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Why email outperforms social media in healthcare marketing

Why email outperforms social media in healthcare marketing

HIPAA compliant email marketing offers direct and personal communication for higher engagement rates, making it a superior choice to social media marketing. Additionally, its measurable results ensure communications are effective for improving patient health outcomes and satisfaction while protecting patient privacy.


What is healthcare marketing?

“Healthcare marketing is what supports healthcare practices by facilitating a relationship between providers and patients. Marketing helps create a practice’s brand and promotes said brand with the goal of bringing in new patients,explains Tulane University.

Ultimately, healthcare marketing should attract and retain patients, enhance the reputation and credibility of the organization, improving patient outcomes and satisfaction.


Social media vs. email marketing

Healthcare providers have a wide range of options for connecting and interacting with patients within the digital marketing space. 

A study on the influence of social media and email campaigns on healthcare services explains thatIncreased health consciousness and a general need for health-related information have triggered healthcare in recent years.” 

The study further states thatintegrating social media marketing with email marketing aids in brand development, customer attraction, and long-term client retention.”

However, while social media platforms are popular for their broad reach and interactive capabilities, email marketing stands out for its effectiveness in personalized communication. 

“Email marketing is considered one of the most effective forms of digital marketing because of the low cost, the ability to customize and track performance and build relationships with customers,a Forbes article on the benefits of email marketing in 2024 explains.

Email marketing offers a direct line of communication to patients, unlike social media, where messages are broadcast to a wide audience.Compared with other forms of digital marketing such as social media posts and paid ads, email marketing also ensures you’ll be able to continue engaging with customers, even when social media algorithms change or platforms, where you used to advertise, are no longer popular,Forbes elaborates.


HIPAA compliance in healthcare marketing

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center,Social media is a danger zone for health care workers.So, while connecting with patients on social media is acceptable it requires careful consideration, as HIPAA principles extend to online engagement. 

HIPAA mandates that providers safeguard patients’ protected health information (PHI), limiting personalized marketing strategies and making it difficult to provide tailored communication on social media. However, HIPAA compliant email marketing allows healthcare providers to deliver personalized messages securely, ensuring that PHI is appropriately handled while engaging patients with customized content.

Read also: FAQs: All about HIPAA and social media


Benefits of HIPAA compliant email marketing 

Direct and personalized communication

HIPAA compliant marketing emails allow providers to directly send information and updates tailored to the patient's needs for a more personalized and impactful interaction. 

A study on direct marketing in health and medicine elaborates,Direct marketing is characterized by its conveyance of information directly to individuals. Unlike advertising, which uses mass media to deliver messages to broad audiences en masse, hoping to entice interested parties into some form of desired exchange, direct marketing engages individuals directly by sending, for example[an] email message, or similar conveyance straight to the intended recipient.”

Furthermore, HIPAA compliant email platforms, like Paubox, facilitate two-way communication so patients can respond to emails with questions or share health updates as needed.

Ultimately, personalized HIPAA compliant emails are more likely to engage patients and prompt them to send feedback.

Go deeper: Ways to use HIPAA compliant email to increase patient engagement


Higher engagement rates

The average open rate for healthcare-related email campaigns is 41.23%, making it one of the highest-performing industries in terms of email engagement. This high open rate can be attributed to the personalized content that healthcare organizations provide. 

In contrast, organic reach and engagement on social media platforms are significantly lower averaging between 0.45% to 1.7%, according to Hootsuite’s average engagement rates for 12 industries. 

Furthermore, social media algorithms can amplifyinherent human biases for learning from prestigious or in-group members”, promotingmisinformation, as it doesn’t discern the accuracy of the information,explains Neuroscience News.

Therefore, providers must use HIPAA compliant email marketing to avoid the potential pitfalls of social media algorithms and ensure patients receive reliable health information. 

Go deeper: 5 email marketing stats for healthcare providers


Maintaining patient privacy

Providers must use a HIPAA compliant email marketing platform, like Paubox, which offers encryption and access controls to protect patients' health information (PHI). Additionally, Paubox provides detailed analytics and reporting features to track the success of email campaigns and improve patient engagement.


Controlled messaging

Providers can identify peak times for communication to maximize the effectiveness of HIPAA compliant emails, increasing the likelihood of patients reading and responding to the content. 

Additionally, scheduling emails in advance allows providers to maintain a consistent presence in patients' inboxes, reinforcing brand awareness and facilitating ongoing communication.

Read also: When is the best time to send an email newsletter?


Measurable results and ROI

According to MDG Solutions, 44% of businesses cannot measure their social media return on investment (ROI), sincethey are unable to tie social media to business outcomes.”

However, email marketing provides detailed analytics that allows healthcare providers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Providers can use a healthcare email marketing ROI calculator for efficient allocation of marketing budgets and strategic adjustments to enhance outcomes. 

It helps gauge the effectiveness of each campaign and identifies areas requiring improvement. For example, low open rates may indicate that emails need stronger subject lines, while high click-through rates with low conversions could suggest issues with landing page effectiveness. Providers can then use these insights to refine their email marketing strategies, optimizing engagement and driving better results.

Go deeper: A healthcare email marketing ROI calculator


Streamlining communication

HIPAA compliant email marketing can streamline communication between healthcare providers and patients. Providers can also automate HIPAA compliant emails to send appointment reminders, follow-ups, and informational newsletters, reducing the administrative burden on staff. 

Additionally, providers can use customizable templates to streamline automated emails and personalize patient communications.

Ultimately, these automated emails ensure timely and consistent communication, enhancing patient experience by keeping them informed and engaged with their care. 

Go deeper: How automated HIPAA compliant emails can increase patient satisfaction


Building long-term relationships

Providers can use HIPAA compliant emails to maintain connections and deliver high-quality patient care. More specifically, sending timely, relevant, and well-crafted emails can enhance patient engagement and satisfaction, improving patient-provider relationships. 

Additionally, sending personalized health tips and appointment reminders can help improve patient health outcomes and increase trust in their providers.

Go deeper: Email your patients to keep them engaged



Is HIPAA compliant email marketing effective?

Yes, HIPAA compliant email marketing allows direct, personalized communication with patients, ensuring messages are relevant and timely, which increases engagement and satisfaction.


How can providers ensure their email marketing is HIPAA compliant?

Providers can ensure HIPAA compliance by using a secure platform, like Paubox, which offers encryption and two-factor authentication to safeguard patients’ protected health information (PHI).


Can email marketing improve patient engagement?

Yes, providers can use HIPAA compliant emails to send personalized content like health tips, appointment reminders, and updates to keep patients informed and engaged. Additionally, providers can track patient engagement metrics to measure the effectiveness of their communication strategies.


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