Even now, deep into our COVID life, this is an important time for health and wellness providers to connect with patients and clients using video, ideally right to their email inbox. Here’s why…
Why connect with patients and clients now?
Won’t it just get lost in the wash?
Like most of us, I get a plethora of emails. But the ONE group I’d really like to hear from, my healthcare providers, are disproportionately silent. (I don’t mean those battling on the front line, of course, but others.)
The very, very few that reached out during the pandemic’s peak, quoted the CDC and shared office hour updates.
Good, but not relationship-building.
As a patient and community citizen, the lack of connection is disappointing. As a relationship marketing coach, it’s frustrating!
It’s frustrating because I know you’re missing out on an opportunity to build stronger relationships.
This is a prime moment to connect with patients and deepen relationships.
Folks, while it’s certainly a unique time in our collective life, I know you, as health & wellness providers, want to help. We, as patients or clients, welcome it. There are 2 levels of messaging that are worth sending.
Message 1: By email and/or social media notice, offer logistical or administrative updates regarding your office: hours, closures, access info.
Message 2 (or more): As our shelter-at-home situation progresses, reach out to patients with one or more personal messages of advice, encouragement and education.
You are likely to have 2 questions: What do I share in this personal message?… and Why video?
“What do I share?”
Healthcare insights of value don’t come solely from reiterating the CDC’s and/or other official messages (though that could still help). We are whole humans with health and wellness concerns about and also beyond those related to the novel coronavirus (or whatever the latest hot health topic is).
As our brains fill with new information, our routines are upended, physical contact is reduced, and we surf through other forms of instability, we are both hungry for information and overwhelmed. We tend to forget basic steps in self-care. We’re in need of connection, support… and being remembered.
We also are at a prime place for adopting new healthful habits… with a little help and wise positioning or pointers. Could you help here? (Find more suggestions in the step-by-step how-to below.)
While we may be SO DONE with getting emails from every shop we ever visited, your messages to those who trust you with their health—with their lives—falls into a different, and more welcome, category.
We welcome what YOU have to share!
“Why use video and email to connect with patients?”
The pairing makes for a powerful human connection from a trusted advisor.
Personal: Video is the closest thing to an engaging, in-person connection (other than live video, of course).
Engaging: Research tells us video gets more opens, more clicks, and more engagement time than any other method, because the medium is so compelling.
Real: Your videos don’t need to be, and in fact it may be better they’re not, fancy or formal: you, speaking into a camera as if you were talking to a few patients…that’s gold.
YOUR thoughts, experiences and actions can be even more impactful for us than those from strangers—but strangers are where most of us are getting our health input from.
Sending a video directly to your patients/clients by email is a personal, one-to-one communication. I want you to shoot an informal video of yourself, talking directly to your patients and clients.
Yes, you can also share video in the “one-to-many” channel of social media—below you’ll see how—but for the majority of practices the MOST one-to-one platform is email. And one-to-one is key for ensuring people feel remembered.
Know that this should be fast and easy to do. It may stretch the comfort levels some of you have, but if there’s a time to set your ego aside and be brave, now is it. Give it a chance and you may even get hooked!
Step 1: Decide HOW you will send your video
Before you hit record, you’ll want to decide what tools you’ll use to share it, because the platform may determine how you’ll record.
Here are a few options, depending on how fancy you want to get, and what systems you have up and running now (if you need more step by step help, let me know in the comments below or send a message and we’ll get that out ASAP).
Note: Regardless of what method you use, I recommend you get a microphone, or use headphones with a built in microphone. Here’s what I use for informal recordings on either my phone or laptop.
Do you use an email service provider like Mailchimp or Constant Contact? If so, you can record on your phone or computer (with a built-in or separate webcam). You’ll also need a YouTube or Vimeo account. You’ll create an email like normal, and insert a video (click for their how-to links Mailchimp or ConstantContact). If you use a different provider, just search “insert a video” in their help section; most permit video linking now.
Do you use gmail? If so, they have a tool to permit embedded email. Click for access to that option—it’s free and simple.
Do you want to record with Facebook live? You can; you’ll record on your phone or computer, but won’t need the YouTube or Vimeo accounts. Here’s info on recording with Facebook live.
Do you want to dive deeper into video, consistently? If you like the idea of including video on a more regular basis (from you and/or others on your team), consider a service that allows you to embed video so it can be played right in your emails. These also allow you to track what gets opened and gives you other valuable data. Here are a few to consider (they’ll run you about $40-50/month for an individual account):
If all this is greek to you, then shoot me a message; I’ll get back to you with more help. In the meantime move on to Step 2: what you’ll say…
Step 2: Decide what you’ll say
Sit down at your desk (or home if that’s where you are now), and pretend several dear patients/clients are with you. What would you say? Make a few notes for yourself as you go through these thought starters…
> In context of your practice area, what may we be ignoring, forgetting about as a result of being absorbed by rapid-fire changes? (Think: good news and gratitudes, gentle reminders, or tips.)
> From your local vantage point, what should we patients bear in mind, both related to this urgent situation, and/or related to maintaining health in your practice area overall?
> What do you wish you could explain, coach or encourage for their wellbeing?
> How can we take advantage of this turbulent time to establish new habits? What support or encouragement might you offer?
> Your patients likely want to know about you, your staff and families—how are you adjusting, progressing, handling healthy living?
> You know your practice area better than anyone; what other information, reflections or updates would be helpful?
Step 3: Record your message
Neither fancy studio nor fancy clothes are required. Wear what you’d normally wear to see patients/clients, or business casual. Pull out your phone’s camera (switched to video), or position your computer’s webcam in front of you. Take a deep breath, and hit record. If you’ve chosen Facebook live, just go live as normal.
Be yourself. Speak clearly; don’t rush. A smaller room may provide better acoustics. Use your notes as your guide, but don’t read like a script. Make it as long or short as needed. If you have a LOT to say, break it into several messages and deliver a day or more apart.
Before you say goodbye, let them know how and when they can reach you or your office – operating hours or social media or email etc.
Step 4: Draft and send your email
For the subject line, summarize your topic as a title, specifying it’s a video, to prompt more people to open it (19% more, some studies say).
In the body of the email, there’s no need to have more than a few sentences of text/copy in the email—unless you want to—just a short intro to your topic will do, along with any specific details they need (e.g., if you’re providing phone numbers, operating hours, or linking to web pages).
Insert the video following your email service provider’s instructions. If you’ve used Facebook Live, take a screenshot of the video once you’re finished, insert the screenshot into your email, create a link to the replay.
Send to your patients and clients. You could send the same one to everyone, or tailor the message to specific segments if you’re ambitious.
Please take this action to connect with patients — you have so much value to offer, and while it may look different than your usual one-on-one in-person share, this is a perfect time to share it.
Longer term, email is just one piece of the optimal communication program you’ll want to develop for optimal patient (or client) engagement and retention. If this is an area you’d like to strengthen, check out our free, comprehensive guide.