How to Get Medical Providers to Open Your Emails

Promoting a diagnostic imaging center using email marketing to doctors can be a great way to increase patient referrals and build partnerships with referring physicians. That is if it’s done right.

Effective Email Marketing to Doctors Starts With a Solid Radiology Marketing Plan

Promoting a diagnostic imaging center using email marketing to doctors can be a great way to increase patient referrals and build partnerships with referring physicians. That is if it’s done right.

Like virtually everyone else in the working world, physicians open emails and check social media during their workday too.  It can be a means of brief distraction or a need to research something specific for a patient.  So how can your emails be the ones they open so you are opened up to get more referring physicians?

The fact is, 55% of people don’t read their emails regularly, but that doesn’t mean your emails need to be of those that instantly get dumped in the digital trash.  

You can break out of that group by:

  • Determining the best time of day to send
  • Personalizing your emails based on physician specialization
  • Educating the physicians AND the front office about topics that matter to them
  • Most importantly, your main focus should be providing valuable content to the medical provider that sets you apart from your competition

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Doing some research is the first step, and should not be overlooked. Let’s start by asking …

How many medical providers open emails anyway?

You’ll want to have a clear benchmark for how many medical providers open emails in order to set goals and see where you can make effective changes to your email marketing tactics as you go. Well, there’s a metric for everything and email open rates are no different.  Here’s the formula:

Open Rate = # emails opened / (the number of emails sent – # emails that bounced)

Take a look at the medical industry’s average open rate are in the chart below.

IndustryOpenClickSoft BounceHard BounceAbuseUnsub
Medical, Dental, and Healthcare22.43%2.42%0.72%0.72%0.03%0.30%

That means less than a quarter of emails are opened in the healthcare industry. That isn’t as bad as it might sound. It is just the industry norm.  

Now, let’s talk about how to increase your open rate to get more referring physicians 

The timing of your email matters

When you choose to send your emails can mean the difference between your imaging center getting more referring physicians, and the “Delete” button.

What day is best?

This can be tricky as schedules vary among medical providers. Having said that, knowing the day and time of an email impacts the likelihood of it being opened is valuable information that can be tracked and analyzed.

Like many of us, potential referring physicians are generally busiest on Mondays and Fridays, so the chances they’ll be opening emails is much lower.  

If they are a Monday thru Friday practice, then Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are your best days to send.  Thumbtacks in calendar

If the practice is open on weekends, then Saturday and Sunday may be an effective time to reach out.

Avoiding sending emails on the most exhausting work days of a targeted practice is essential to improving your open rate. That may be as simple as a conversation your sales rep has with the front desk receptionist.

What time is best?

While the specific days are important, the time of day is almost as impactful.

Studies from MailChimp found many industries have an optimal time around 10 am to open emails, while others are more inclined to check them between 1 pm and 5 pm.  This may vary significantly for medical providers. 

Determining the ideal time for YOUR emails

The good news is you don’t have to guess, at least not for long. Start off by testing these broad guidelines with a sample set of emails. Then analyze the data to find the day and time that had the highest open rate. Most email marketing systems have reports built in just for this purpose. Additionally, you may want to send out an A/B or Split Test email to compare day or time. Once you have the data, you can find the sweet spot.

Personalize Your Emails to Doctors by Creating Segments

When sending emails to doctors it’s important to remember that not all doctors are the same. Consider the specific interests and business practices of each recipient. One of the fastest ways to get people to delete your email is to send everyone the same content. So segmenting is key!Colorful mini gift boxes

Are you trying to reach an orthopedics office, a neurologist, or any other specialist? A brilliant and simple way to get more referring doctors is by sending them content that is useful and valuable to what they specialize in.  One study found that email open rates increased by almost 15% from segmenting alone.

Marketing to physicians really means building relationships

Partnerships with medical providers occur because of the level of trust you have built together.  Even though your email funnel may be a part of your radiology marketing plan, your aim should always be to provide value to those you reach out to.  Gaining patient referrals takes more than marketing to physicians in the traditional way. 

Plan out which emails should go to orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, ENTs, primary care physicians, and even the front office managers.  And yes, they should all be different. 

By segmenting your emails to a more specific target audience, you can drive down unsubscribe rates, build trust between the medical providers, and increase medical provider referrals.

Like in any relationship, you need to take the time to get to know someone

When setting up your email marketing to doctors, do your research. Maybe you know a medical office that is struggling in a specific area. Perhaps you have the expertise to help them out with the emails you provide. When you care enough to find out what their pain points are and what topics are directly applicable to what they are doing you can save them time, money, and improving their practice. If you can do that, you’ll certainly be on their good side which makes it much easier to approach doctors for referrals. 

Make sure your valuable content is actually getting to them!Lost letter in a bottle

When marketing to doctors online it’s certainly imperative that your message has the opportunity to be seen. You put in the time to do this email thing right. It would be a shame if all of your hard work never got to your recipient’s inbox, or worse, never even got to their spam folder.

Why wouldn’t your emails end up in the inbox?

When you send out emails through a third party system like MailChimp or Constant Contact, your message has to pass more checkpoints to get to its destination. Spam filters are finicky and email delivery is complicated. But all you need to know is that if you’re worried your emails aren’t getting to people, your first step should be to setup Custom Domain Authentication which means altering your DNS records.

This guide tells how to set up custom domain authentication in MailChimp.

If you’ve already done that, and your recipients are still not getting your emails, it could be an issue on the receiving side. For new prospects, your email address may not be whitelisted in their system. What’s more, many providers may not know how to whitelist your email address.

This is not something that is done automatically and the front desk receptionist will be your best point of contact.  Two ways this can be accomplished are by adding instructions to your Thank You page or by adding a pop-up feature from the email in which they can whitelist instantly.  The pop-up feature is going to be your simplest and most realistic way of getting this done.

Give the medical provider a heads up on the content coming in

The physician’s office is more likely to welcome your “Welcome” email if it is well crafted. The email should be personal, actionable, practical, but also concise.  If they are new to your campaign, pay them a visit in person and provide a quick explanation of what information is included in the emails.  If they know what to expect, they’ll be less likely to delete and more likely to send your imaging center new patient referrals.  

Let them know:

  1. How often they can expect to receive emails from you
  2. How your emails are going to be helpful to them
  3. How they can help you understand their needs (and therefore send the most relevant emails)

Email Marketing to Doctors Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Remember, email is a fantastic option to get more referring doctors – if you can get them to open! Determine the optimal time to send, segment your emails to make them more personable. Always make sure you’re providing value in your messages. Follow these tips in your email marketing to doctors and you will find building relationships with physicians is easy. 

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