Personalize Communications with Automated Patient Education
Most patients seek integrative healthcare for relief from chronic conditions or to reduce their risk for other chronic diseases. You as a provider may see each patient for an initial visit and then only once every 1 month, 3 months, or even 6 months. Do you know what those patients are doing in the meantime? There is a good chance they are on their computers, tablets, and smartphones seeking additional support—engaging in online support groups, reading blogs about their conditions, and searching for recipes to accommodate their dietary restrictions. Wouldn’t it be great if the bulk of that additional support could come from you—the one providing care?
The predicament here is that each patient has different diagnoses, different risk factors for disease, and different needs. If you write blogs or send e-newsletters, only some of the information will be relevant to each patient. Patients may stop opening your emails or stop reading your blog. To be more personal, you could craft individual emails or even place phone calls to follow-up and nurture the relationships. But who has time for that? You are one provider with hundreds of patients.
One solution to this predicament is to leverage the power of technology. Other industries use digital marketing to establish their authority, engage with customers, and nurture customer relationships all the time. Marketing experts call this “customer relationship management,” or CRM. Healthcare providers can do the same thing: digital marketing tools can establish your authority, engage with your patients, and nurture patient relationships. One of the simplest ways for healthcare providers to utilize digital marketing techniques is to create multiple series of targeted emails. In marketing lingo, this is called “segmentation” or “segmented email campaigns.” Here’s how it works:
- Choose an email marketing software or automated marketing platform that fits the needs and goals of your practice. Take your time to explore your options. Many email marketing services offer segmentation services. Mailchimp, for example, reported higher open rates and higher number of clicks for segmented email campaigns when compared with unsegmented campaigns. Automated marketing platforms provide a broader variety of services, which include segmented email campaigns. A recently published list of the top automated marketing platforms includes Infusionsoft, Hubspot, and Marketo.
- Identify the top 5 conditions you treat and the top 5 conditions you provide risk reduction strategies for in your practice.
- Create a sequence of emails for each of the conditions you identify. Write 5-10 emails for each condition. These are the emails that will be scheduled to be delivered in sequence to each patient you assign to that segment.
- After each visit with a new patient, assign that patient to a specific email segment. If you have created segments for the top 10 conditions that you either treat or provide risk reduction strategies for, you will have a relevant subject for almost every patient that walks in your door.
- Let your automated software do the rest! You can schedule emails to be delivered at whatever interval you choose—weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
Creating a segmented email campaign that provides personalized information for your patients certainly requires up-front time and commitment. Choosing the email or marketing platform that is best for your practice will take some research. Writing the email sequences (unless you already have a lot of content created) will also take time. If you don’t have time to write all of the patient education yourself, find a good medical writer to help you. The return on your investment will most definitely be worth it (in fact, most automated marketing services provide reports to show this).
Targeted communications allow you to personalize medicine. Your patients will be more engaged in their health journey, you will reach more patients with less effort, and your practice will thrive.
What are you waiting for?