Applying the preferred communication principle to your fall marketing campaign
A three-pronged outreach program is strongly recommended. The number of channels you can use to communicate with your patients has expanded from last century’s outbound phone calls or letters and continues to grow with each passing year. If you aren’t already using digital channels to communicate to your patients, please do so. According to MarketingSherpa and other digital channel research sites, email sent with permission of the target audience holds its own.
What does that mean to your office and your fall marketing campaign? Yes, a letter or a postcard sent through the postal service must be part of your channel mix. However, I also recommend email and telephone reminder. If you do not have the staff for a telephone reminder and have faithfully collected cell phone numbers, replace a human telephone reminder with a text.
I do not suggest an automated phone call urging the listener to call your office to make an appointment.
Women Over Age 65 prefer postal mail
Eyecare practitioners that are limiting office-to-patient communication to text and email blasts are ignoring decades of research and isolating themselves from their key target market. That market is women. Of particular importance to an eyecare practice are older women. Women, regardless of age, are the reason the phone rings and people keep appointments.
A quick internet search of the phrase Role of women in healthcare decisions shows headlines placing the importance of a female influence in the healthcare decision-making process to be as high as 80%.
MarketingSherpa commissioned a study in 2015 and asked American adults about their channel preferences…There was, as you would expect, variations on channel preferences among different demographic groups.
For example, 64% of those 55+ preferred postal mail, and 41% in that cohort preferred print media, while 38% of people ages 18-54 preferred postal mail, and 24% preferred print media.
The only exception (not preferring email) was females 65 or older — 64% prefer email, and 65% prefer postal mail.
Yes, you will have to work with employees to prioritize tasks and perhaps re-assign duties. Reaching out via postal mail and then with a human making a phone call to “make that appointment now” is time consuming.
The ROI (return on investment) of a 10,000-piece campaign can be staggering. Compared with just social media advertising, research suggests it will cost five times more to ‘capture’ a new patient than it will be to motivate a judiciously-curated group of 10,000 established patients to return for follow-up care.