Marketing for Accredited Education

A wealth of high-quality continuing education is available to healthcare providers in a variety of formats at any given time. That’s the good news. The bad news is that much of this content will never reach its intended audience because of insufficient email marketing efforts. This article offers tips for connecting educational content with those who need it most.

3 Rules of Email Marketing: Segmentation, Segmentation, Segmentation

Rule number one in marketing courses for clinicians is know who you’re talking to. If your education is meant for pulmonologists and primary care providers, consider segmenting your database by specialty and tailoring your outreach to each segment specifically. The motivation to register for the course may differ depending on specialty and provider type as well as factors such as geography, patient population, or practice setting. Segmenting your audience and speaking to each segment with a unique voice is often the most effective strategy in driving participation in quality education.

Don’t Be Dull

Healthcare education is serious business. This makes sense considering what’s at stake, but that does not mean you need to be clinical in your outreach to learners. Even if the content itself is highly technical or complex, your marketing needs to inspire people to act. For example, a course on biomarker testing may include a comprehensive review of every target for a particular tumor type, but the email to potential learners about it would ideally focus on the power of precision medicine to improve patient outcomes.

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

Another difficult concept for the highly scientific minds of those who tend to develop accredited educational content for healthcare providers is that when developing email campaigns for any type of course, a picture is often worth a thousand words. This can be a photograph, diagram, illustration, or other imagery, but try to avoid text-only email campaigns.

Deployment: You Need a Plan

Now that you’ve prepared your email, don’t sell yourself short by sending it only once. Make the most of your email marketing efforts by deploying mass email campaigns (“eblasts”) regularly over time. The trick is to keep your content fresh. Here are some tips:

  • Use a different image for each deployment
  • Create a new subject line for each deployment
  • Send your email at different times of the day and on different days of the week

You can also do what’s called “A/B testing” in which you deploy one subject line to half your database and another to their other half. You can do this multiple times to come up with several strong subject lines and/or test your emails with different images to see how your database responds. Many email marketing experts use different photos and subject lines for different segments of their target audience, as a pharmacist may respond differently than a social worker to the same language and imagery.

Personalize and Optimize

An additional way of strengthening connections with learners is to personalize eblasts. The trick here is to keep your database current, as “personalizing” emails with the wrong name can undermine the loyalty you have with your database of learners.

Your eblasts should also be optimized for mobile devices, considering that approximately half of learners will open it on-the-go.

Court the Non-completers

Marketing teams are often confounded by learners who register for an activity, start that activity, and then quit halfway through. It may be that they felt they had learned enough, or perhaps they were distracted by a knock at the door. We’ll never know.

What we can do is remind those learners that the content is still important and still available. Some education planners report that responses to such follow-up emails to these “non-completers” can be quite high, particularly if you craft a brief yet compelling email message.

Questions about marketing for your course? Contact PIM at [email protected]