How Automated Email Campaigns Aid Patient RetentionPosted: October 20, 2022 - By Health Dev
74% of email campaigns are used for customer retention, even in the medical sector. This means it’s essential for healthcare providers utilizing email marketing to understand the importance of email campaigns for aiding patient retention.
Patient retention is one of the main metrics to measure the success of your practice, which is why it’s essential to focus your email campaigns on bringing patients back for multiple visits. This can be the difference between profit and loss for your practice.
Aside from sympathizing with your patients and providing a satisfactory healthcare experience, automated email campaigns are the best way to maintain patient loyalty. 84% of marketers can vouch for that statement!
Here’s how healthcare providers can use automated email campaigns to satisfy existing patients.
How an Automated Email Campaign Works
Email marketing, while highly effective, can be nearly impossible without automation. It’s easy to confuse an automated email campaign with any other marketing campaign. These two types of campaigns are complementary, but they are not the same.
Automated email campaigns allow healthcare providers to engage their patients by delivering custom emails based on their previous appointments and experience at your practice. However, it’s also important not to confuse email automation with email auto-responses.
Email auto-responders use a pre-set email series to send to a group of subscribers on a pre-set schedule. On the other hand, email automation triggers messages based on what services a patient pays for, what email messages they open, web page visits, and their past appointments.
Most automated email sending is triggered by tags that help providers categorize patients into groups. Providers may apply these tags to an individual subscriber or a group of patients based on their position on the health journey. As a result, patients can receive relevant emails about their healthcare experience.
The best time to apply these tags is when a patient joins your email list, signs up for your care, books an appointment, or clicks a link in a message. Including an easy-to-access cancellation or unsubscribe button in these emails is also important, as most patients prioritize inclusion and consent in their healthcare journey.
As a provider, you may experiment with several types of email campaigns. That includes email newsletters, sponsorship emails, lead nurturing emails, re-engagement emails, brand story emails, and transactional emails, all of which are relevant to medical practice.
The Benefits of Email Automation Campaigns
Email automation campaigns are essential for your practice in more ways than one. Here are a few ways providers can benefit from email automation while prioritizing patient retention.
1. Simplifies Communication Between Practice and Patient
The more your practice grows in the number of patients, the harder it gets to maintain clear and effective communication with them. Meaningful communication between the provider and the patient is crucial to ensuring a satisfactory healthcare experience.
Email automation campaigns simplify communication by allowing providers to keep in touch with their patients in a scalable way. The first step is to segment your patients based on the assessment, definition, and operationalization of patient characteristics. Then, deliver your automated email campaign based on behavioral, temporal, or other triggers.
92% of online adults use email, which is why email marketing is the best way to communicate with your patients. Maintaining healthy provider-to-patient communication with the help of automated email campaigns can help decrease missed appointments, keep patients informed, and compel patients to prioritize their practice above others.
Regarding patient retention, this email ensures that the patient is updated on information related to COVID-19 and how their provider can help them get tested and vaccinated. This compels existing patients to return to the facility for another appointment and continue their relationship with the provider.
2. Develops Customer Relationships With Consistent Contact
Maintaining consistent contact is one of the best ways to build better patient relationships. Customers may not want continuous updates about their purchase from any other business, but patients definitely expect updates about their healthcare journey from their provider.
But manually contacting your list of patients can get tedious, which is why automated email campaigns are the perfect solution. Email automation will deliver messages to your patients whenever they book an appointment, visit your webpage, or even Google a symptom.
This way, the patient will get information on what they’re looking for regarding their medical condition without looking too far and wide. Plus, when your automated email campaigns answer your patients’ questions, they will automatically know where to turn in times of need.
When faced with any disorders or injury, your practice will be the first solution on their mind. Over time, this strengthens patient trust and increases their retention rate.
3. Produces Email Subscriber-Worthy Content for Patients
If your patients haven’t already subscribed to your email newsletter, your automated email campaign will focus on achieving that. Offering more incentives, making your practice more accessible, and shortening your email subscription process can help you turn patients into subscribers.
Email automation expedites these tactics by including certain elements in all emails, such as Subscribe buttons, contact information for your practice, and more. It also helps to email links to blog posts relevant to the Google searches of your target audience, which is why your website needs a Blog section.
Here’s an example of a subscriber-worthy email from Fullscript, which uses its blog posts to lead patients to the website. As the email also includes buttons to keep reading the blog post, browse more content, and sign up for the newsletter, it’s more likely to turn a patient into a subscriber.
4. Provides Automated Appointment Reminders
The most important way an automated email campaign benefits a medical practice is by automating appointment reminders. As a result, patients are more likely to choose providers that allow them to book, change, or cancel appointments online.
Automated appointment reminders don’t just make things easier for the patient — they also eliminate unnecessary phone calls, office visits, and waiting room additions for the care team. In addition, providers can use email automation to ensure patients never miss appointments and reduce no-shows, improving their schedules as a result.
Depending on how you automate your email campaign, patients will receive emails and updates about their upcoming appointments until the day of the appointment. In addition, all emails will include buttons to cancel or reschedule appointments to eliminate no-shows.
Patients may also receive emails if a slot opens up in the care team’s schedule, allowing them to schedule their appointment sooner. Again, this is a great way to engage potential customers and build trust while saving you and your staff’s time.
5. Sends Custom Emails for a Better Customer Experience
Email marketing would never be as effective if it weren’t for personalization. Patients, and customers in general, are less likely to open emails that aren’t personalized to their wants or needs, even if the email mentions them by name.
Allocating personal attention to each patient is crucial to a great healthcare experience. No matter their interaction with the care team, a patient should leave the conversation or your facility feeling satisfied and cared for. Caring for your patients begins online, way before they schedule an appointment.
This is where segmenting your patients comes in handy, as it allows you to send automated email campaigns based on their position in the healthcare journey. For example, patients who visit your facility for regular checkups should receive inviting emails to prompt them to book their next appointment.
Patients on their way to recovery should receive bloglike emails containing tips on improving their condition. In addition, new patients should receive introductory emails with practice stories, upcoming appointments, or their future healthcare journey.
Another way to create personalized messages for a better patient experience is by feeding their consented, personal information to your email marketing tools. This way, email campaigns are triggered on events relevant to the patient, such as their birthday or a religious holiday.
6. Expands Patient Base By Marketing To Prospective Patients
Potential patients may visit your website for information about their symptoms, giving providers a perfect chance to turn a visitor into their patient. Automated email campaigns deliver links to blog posts and symptom explanations on your website, which causes the prospective patient to consider your practice for a checkup.
Effective subject lines are crucial to appealing to prospective patients, as they don’t necessarily trust your organization enough to open any email from you. Your subject line has to be personal, eye-catching, and click-worthy.
Asking a question, using verbs, highlighting exclusivity, and personalizing the subject line are just a few ways to turn a prospective patient into an actual patient. It’s also important to specify where the prospective patient is on their healthcare journey: the awareness, consideration, or decision stage.
Most prospective patients are in the awareness stage, which is where you can customize your automated email campaign to confirm or deny their doubts about certain symptoms. You may emphasize the benefits of consulting your practice if they’re in the consideration stage.
7. Forwards Post-Appointment Surveys for Future Improvements
Patient retention rates increase rapidly when the provider pays personal attention to the patient even after the appointment. Providers may showcase their regard for patients’ wants and needs by delivering post-appointment surveys via automated email campaigns.
This allows patients to discuss areas for improvement for their next appointment. Post-appointment surveys also help providers improve the patient experience at their practice.
Automated email campaigns eliminate the need for additional calls and visits from both ends, triggering the survey email as soon as the appointment is over.
Patients feel valued and appreciated when asked questions about their opinion on the waiting time, appointment scheduling, facility cleanliness, care team sensitivity, and more. As a result, they’re more likely to consult your practice the next time they need a checkup.
8. Tracks Email Campaign Performance To Make Effective Adjustments
Finally, email marketing automation allows you to track the performance of your email to make effective adjustments in your practice. Analyzing the campaign’s performance allows providers to better understand their patients’ wants and needs, further improving patient retention with the right changes.
To ensure your email campaigns hit the mark on the first try, experiment with A/B testing. Compare subject lines, email content, CTA buttons, blog material, and other email elements to see what does and doesn’t work for your patients.
Testing different intervals between your emails is another way email automation can benefit your campaign. Sharing the right information at the right time is more likely to retain patients than sending general content messages that don’t apply to all recipients.
Invest in Quality Email Automation Software for Your Practice
In healthcare email marketing, the provider should prioritize ensuring that their patient gets the right messages at the right time. Patients want to stay informed about their healthcare journey, which is why automated email campaigns aid in patient retention effortlessly.