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The health care landscape is quickly changing. Today, if you want to build your practice, direct mail marketing can work to get you more physician referrals and patients.
While health care marketing may seem like an afterthought for some, it is a fundamental component of sustainable growth and delivers a solid return on the investment. It can be an effective tool for attracting new patients and holding on to existing ones. Why? Because, just like other industries, the health care landscape has changed. What was once considered to be a physician-centric, volume-based industry is now quality based and patient oriented.
Today, patients have the tools they need to research health care providers before making decisions; therefore, it’s imperative that those health care providers do what they can to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Using direct mail to market a health care practice is an effective approach to cut through digital clutter and build communication with prospective and existing patients, for a simple reason—people overrun by digital marketing still respond to something they can actually touch. Direct mail marketing can also help build trust, solidify practice-area authority, and nurture patient relationships. Successful direct mail marketing leads to more engaged patients, and patient engagement is the key to a busy and prosperous practice.
And, for those working in the pharmaceutical or medical-devices industry, direct mail can even help enhance referral relationships with physicians
Here are some effective ways to use direct mail for health care marketing:
Direct mail marketing to physicians
It can be hard to make or maintain referral relationships with physicians if their offices don’t readily allow office visits. In these instances, a direct mail campaign in the form of physician mailers is an excellent alternative for getting through the doors.
Here are some tips for using direct mail to market to physicians:
1. Use different paper sizes and weights.
Doctors’ offices receive a lot of mail in plain white envelopes, so if you want yours to get noticed, try using vibrant, textural marketing pieces like heavyweight, glossy postcards, or colorful, well-designed trifolds.
2. Customize imagery and messaging.
If your goal is to stand out, you’ll want to stay away from nonspecific stock photos and overused medical jargon. When trying to build referral relationships, you’ll increase your open rate by tailoring the imagery and messaging to the physician, the practice, and their patient demographics.
3. Use data and testimonials.
To keep your mailers unique to your particular practice, add real statistics and customer testimonials that speak to your expertise and provide doctors with the security they need to refer patients to you.
Direct mail marketing to patients
Today, patients have options when choosing health care providers, and their choices are largely dependent on the types of marketing collateral they receive. Research shows that people not only feel more valued when they receive direct mail, but they also trust it—and the offices that send it—more than digital marketing efforts.
Here are some tips for using direct mail to market to patients:
1. Create walk-in traffic.
If you want to encourage walk-in traffic, target people in close proximity to your office and invite them to a free clinic, an informational session on relevant health issues, or even a free consultation.
2. Insider tips.
One of the keys to a successful marketing strategy is to give more than you get. You can position yourself as a thought leader and stay top-of-mind by sending current and prospective patients health-related tips and reminders, along with a call to action to schedule an appointment if needed.
3. Reviews and testimonials.
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and great reviews are sometimes all you need to boost appointments. This is also an area where you can combine digital and direct mail efforts. Eighty-four percent of patients use online reviews to select a physician, so encourage your patients to leave testimonials on your preferred digital platform, and then highlight some of the best ones in a direct mail piece.
4. Use demographics to generate leads.
Customizing direct mail correspondence to prospective and current patients’ demographic will create a much higher likelihood of conversions. For example, you could send direct mail to women between the ages of 40 and 45 who have not yet started routine mammograms and educate them on the importance of early cancer detection. Always include contact information and a strong call to action to make an appointment.
5. Trigger data targets behaviors that lead to patients.
Mail quantities are smaller, but more targeted when you can find behaviors that indicate specific timing or patient needs relevant to your practice. Typical trigger programs for healthcare include mailings to new movers, newly pregnant or new moms. Make sure that your creative reflects both the target and the trigger to maximize effectiveness.
6. Thank you cards and announcements.
Never underestimate the impact of a well written thank you card, especially one that includes the signatures of office staff and doctors. It puts a strong personal touch on the office visit experience and will leave a long-lasting impression on the patient.
Office announcements, like the addition of a new doctor or updated office space, is another great opportunity for direct mail. Include pictures and a strong call to action to meet the new doctor or visit the new space.
Although direct mail is one of the most effective ways of reaching prospective, current, and past patients, it is always important to measure the ROI after executing a campaign. Try new things, see what works, and tailor your strategy accordingly.
If you’re interested in adding direct mail into your health care marketing mix, then drop us a line.