When you think about it, marketing to advocate good health is an odd thing to have to do. It should be in our nature to preserve our health, or to at least be concerned about it. But I wrote that sentence as I washed down my third doughnut of the day with a swig of coke. Healthcare marketing, then, is absolutely necessary. We need email campaigns, social media, and pamphlets to remind us that we aren’t going to live forever. It is like the fear of death is outweighed by the fear of knowing something is wrong.
Wow that was macabre.
Healthcare emails can be the most useful of them all. Often they share anecdotes, or information to help us keep on top of our physical well-being. But because they are useful, and because they are interesting, they are also highly competitive. Especially, in the current climate, if the information surrounds mental health.
With this in mind, here are five ideas for healthcare email marketing campaigns.
Awareness email campaigns
This month I am cultivating a prickly slug for my upper lip. It is, after all, Movember. An awareness campaign for Men’s Health. In fact, every month there is something dedicated to a healthcare issue. December the first is World AIDS Day. Last month was Stoptober. There is a comprehensive diary of various awareness days, weeks and months available on the NHS Employers website you can view at your leisure.
This gives you plenty of scope to message your subscribers. For example, Dry January presents the perfect opportunity for you to email your subscribers.
Motivate them not to drink for the entire month. You can congratulate them on their first day. Then at the end of the first week. Give them information on the long-term effects of alcohol. These awareness days present your healthcare marketing the opportunity to display your knowledge of the relevant healthcare issues. Sending your subscribers such important information in your email campaigns will build a relationship based upon trust.
Healthcare marketing heartstrings
Healthcare marketing finds itself in an almost unique position. It can lend itself very easily to emotive writing. Illness and injury is a very frightening thing to happen to a human being. And think of all the stories you hear about cancer, or other serious diseases.
Be honest, we are all suckers for a happy ending.
In a previous article I jubilantly discussed the power of storytelling in email marketing. The Origin Story, and The Hero’s Journey structures lend themselves very well to crafting an emotive and compelling marketing strategy. The only difference is, that the healthcare heroes are real. Healthcare marketing delivers actual heroes, and their email campaigns bring the readers through real stories. Imagine the impact the narrative structure would have on your readers.
- THE WORLD BEFORE: James had a manual job, supported a family, and played football with his young son.
- CREATING CONFLICT: He then finds out that he has pancreatic cancer, and undergoes Chemotherapy. This makes him ill and unable to kick about with his son.
- THE RESOLUTION: After months of fighting he is finally in remission, and is making up for lost time. Oh and now he coaches the school soccer team. His son is playing very well.
It might not be Jane Austen, but for the short space that you have with an email, this basic structure will enable even a moderately gifted writer the tools to tug on the heartstrings of their subscribers.
Do you remember the ice bucket challenge? I do. It was a cold October when one of my “friends” tagged me in that debacle. But this wasn’t some ridiculous tide-pod-sucking craze that teens thought would be funny to post on YouTube. The Ice Bucket challenged raised awareness for ALS (Motor Neuron Disease). There have been others in recent memory. Movember. No makeup selfie for the women. And makeup selfies for the men. Want to see something horrifying?
Yes this is me. Stop sniggering.
Women’s no make-up selfies had raised over £1-cool-million before men had even got involved. When men started trowelling the foundation around the bathroom, this shot up to over £2-million. And the campaign was all about having a little fun. It seems that if you can mix a serious situation with a bit of inane humour you create a bit of a stir.
Why not think of something wacky and relevant that you can do, bring your subscribers together to make a spectacle in front of the world. Your healthcare marketing campaign might just be the carrier of the next viral awareness event.
Invitation to a Social Community
When it comes to social media, we often drive two points home.
1 – Email marketing is far more effective than social media, it has better reach, and overall is a lot more cost-effective.
2 – Email marketing and social media should work with each other and not against each other.
There is one thing all of your subscribers have in common. You. Your company. A lot of your subscribers are patients, or former patients. Many of them have their own stories to tell. Sharing Mayo pride themselves on bring a community of diverse patients together, and this is no bad thing. Why not create a community on social media and use your email marketing to invite them to it?
The healthcare marketing campaign would powerfully unite the subscribers as an active community that use your brand to communicate to each other on a daily basis. This is a cost-effective way of creating content, and keeping your subscribers happy.
The one downside that there is to the healthcare industry, is the overwhelming amount of literature you have to scrape through. There is text everywhere you look, often filled with dense language. I hate to say it, but sometimes your subscribers just want something simplified. Some people don’t mind the War and Peace of health. Other’s want everything laid to them in an easy-to-chew fashion.
Infographics are great for imparting a great deal of knowledge in a small space without the reader feeling that they have a dense amount to wade through. Like a good graphic novel, the imagery cuts away the need for descriptive text.
Despite my opening cynicism, healthcare marketing does not simply exist because it is necessary. The email campaigns are interesting to read, and educational. Despite not having been to a Doctors for something like 4 years, the social media posts, blogs and emails have taught me all sorts of things. To keep coughing if I believe I am having a heart attack. Where to check for growths. How to respond if I believe someone is having a stroke. And so on.
It perhaps sounds insensitive to say that you can have fun with email marketing as a healthcare company. Although, it isn’t like I am suggesting you break bad news via email bearing funny Disney GIFs. As serious as the service your company provides might be, people still appreciate a break from stress. The healthcare industry has a tightrope walk between their hard-hitting awareness campaigns, and using levity to keep people engaged.
I am always interested in good copy. Please feel free to comment with your favourite healthcare campaigns to help any other reader that might be stuck for ideas.