Recare and the Open Rate

Recare stands for the reactivation of past clients that you’ve previously seen. These patients usually haven't been to the clinic for a while and are overdue to be seen by a practitioner. Patients tend to know when they’ve been late to schedule follow up appointments, but people are typically quite distracted by life and simply forget to reschedule along the way. It can be a struggle to reactivate patients, but at the same time it can help bring more revenue through the doors – so persistence is key! Seeing previous patients is approximately 7 times cheaper then gathering new clients.

SpamFilteringHow likely is it for a customer to open a marketing email within the health industry? MailChimp created a data list comprised of the average email campaign stats of MailChimp customers by industry. Their data was gathered from the emails sent out on a monthly basis for more than 9 billion users. The healthcare industry’s open rates are as follows:

  • Open rate - 22.83%
  • Click rate - 2.62%
  • Soft bounce - .79%
  • Hard bounce - .78%
  • Abuse - .04%
  • Unsub - .28%

For clarification, a soft bounce occurs when an email couldn’t be delivered for temporary reasons. This can happen because the inbox may be full or the file too large. Usually email providers will attempt to deliver the email over a few days, but the problematic addresses should be monitored. If the same email addresses continue to show up continuously, they should be removed.

Hard bounces occur when an email couldn’t be delivered for permanent reasons. The email address could be fake or incorrect, the domain may be fake, or the recipient’s server may not accept emails. There are many reasons a hard bounce might occur, but at the end of the day it is a permanent failure. These addresses should be removed. Too many hard bounces is a sign of an old recipient list, especially considering how often people tend to change email addresses. Remember to keep up with your current subscribers at least once every quarter to keep them on your list.

Your total bounce rate should be under 2%, and anything higher will result in deliverability issues. 

How can your clinic get patients to open up your marketing emails and read through them?

Start with a great subject line. Avoid pushy sales talk and use simple subject lines that highlight what is actually inside the email. Clients aren’t going to want to open an email that starts off with “You Asked for More…” subject lines that feel like they’re reading straight from an advertisement. Anything that barely passes for potential spam will immediately be discarded by customers. The subject line needs to describe the subject of the email. It’s crazy, I know.

MailChimp described this simple structure in a great way: “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”

Your email campaigns need to actually get passed the multitude of spam filters.

This can be done by avoiding ALL CAPS SUBJECT LINES!!! And exclamation points. Those are generally unnecessary for a straight-to-the-point subject. You want to make sure the subject of your campaign feels personal to the recipient while straying far from spam-like wording.

Abuse complaints occur when a recipient reports the email as spam, which commonly means they don’t remember being on your email list. The “From” and “Subject” lines should contain the company name for clarification toward your subscribers.

Jumping back into the recare discussion, there are a few tips to keep in mind when evaluating your tactics.

  • Consider your audience first. Following up with active patients is incredibly important, but don’t forget about your previous patients, and this is not limited to just the last year. Reach out to your patients from several years back. Usually people fail to reschedule because of forgetfulness. It’s important to engage with these patients and encourage them to schedule another appointment. Not only is this important for their well-being and health, it is also a great way to increase your clinic's revenue -  a good old fashioned "Win Win."
  • Find out how well is your current recare strategy is working. Are employees manually looking up patient records to call and send emails? This is a very time-consuming and expensive method that should be avoided. Research automated patient engagement methods to help increase your revenue and cut back on other expenses.
  • Stay consistent with patient engagement over time. If you wait several years, the patient might have moved on to a different clinic elsewhere. Furthermore, your practice needs to be reaching out to patients about every six months. Not doing so can cause a loss in revenue.

Consider these recommendations for marketing strategies and recare.  These measures can help increase revenue, retain patients, and acquire new clientele among other benefits. Sometimes patients forget to reschedule over time in today’s busy world. Reaching out to them with effective marketing strategies is a necessary consideration to make for your clinic, more importantly, the promotion of your patient’s well-being is at the forefront of this practice.

About the Author

Dr. Molly is passionate about using technology to improve the lives of patients and healthcare providers. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of...

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