology
[Ice Cream Social] RSVP now — it’s not too late
We love our hearing care community — let’s get…

Design your emails using a visual hierarchy

Use design to lead your reader’s eye. For example, put something eye-catching at the top of your email to grab their attention. Then use images, colors, and fonts strategically to narrow your reader’s focus through the email to the bottom, where your call to action will be. For example:

What’s the Scoop?

We’re gabbing and grinning over ice cream at Awesome Audiology!

Come on down for a meet-’n-greet with cool treats

May 4th, 1–3pm

RSVP so we have enough ice cream!

Get your message across

You have three seconds once they open your email. Can you communicate the benefits, present your offer, and get someone to click? It’s simply the nature of today’s attention span. For effective emails:

  • Put the key message and a call to action right at the top. It should be the first thing they see after opening the email.
  • Keep your email short and easy to read. People scan copy, so use bullets, make certain words or phrases bold, and make the first two or three words do the heavy lifting.
  • Put a strong call to action at the top of the email, for those who don’t want to scroll, and another at the bottom of the email.
  • Make your call to action strong — “Get It Now” is fine, but “Unlock My 2022 Report” is stronger.
  • Use visual cues to “draw” the eye, such as images, subheadings, and fonts in different colors.
  • Keep frequency in mind — too many emails will drive them away, but too few might keep you from being top of mind.

Measure and test

A/B testing is a powerful way to fine-tune your email marketing. An example of an A/B test: You write an email and want to test two different versions of the subject line. You write versions A and B:

  1. [Webinar] OTCs — bad idea or game changer?
  2. Are OTCs really the problem? Catch our webinar.

Then you divide your email list into two groups. Each group gets the same email, but one group sees the A subject line, the other the B line. Suppose 45 people open the B version but only 3 open the A version. You now have data to support that this audience (and those similar to it) respond better to B-style subject lines.

The keys to A/B testing:

  • Test a single element at a time.
  • The sky’s the limit — test your subject line, offer, headline, copy length, CTA, colors, day of week, etc.
  • You need enough responses for statistical relevance — six A responses and four B responses isn’t a clear-cut victory for the A version.

Now it’s time to take your email marketing up a notch. Let’s consider marketing automation.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a simple but effective way to reach out to your patients. It’s also a powerful vehicle for nurturing authentic communication.

Marketing automation can help you:

  • Save plenty of time
  • Strengthen your patient relationships
  • Achieve better outcomes
  • Create more word-of-mouth referrals
  • Reach your audiences where they are

But what is marketing automation? A web-based platform uses the information in your patient database to send emails to your patients. But there’s more: Your patient data triggers emails automatically.

Suppose your patient’s warranty expiration date is approaching. An email can be triggered telling them why upgrading their hearing devices is so important to their hearing health.

Clean and checks, yearly evaluations, birthdays — anything you can tie to a piece of data in your database can have an associated, automatically triggered email. Some big wins that become much easier with marketing automation are:

  • Increasing sales to patients with old tech
  • Decreasing no-shows
  • Getting tested-not-treated patients to return
  • Improving closing rates on extended warranties

But none of this is possible without a tidy patient database.

The Importance of a Clean Database

Ensuring a clean database means removing inaccurate information and replacing it with correct, up-to-date information. Cleaning up and maintaining your database is a big topic, though — for a thorough discussion, check out this post.

A clean database is, indeed, crucial. It not only allows for robust automated marketing but leads to other benefits as well.

Reduces costs

Clean data leads to less returned mail, less likelihood of being seen as a spammer, and better insurance collections.

Saves time

A well-ordered and in-order database means less duplication and less hand entry.

Provides a premier patient experience

Up-to-date data lets you truly focus on each patient, respond to their needs, provide consistent follow-up, and ensure they don’t have to repeat information needlessly.

Streamlines and customizes the patient journey

Clean, ample data lets you personalize patient communications and target your marketing and outreach.

Helps you anticipate new trends

Spot trends in your database as they develop so you can pivot easily.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts! Maximize your opportunities by converting and retaining more patients — Audigy’s marketing experts are here to help.