How Doctors Can Automate Their Healthcare Marketing
If you’re a doctor, you probably already know that traditional online marketing is not enough. In addition to having a web presence, physicians also need to be proactive and strategic with strategies like social media and email marketing. No doubt you already have a lot on your plate as a busy physician. Setting up marketing automation can help you reach and nurture leads and even target new patient prospects online, without adding much work for you.
Read on to learn how doctors can set up healthcare marketing automation to help their practice thrive.
What can marketing automation do for your healthcare practice?
Marketing automation does exactly as it says, it helps automate specific aspect of your marketing. It allows you to better see where you are spending money, and what you are getting in return for that.
It allows you to set up certain projects or marketing campaigns and for the most part, 'set it and forget it'.
Healthcare marketing automation can cover every aspect of your patients’ and prospects’ online interactions with your practice, from email opens, to time spent on your website, to social media engagement. You are able to see how visitors initially came to your website, what pages they viewed (hence what they are most interested in), and based on their activity on your website, send them specific emails.
You can then send them emails at a certain interval based on if they open up a certain email, you can send them emails based on pages visited, forms filled out, or perhaps their treatment plan.
You can see your website traffic and get all the analytics you could ever want or need.
What marketing automation platforms are good for doctors?
To get started with marketing automation, you’ll first need to choose what software you want to use.
This software or service should include email marketing functionality and may also include customer relationship management (CRM), such as online appointment scheduling, as well as other online marketing features.
Your choice of software platform will depend on your practice’s specific needs and preferences, but a few platforms you might want to check out include Hubspot, SimplyCast, MyMedLeads, Marketo, InfusionSoft, and Sharpring just to name a few.
One of the most powerful things that any marketing automation software will allow you to do is email marketing. Staying in front of your patients and on their mind will allow you to reduce churn, and improve loyalty.
Let's talk about email marketing for a bit.
Collecting email addresses
Email marketing is the heart of a marketing automation campaign for doctors. Pew Research Center statistics show that 89 percent of baby boomers, a huge and growing market segment for healthcare services, have email and a majority check their email throughout the day. With automated marketing emails, you can engage with patients and prospects on a regular basis.
In addition to asking patients for their email address outright, you can also collect email addresses by setting up subscribe buttons and lead magnets on your website. This blog post we wrote has some good tips on how doctors can build an email list.
Email marketing is the heart of a marketing automation campaign for doctors.
Setting up email marketing sequences
Now that you have a marketing platform in place and are starting to build an email list, you can start sending automated emails to patients.
- Set up onboarding sequences
Onboarding sequences are series of three or four emails someone receives when they first “opt in” — i.e., give you their email address. This type of email sequence welcomes the new patient/prospect to your practice’s brand and lets them know what further value you can provide to them.
- Set up nurturing sequences
This type of email is sent to everyone on your email list, on a regular basis, but less frequently than an onboarding series (probably once or twice a month). These long-term nurturing emails build trust and relationships by providing advice, tips, and other useful information.
- Set up personalized health emails
If you don’t already, you should also be sending out appointment reminders and other important health information, in accordance with each patient’s health profile. By helping patients make and keep important appointments, this type of healthcare marketing automation can help increase care quality to patients with chronic conditions.
A few more important tips for doctor marketing emails:
1) Segment email contacts using patient demographics, engagement behavior, etc., to send more personalized, targeted messages
2) Pay close attention to the subject line and email content, keeping your message concise and targeted to the recipient
3) Make sure emails are mobile-friendly
Use automated marketing emails to send personalized messages to your patients and leads.
Monitoring and converting
The final step of marketing automation for doctors is to use your feedback to make conversions. This requires you to pay attention to important analytics of your marketing campaign (CTR, open rate, etc.) and also to have an employee or employees who are dedicated to following up with and converting the leads you nurture with your automation efforts.
For example, you might set up your automation software so that if someone opens five of your emails within 48 hours, an alert is triggered that causes an employee to call this person. Or, when a patient is not opening their important health-related emails, this might trigger an alert for the doctor to call the patient.
You should also be using the analytics you gather from your automation software to test what works and what doesn’t. You can then make changes to your marketing approach as needed.
Physicians can monitor the success of their marketing automation by tracking their campaign analytics (image source).
Healthcare marketing automation helps busy doctors build and maintain patient relationships with important outreach and follow-up actions. If you’re not taking advantage of automated marketing technologies, you’re probably missing out on a lot of business. For more help with healthcare online marketing strategies like email marketing and website analytics, check out our 10 Minute Healthcare Marketing Podcast.