Email marketing is often seen as another method of advertising, but to truly gauge the value of email for an organization we must look to its ultimate goal: communication.
Organizations need to share information both internally and externally. Proper internal communication allows more efficient operations, higher morale, and promotion of internal initiatives. Externally, ideal communication can be used to establish a strong brand image, ultimately creating meaningful relationships with all stakeholders.
So how can healthcare organizations use email and the Web to help accomplish these goals?
Internally there must be efficient communication across departments among hospital staff and administration. Externally, communications focus on the general public, patients and partner organizations. However, there are extra hurdles with medical organizations due to their unique structure and services, particularly long work hours, heightened customer expectations, and dependence on maintaining a rapport with private supporters. These hurdles change the way these organizations communicate. Through the use of email marketing software and services, many hospitals and other healthcare businesses have been able to overcome these challenges and run their organizations more efficiently.
Enhance internal communications
While most businesses benefit from the intimacy of a shared workspace and face-to-face communication, hospitals do not. This absence of a traditional internal communication avenue creates a need for a forum of shared information. In the hospital environment, company-wide announcements and large meetings just won't do. For Providence Medical Group, a 25-clinic physician group based in Beaverton, OR, internal email newsletters have proven to be a valuable solution.
Providence Medical Group's newsletter has enabled doctors to stay informed about hospital news and updates at his or her convenience. Similarly, Providence saw a need for information to be shared among those within a particular specialty. This led to the creation of specialty-specific newsletters. These newsletters have proven to be very effective, and have received read rates of 38.7% and click through rates of 55.2% per read and 19.8% per received. Additionally, Providence distributes location-specific newsletters that provide information related to the different Providence Medical campuses.
Notably, Providence found that the format of their emails mattered. Providence tested two emails (one HTML and one plain text) with identical subject lines to look at how format could impact user interaction. In an initial email send, they found that the HTML version drew a 42% per read click through rate in contrast to the 21.4% per read its plain text counterpart received. The HTML version also enabled a 5% increase of recipients that clicked 3 or more links, in comparison to the plain text version's 3.5%. It was clear that the HTML format encouraged more activity. Having nearly doubled effectiveness in this communication channel, Providence was realizing the value of using HTML email templates.