By Grace M Frank
List segmentation. Sounds sexy, doesn’t it?
Actually, list segmentation is one of the most important tools available today in tailored marketing, including email marketing. If you’re not segmenting your audience, or grouping them into categories, you cannot possibly be communicating with them effectively.
And that’s what brand building is all about, isn’t it? Communicating with your clients, whether those clients are long-established patients or new families on the block. It’s the give and take of shared interests, a conversation rooted in mutual needs: A patient’s need for good medical and dental care; a practitioner’s for a continuous flow of patients.
How to Segment
One of the most common types of personalized communication in the healthcare industry, especially dentistry, is text-message-reminders for appointments.
But how else can you engage with them and make the communication feel customized to increase brand loyalty?
Segmented lists and custom fields allow you to target patients by fields including age, sex, prescriptions, preferences and previous purchases (contact lens or glasses, teeth whitening), language spoken at home, income, education and interests. Grouping people by needs and demographics allows you to engage them with relevant news or messages, and it builds your practice’s credibility and reputation.
A few ideas include:
- Setting up an auto-responder to automatically wish all of your patients a happy birthday on the date of their birthday
- Offering a teeth whitening discount to only the patients who haven’t had their teeth whitened
- Sending parents information about how the ACA will affect coverage for children
Once people consider your emails noteworthy, they’re likely to open them time and again. This, in turn, raises your click-through rates, getting notice on search-engine algorithms like Google’s and, importantly, helps to convince the curious (think here, inbound traffic) to cross over and become patients.
Why to Segment
To succeed in health care, especially in today’s market, you need to grow your practice. By taking the time to customize your messages and avoid blasting out messages to patients the information does not apply to, the more likely your list of current and potential patients is to organically grow as people trust your brand and take actions like forward to friends.
Besides growing your list, strategies like sending auto-reminder emails to patients when they’re due to schedule their annual appointment can increase efficiencies in administration and keep patients coming back. New offers like teeth whitening specials to clients who have not previously done so might keep them coming back more often, as well.
While segmenting and targeting is important to your brand and can show a strong ROI, it can be a time consuming task.
This is where professional help with list segmenting and audience targeting comes in. Sure, it’s an expense. But if done well, with a strategic plan for sending relevant and repeat messages to these groups, calls to action or follow-up forms that engage people with your practice, and A/B testing to further refine and optimize your lists, targeted email marketing alone carries an enviable ROI of 4,300 percent, according to Hubspot. (Then think about if you add targeted text campaigns on top of that.)
Grace M Frank is a freelance writer and editor, and the owner of Frank Communications, www.frank-comm.com
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