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Nurse marketing

You still can captivate nurses with direct mail

BY: Elise Oberliesen on April 18, 2018

Whether a hospital wants to recruit for in-demand nursing positions or a newly launched nursing school program wants to fill its seats, finding a receptive audience is harder than ever.direct mail for nurses

Nurses receive messages daily from multiple communication channels, such as social media, email, targeted network display advertisements and direct mail.

How can you reach more nurses? It’s simple. Rise above the noise so your message stands out with direct mail.

Experts agree direct mail still is something you should consider as part of your overall strategy. Let’s explore why direct mail has made a comeback.

Direct mail is still a viable way to grab attention

We asked Tom Schoenherr, business development manager for The Badger Group, a Wisconsin-based marketing and print provider, to shed some light on the powerful allure of direct mail. He said it is the one channel that translates trust in the message — something digital channels struggle to achieve — think spam and junk mail folders filled with unopened email.

To make his argument, Schoenherr led with a simple, yet compelling question. “When is the last time you received a wedding invitation by email?”

Email wedding invites could be a thing among tech-savvy or cash-strapped happy couples, but most would agree the majority of soon-to-be newlyweds opt for printed invitations — a form of direct mail.

So why does direct mail motivate customers to take action? Because it elicits an emotional response, said Andrew Boydstun, product manager at OnCourse Learning. It’s more familiar to us and it’s been around for a lot longer than digital channels.

“The tangible aspect of it acts as a reminder,” Boydstun said, and it prompts people to think, “Oh, I need to sign up for a professional development workshop about neonatal care or attend a career fair.”

The longer that postcard sits around in someone’s house, the more it also remains top of mind.

“And direct mail usually sits on your desk or the counter for a while. You are not necessarily discarding it right away, as opposed to email,” Boydstun said, adding its physical presence leads some people to take action.

Direct mail also has an impressive ROI

Industry experts agree one of the leading benefits of direct mail compared to email marketing lies in its strong response rate.

In a side-by-side comparison of direct mail to email marketing, direct mail captured about a 4.4% response rate, whereas email captured about 0.12%, according to a Data & Marketing Association study that compared the performance of 29 billion emails and 2 billion online advertisements with direct mail.

Although the original study was conducted in 2012, “these numbers are still the same as far as getting a response rate in print vs. digital,” said Neil O’Keefe, senior vice president of marketing and content with the Data & Marketing Association.

Since direct mail collateral such as postcards, brochures and magazines come with a higher price tag compared to digital email marketing, O’Keefe says people sometimes tend to skip over the actual results related to lead generation. But the numbers don’t lie with response rates.

What’s so puzzling is that even with the higher response rate of direct mail, there’s an undeniable perception that digital marketing campaigns, such as email, perform better.

“Could it be our wallets have something to do with it?” Boydstun said. “Could your budget have something to do with it?”

Industry experts agree email is more cost effective, but there’s a higher conversion rate with direct mail, which translates into better return on investment for those looking to boost results.

“Print is more about the trust factor,” Schoenherr says. “If they take the time to print it and put it in the mail it’s often seen as more trusted than email.”

Segment your audience for better resultsdirect mail for nurses

To get increased engagement from nurses with direct mail, it’s important to offer the right information at the right time to the right segment of nurses. That helps you create a bold message with impact, Boydstun said.

But first, it’s critical to learn which information nurses need. Where to start?

Nurse.com is a helpful resource. Hospitals and nursing schools can gain access to about 2.8 million nurses with the Nurse.com database.

“We’re able to take our list of nurses and hyper focus our direct mail to specific groups of nurses like critical care nurses or nurses with BSNs or associate degrees,” Boydstun said. “We have 26 specialties to which we can segment the list.”

By segmenting the audience based on demographics such as education level, geographic location, nursing specialty and career tenure, it’s easier to fine-tune messaging to make it more relevant to the audience.

Targeting the right audience with a personalized message may decrease costs overall, especially if you send smaller batches of direct mail to smaller segments of the total audience instead of mass marketing to a large general audience.

“If you can get a higher response rate on a smaller quantity and give more relevant information, then you’re coming out ahead,” Schoenherr said.

Proof some people still like direct mail

Did you know that 41% of Americans enjoy checking their mailboxes each day?

According to a 2015 Gallup Poll, 36% of people ages 18 to 49 and 41% of people ages 50 to 64  enjoy reading direct mail – in fact, they look forward to it!

Here’s some interesting takeaways from the Gallup poll about direct mail from businesses for those who still enjoy receiving mail:

  1. 96% enjoy a birthday or greeting card
  2. 89% enjoy receiving a package
  3. 72% enjoy receiving a magazine
  4. 57% enjoy receiving a catalog
  5. 36% enjoy a letter from a business
  6. 27% enjoy receiving advertising cards or fliers

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Elise Oberliesen

Elise Oberliesen has 15 years of combined media and marketing experience. Her work appears on corporate blogs and publications, such as the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and AARP. Her specialties include healthcare, high tech and finance. Elise is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists and founder of Big Mountain Media.