Branding is important for medical professionals, there’s no doubt about that. But when you’re looking to bring in new business and patients in order to increase appointments and revenue, branding can only get you part of the way there. To really hit the mark, those in the medical industry need to start thinking more about using direct response marketing in conjunction with branding campaigns to get real, tangible results.
Think of direct response marketing as the yin to branding’s yang. Whereas branding is mostly driven to create a certain image of your medical office for the patient, direct marketing takes a more objective approach. Direct marketing is a data-driven discipline to encourage immediate consumer interaction with a target audience through creative communication that establishes and maintains an ongoing one-on-one relationship with a patient. You need a healthy balance of both to unleash your medical office’s true marketing potential. Direct marketing offers many benefits that branding can’t, such as:
Benefits of Direct Marketing
Direct response’s data-driven approach means you can use demographic info to identify your “high likelihood” audiences, and market directly to their needs. A pharmaceutical company, for example, could reach out directly to patients with asthma regarding a new treatment method they might benefit from.
Direct response marketing is actually helpful to your branding efforts, because it allows you to deliver customized messages only to those audiences for which the information is most relevant. It means you can market to a variety of niche audiences at once, without diluting or cluttering your overall brand’s message.
Customized messages also allow you to utilize and be conscious of seasonality in your marketing. Examples of healthcare businesses affected by seasonality include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Spas: People love giving spa trips as gifts during the holidays, and many make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier
- Plastic Surgeons: During the spring and summer, plastic surgeons might look to provide offers for those wanting to look their best for bikini season.
- 24 Hour/After Hours Clinics: These clinics could benefit during colder months, flu season, or back to school — offering later hours for busy parents, for example. Try to think about how seasonality affects your business.
ROI & Result Tracking
Marketing is an investment, not an expense. Every dollar you put into a marketing campaign should bring in at least $1.01 in increased revenue to your business, otherwise it’s a waste of time and resources.
Direct response marketing has the benefit of being highly trackable. With the right metrics in place, you’ll be able to see exactly how a campaign is affecting your medical practice. If a particular campaign isn’t achieving the desired results, you’ll be able to see how and why, so you can adjust your approach in future campaigns.
Improved Patient Experience
Medical professionals care deeply about helping people and following marketing best practices isn’t just good for your wallet, it benefits patients, too. This is vitally important today, as Lindsay Resnick writes:
Effective patient engagement is about helping individuals make smart personalized choices in a healthcare system where choices are getting more complicated everyday: emergency room vs. retail clinic; HMO vs. PPO vs. ACO; concierge medicine vs. virtual doctor visit; exchange plan vs. supplemental coverage. At a time when “own your health” is a popular mantra, responsibility falls to the payer and provider communities to step up and support the underlying ideology that educated, connected healthcare consumers will help drive better care, better outcomes, and ultimately, better value.
Clinical direct marketing works to empower consumers with the information they need in order to make the best decisions regarding their health. And by using population health management, this process can be streamlined with direct marketing so it reaches those who would most benefit from a healthcare provider’s services. Population health management is the “aggregation and analysis of patient data into actionable profiles so care providers can improve both clinical interventions and financial outcomes for at-risk patient segments. The result improves the patient experience, lowers cost, and can be measured.”
It’s Trending for a Reason!
With all the benefits that direct marketing offers to healthcare professionals, it’s no wonder that it’s an increasingly popular way to get the message out. In 2015, direct response marketing in the medical industry made up 56% of all digital ad spending by healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, for a total of $920 million dollars.
Utilize Direct Response Marketing Today!
Take a look at your current marketing efforts and determine what could benefit from direct response marketing. What campaigns, that you’re currently running, seem like they could benefit from additional targeting and customization? Which campaigns do you think you could use direct marketing to educate consumers more?
Direct response marketing compliments branding efforts, helps to bring in new business, and increases revenue. It lets healthcare professionals reach out to segmented audiences and capitalize on the effects of seasonality. It’s an accountable method of marketing that benefits patients as much as it does medical practices. What’s not to love?
Contact your local Valpak marketing coach to learn about Valpak’s Total Wellness program. Total Wellness is a targeted, category-exclusive cooperative direct mail envelope and digital solution to drive new customer/patient acquisition in the medical, health and wellness categories.