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5 Solid Reasons Telehealth Companies Must Send Patients Handwritten Notes [+Examples]
Telehealth saved the day when the entire United States was locked down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people were forced to stay at home and rely on telehealth to help them get the medical care they needed. But, telehealth isn’t the same as an in-person appointment.
There’s no one-on-one interaction, and the provider can’t physically examine the patient. These two issues alone make for a lonely, impersonal experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Handwritten notes are proven to reach open rates of nearly 100%. If you want to build a stronger relationship with telehealth patients, it’s time to add handwritten notes to your telehealth marketing.
First, let’s learn more about the amazing power of handwritten notes across all industries.
Handwritten Marketing Stats to Blow Your Mind
Since handwritten notes are the center of this blog post, let’s review some statistics so you can see why we’re so adamant about using them.
The Data & Marketing Association found when people interact with handwritten mail:
- 92% engaged in digital or online activity
- 87% were encouraged to purchase online
- 86% connected online with a business
- 54% interacted on social media
- 43% downloaded a file
Spectrum Marketing reports partnering direct mail with other marketing strategies earns up to 112% return on investment (ROI). Direct mail and SMS (text) marketing are the only tactics that pay YOU to send them.
Serial marketing entrepreneur Neil Patel wrote a piece on direct mail effectiveness. He shared that “prospect response rate increased by 190%,” from 2015 to 2016 and that was just the beginning.
Then you have Report Linker which reported direct mail has an 86% higher response rate than email.
The consensus is that direct mail works and these stats, among hundreds of others, prove it.
How Do Telehealth Companies Typically Interact With Patients?
Handwritten marketing notes have been around for millennia, but it’s certainly not the only option. Here are five common platforms used by telehealth companies to communicate with patients.
Email’s been around for over 50 years. The first email campaign was launched in 1978 by the Digital Equipment Corporation, and the email blast reached 400 homes and resulted in $13 million in sales.
At its peak, email marketing was wildly effective, and businesses took advantage of it. But, eventually, a few bad apples turned into millions of bad apples, and email marketing fell out of favor. Digital overload, they call it.
Quick Fact: “Consumers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails,” says Statista.
2. Text Message
The first-ever text message was sent on December 3, 1992. It was a one-way message that simply said, “Merry Christmas.” Who would have thought a 22-year-old engineer would change the world with just two words?
Today, SMS (text) marketing is still in its infancy, but early statistics are promising. Thrive Agency shares that 43% of people proactively contact businesses via text. However, only 33% of people get a response. With a 98% open rate, companies that fail to reply leave money on the table.
Quick Fact: Recipients rank text messages from businesses they already know as being the most valuable, claims 99 Firms.
3. Social Media
At the beginning of 2022, nearly four billion people were active on social media, and adults spend over 90 minutes daily on social platforms. Based on user growth statistics, the use of every major social platform has declined dramatically. For example:
- Facebook saw 3.3% user growth in 2020 but decreased the following year to 0.8% growth.
- Twitter recorded 4% user growth in 2020 and only 0.2% growth in 2021.
- The most significant decline in user growth was on TikTok, which went from 87% growth in 2020 to 18.3% growth in 2021. (Statistics from Sprout Social.)
That’s not to say social media is a goner by any means. These stats mean social media marketing is nearing its peak.
Quick Fact: “Answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by 25%,” shares Convince & Convert.
A website is your business’s luxury real estate online. When best practices for design are applied and the right content is created and published, your website is a powerful representation of who you are as a business; your brand persona.
Telehealth providers are all the same on paper; all you get is a formal photograph of a healthcare professional in a white lab coat with a school photo pose. That’s not who the provider is, but it’s all potential, and current patients have to go on unless the website allows visitors to learn more about the provider’s background, qualifications, and personality.
Teladoc provides the perfect example. In addition to your standard bio, providers can explain who they are, why they chose the profession, and what sets them apart from their colleagues.
Quick Fact: “An effective website can increase your visibility to potential patients and help you to grow your practice. Not only will it improve your search engine rankings but also make it easy for patients to see that you are the best provider for their needs,” according to O360 for Doctors.
Why are Handwritten Notes Ideal for Telehealth Marketing?
Aside from the fact that research into handwritten notes reveals an underutilized tool that’s wildly effective, why else should telehealth marketing include handwritten notes?
1. Telehealth lacks a personal, human connection.
When Covid-19 hit, and the healthcare system was overwhelmed with patients, telehealth saved the day. Providers connected with patients in a virtual setting allowing new and continued care without needing face-to-face visits.
It’s instrumental in mental health care, but there’s a significant piece of the quality care pie that’s missing. Physical interaction with healthcare professionals benefits both provider and patient, and that’s what using handwritten notes for telehealth marketing is all about.
Not every contact with a patient will trigger a handwritten note, but emotional touchpoints are always a great place to start.
Instead of every communication, try to send a handwritten note:
- After a new patient appointment, reassure them you understand what they’re experiencing and that you’re confident your care will help them feel better.
- After a new diagnosis, reiterate the importance of following the established care plan and share the information they need to take control of their health.
- After a couple of months of treatment, check in to see how the patient is feeling and ask if they have any questions or concerns.
There are thousands of reasons to send a handwritten note to telehealth patients and zero reasons not to.
2. Patients are more likely to open, read & keep handwritten notes.
Open and read rates for handwritten direct mail hovers between 90% and 100%. Compare that to email with a 20% to 30% range, and you see why handwritten notes are a powerful tool for telehealth providers. Plus, recipients save a direct mail piece for 17 days, on average, even longer if they pin the note to the refrigerator or display it in their home.
It also helps that handwritten notes can “boost [patient] confidence with personal communication” and “improve [patient] loyalty,” according to the blog post Handwritten Notes: The Be-All, End-All Guide You Need.
3. Emails are often overlooked due to digital overload.
Email’s been the go-to platform for businesses for decades. But, American Express believes “increased communications across email and social media may be contributing to a growing sense of digital fatigue and overload.” Their suggestion? Send snail mail (in conjunction with other marketing tactics) to reignite relationships.
When you consider that the average reader spends just 10 seconds interacting with a brand email, it further supports the idea that handwritten notes, with that 17-day keep period, are considered more trustworthy than spam messages. That’s especially true with younger consumers who grew up correlating the word spam with email.
4. Handwritten notes promote word-of-mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is a phenomenon of free marketing. Remember how people tend to keep direct mail for 17 days on average? During that time, the handwritten notes are typically either attached to a refrigerator or parked on a desk or table.
Consider this scenario: Your telehealth patient receives a handwritten note from you just checking in to see how things are going. They’re touched by the fact that you sent a written note, not some impersonal email or text message.
They want to remember to share the note with their partner, so they attach it to the refrigerator. The following week, a friend visits the patient’s home and starts talking about their healthcare provider and how disconnected they feel from their healthcare team.
The patient remembers the note, takes it down, and shares it with their friend. Now their friend has a new perspective on telehealth services and decides to switch providers. The handwritten note is the reason they change. As the flywheel of word-of-mouth marketing begins to gain traction, more and more new patients are referred to the practice.
5. People of all ages want to receive more mail.
According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), “79% of consumers find reading mail more convenient than going online,” and “43% of 25-34 year-olds said they read mail immediately and find it useful,”
Why do people want to receive more mail? SBA.gov says, “One reason is a higher trust factor. Younger consumers don’t associate direct mail with “junk mail” the way older consumers do. They’re more likely to attach that label to email.”
Trust is a critical factor in telehealth marketing because trust breeds cash. SBA.gov agreed when they shared that “direct mail campaigns generate purchases five times larger than email campaigns.”
Other Uses for Handwritten Notes in Telehealth Marketing
We could list hundreds of other uses for handwritten notes in telehealth marketing, but five of the most important include:
- Lead Nurturing
- Thank You Notes
- Company Updates
- Appointment Reminders
- Valuable Information
To better understand how these work in action, let’s go through several examples of handwritten notes tailored to telehealth marketing.
Examples of Handwritten Notes in Telehealth Marketing
Feel free to use these samples as templates for your handwritten notes. For even more examples, samples, and templates, check out the Audience.co blog.
1. New Patient Welcome
I’m Dr. Jim Dunn from JD Telehealth, writing to welcome you to our practice. It looks like you met with Dr. Sally Ride for a dermatology appointment last week. Dr. Ride is a fantastic specialist who’s taken telehealth to the next level.
I’d love to know how your first appointment with Dr. Ride went. Did they answer all your questions? Did they make you feel at ease? Did they recommend a treatment plan?
Please scan the QR code below (open your phone camera and point it at the code) to answer a short survey about your experience. Your feedback helps us improve our services and better serve you.
Again, welcome to the family, Lucy!
Dr. Jim Dunn
2. New Diagnosis Information
I’m Nurse Nick from JD Telehealth, sending along a note to share important information about your new diagnosis of Psoriasis. Based on your recent meeting with Dr. Ride, I’ve put together a personalized care plan. Most of the information Dr. Ride covered in the appointment, but I’m pretty sure you weren’t taking a bunch of notes.
When you scan the QR code below, you’ll access a 10-page care plan with detailed information on Psoriasis, treatment options, suggested lifestyle changes, and more.
We’re currently working on the preapproval process for your insurance to ensure you pay the lowest possible price for your treatment. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Nick Jones, RN
3. Checking In
You’ve been taking Skyrizi for psoriasis for the last six months. Your next appointment with Dr. Ride isn’t due for another two months, so we’re writing to check in on your progress and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
We’ve put together a survey of questions to help us better understand your experience with Skyrizi and the effects/side effects you’ve experienced thus far. Many of the questions were added by Dr. Ride to help her plan for your next appointment.
If you scan the QR code below, you’ll access a 10-question survey with a separate text box where you can leave notes and ask your own questions.
Nick Jones, RN
4. Lead Nurturing
I’m Dr. Jim Dunn with JD Telehealth. We’ve been working with adults in and around your neighborhood for the last two years, helping improve their health and quality of life.
I’m not writing to ask you to sign up for anything or make an appointment. I wanted to introduce myself and the telehealth services we offer.
When you scan the QR code below, you’ll access a personal 5-page report I’ve put together to tell you more about our history, providers, and health services we offer.
Have a fantastic day!
Dr. Jim Dunn
5. Thank You
It’s Dr. Ride from JD Telehealth – how are you? I’m sending this note to thank you for being an attentive, proactive patient focused on health and wellness. I work with many patients daily, and without hesitation, I wish more were like you!
At the risk of sounding redundant, thank you for being a part of our JD Telehealth family.
I’ll see you on your next visit!
Dr. Sally Ride
6. Company Updates
It’s Nurse Nick with JD Telehealth writing with a few company updates I believe would interest you.
- We’ve added a PA to our dermatology team. In addition to seeing patients, they’ll also work with the pre-authorization department to speed up the approval process.
- Dr. Dunn will be out until the 1st of the year. All of Dr. Dunn’s patients are being covered by Dr. Lee Holt or Dr. Sally Ride.
- With the holiday season upon us, JD Telehealth will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The emergency line will be staffed 24/7/365, as always.
I hope this note finds you and yours well!
Nick Jones, RN
7. Appointment Reminder
Dr. Ride wanted me to send a quick reminder for your appointment next Thursday, October 23, at 8:30 am. You’ll receive a link 30 minutes before the scheduled time. Please sign in at least 15 minutes early so I can take your vitals and talk with you before Dr. Ride comes on.
Scan the QR code below to verify your appointment or request a new date and/or time that better fits your schedule.
See you soon,
Nick Jones, RN
8. Share Valuable Information
It’s Dr. Ride, your dermatologist at JD Telehealth. After your last appointment, Nurse Nick said you were interested in learning more detailed information on psoriasis. I’ve spent some time researching more in-depth sources and wanted to share some information with you.
I’ve created a patient-specific report on psoriasis, with links to online resources and trusted information like studies and research. I’m sure you’ll find some helpful information and if the reading sparks questions, send me a message from your patient portal, and I’ll answer them ASAP.
I hope this helps!
Dr. Sally Ride
A Quick Look Back at Why Telehealth Marketing Should Include Handwritten Notes
Why should telehealth marketing include handwritten notes? They have higher open, read, and keep rates, people want to see more mail in their mailbox, they trust mail more than email (even the younger crowd), and it gives an impersonal practice a very personal feel.
Handwritten notes for telehealth marketing just work!