Clinical trial patient recruitment strategies that take place entirely online have some major disadvantages when compared with print materials. This is a surprising statement to many people, considering the migration of so many marketing activities online. But for many important reasons—and sometimes precisely because so much other marketing is competing for attention online—print remains one of your clinical research organization’s most powerful tools in informing people about upcoming trials and encouraging them to respond in a timely manner.
Focus and Comprehension
Scientific research consistently confirms that a person reading a printed piece of material finds it much easier to focus on the content, comprehend it, and transfer it to long-term memory than the same person reading a digital version of the same content. The reasons behind this greater comprehension are not immediately apparent, but are powerful all the same. The more senses a person exercises while taking in information, the more effectively he processes it. Simply holding a clinical trial patient recruitment postcard while reading it makes it a stronger influence than text across a computer screen.
In fact, the entire process leading up to actually reading the material in a recruitment postcard also plays a part in focus and comprehension. Removing the postcard from the mailbox, checking the name in the address, analyzing the overall subject, and deciding to read the content all prepare the recipient to respond positively to the message.
We may not consciously think about having an emotional connection to the content that we read, either online or offline, but as emotional beings, we develop an emotional response to almost every impulse we experience. When reading yet another email that shows up in our inbox, we tend to dismiss it along with the other marketing messages of the day. If a potential clinical trial volunteer does that with your site’s clinical trial patient recruitment email, your effort has been wasted. There are several ways that a mailed postcard or flyer encourages a stronger emotional response; one of the most important is the use of the intended recipient’s name in the address line and throughout the message. When a piece of mail is specifically addressed to a member of the household, it indicates that the sender desired to reach out personally to that member. Thus an emotional connection is already being fostered, before the recipient even opens the envelope or turns the postcard over to read the content.
Ease of Reading
You don’t need to look far to find studies concerning the physical strain of staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time. In today’s culture of constant computer usage, many people (either consciously or subconsciously) enjoy any opportunity to close the laptop and engage in a more traditional form of communication. Trading the convenience of an email blast for the friendly, personal approach of direct mail is an easy decision if your first priority is getting your contact to develop a positive view of your organization.
The factor of reading ease becomes exponentially more important when your clinical trial patient recruitment effort is focused on elderly volunteers. Young people, for whom digital communication has become a central part of life, are usually surprised to learn just how many elderly people rarely or never use email at all. An online recruitment strategy is doomed to miss those valuable potential volunteers, while direct mail is effective in reaching both tech-savvy and traditional-minded individuals.
The very low cost of many forms of online marketing, such as email blasts and social media posting, have tempted millions of companies and organizations to move their marketing activities online. The sheer volume of digital marketing messages that people face every day is a powerful reason for you to choose another avenue of contact when recruiting study volunteers. The mailbox may contain three or four retail ads in addition to your recruitment postcard, but that is nothing compared to dozens of social media ads and email promotions. An oversized postcard or flyer that conveys a professional tone can easily rise above cheap “junk mail” more easily than your email message can escape being deleted instead of read.
Contact us to learn more reasons why your clinical trial patient recruitment strategy should emphasize print materials instead of online marketing.