Case Study

Email—the healthcare marketing cure-all.

    UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health (UFHCCOH) provides cancer care in Florida, specializing in post-cancer reconstructive and restorative surgeries. The group is one of few nationwide to offer a surgical treatment for lymphedema, an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid just beneath the skin in the limbs or chest that affects many breast cancer survivors. The innovative treatment, called a vascularized lymph node transfer (or VLNT), minimizes or completely eliminates the symptoms of this condition. UFHCCOH wanted to establish their predominant lymphedema surgical practice in the area before other hospital systems added this capability.

    Bringing Best Practices to Healthcare

    In preparation for a launch of the marketing campaign, our pandas got to work constructing a digital strategy that would help UFHCCOH provide educational content about the condition, create awareness of the new treatment and drive appointment requests. Email was a significant part of this lead initiation strategy, targeting current, past and prospective patients, as well as caretakers, caregivers and medical staff. This included automated emails that sought to maintain communication with potential patients who had provided contact information but not yet completed an appointment request.

    Our database marketing experts bring a wealth of cross-industry experience, enabling us to apply best practices to industries like healthcare that have typically been slower to adopt leading technologies and communication strategies.

    Context, Content and Tone

    At the start of our relationship with UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health, our team took a deep dive into understanding the target audience and their specific needs. We learned that while patients made up a portion of the database, friends, family and other caregivers were an even larger constituency. This insight helped inform the content and tone of emails, as well as calls to action. As always, our team also chose to leverage the many benefits of testing in order to make informed next steps and craft successful campaigns. We tested headlines, subject lines, calls to action, design and types of content to understand what drives the best response. To experiment with a more personable approach to patient care, we are currently testing the inclusion of patients names within the subject lines, beginning with Lymphedema nurturing campaigns. (To learn more about our A/B testing approach, download our free white paper.)

    Content plays a valuable role in how users engage with a brand. When crafting email communications in particular, it’s important to educate the consumer while maintaining a fine balance between marketing (ROI) and non-transactional type content. For UFHCCOH, what started as an email strategy for brand awareness evolved into a holistic digital communication plan encompassing all sub-specialties, including lymphedema, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, breast cancer and gynecology. In fact, we tripled the size of our communication plan in an effort to continue to raise awareness of the growing complexities in cancer and the newest treatments available at UFHCCOH. These emails are currently set up to deploy monthly or bimonthly.

    Initial emails to database contacts include links to a downloadable condition guide and a surgery overview video. Ongoing content has included general brand awareness campaigns, testimonials, National Cancer Survivors Day, genetic counseling, doctor spotlights, emails focused on sub specialties, health tips and information about personalized treatment plans. Consistent nurturing and scheduled email deployments allows UFHCCOH to stay top of mind across several audience types.

    Voice and tone has also been an important factor in how users choose to continue engaging with UFHCCOH’s email campaigns. A soft, sensitive tone has proven to be important in relating with a majority of the database marketing recipients.

    Beating the Odds with Email

    The results of our coordinated database marketing strategy have beaten and continue to beat industry averages.

    • Delivery rate is above 97% as a result of prompt and thorough database management
    • Open rate average is 26%, which is 35.84% higher than industry average (19.14%)
    • Click-through rate average is 7%, which is 138% higher than industry average (2.94%)
    • Click-to-open rate average is 28%, which is 82.1% higher than industry average (15.38%)
    • Unsubscribe rate has remained under 0.1%, which proves that the audience continues to find the content valuable and the frequency of email communications appropriate. In 2015, we tripled the amount of communications sent in 2014. In 2016, we are trending to double the number of communications we sent in 2015.

    The plastic and reconstructive surgery practice at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health continues to be booked for lymphedema consultations for many months to come. This is a strong testament to the effectiveness of strategic database management and targeted email marketing campaigns.

    19%
    Average Open Rate (Industry)
    26%
    Average Open Rate (UFHCCOH Campaign)
    15%
    Average Click-to-Open Rate (Industry)
    28%
    Average Click-to-Open Rate (UFHCCOH Campaign)
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