Your impression of other people is rarely the same in the digital world as it is in the physical world. Face-to-face is clearly the most ideal way to communicate (and to recruit physicians) but it isn’t always feasible these days. Most of your work communications are likely done via some form of impersonal electronic communication such as email. And while social networks like Doximity can serve as a much warmer introduction than email, any form of written communication requires a great writing style. Your your writing style will reveal a lot about your personality and professionalism—and reflects your employer brand.
It’s all in the delivery.
Like any first impression, the messages you send to physician candidates via email or social media let them judge you solely based on your tone, punctuation and writing ability. You may come across as educated or unschooled, in high spirits or disgruntled. Quite often, the message you are trying to convey is not what really ends up in a physician’s inbox.
If you look closely at the emails you’ve received in your inbox, you’re likely to see grammatical errors, embarrassing spelling mistakes, incorrect names, silly emoticons, lack of proper greetings, and plain old bad writing. It doesn’t mean the senders are incompetent. It just means that we’ve all gotten a little too hasty.
Email is a powerful form of communication, not a task to race through without thought.
Effective communication (and good writing) takes time: time to formulate your thoughts; time figure out what you’re really trying to say; and time to write your message out in a clear way. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
DocMails are just one channel Doximity Talent Finder offers to engage physician candidates. DocMail is not a mass email solution - instead, it is a medium to deliver personalized messages crafted for specific candidates you’ve researched through Doximity, and they’re a great way to get your opportunity to the right physician candidate. We see successful connections made every day via DocMail. We also see some common mishaps, but we're here to help you change that.
We put a few guidelines together to help you develop an effective messaging style. Some of them maybe seem obvious (like proofread), but we guarantee your messages will be more effective if you employ these tips.
#1. Write a clear subject line.
The subject line is the gatekeeper; no one will read your stellar message content if they aren't interested enough to open your message in the first place. The subject line is also the first thing people read—and sometimes the only thing people read. BE CLEAR and give the reader a clue about why you’re writing. Think about how many messages you get every day and how easily yours will get lost without attention to a good subject line.
#2. Align your subject line with your message content.
What your subject line promises, the message should deliver (straightforward, professional subject lines typically perform better with physicians). Don't try to be too clever (our best response rates come from straight-forward, professional subjects lines). Misleading subject lines are also annoying or even offesive. It seems like an easy one to remember, but too many people get caught up in the cleverness of their subject line and then wander off track about why they’re writing a message in the first place.
#3. Personalize. Personalize. Personalize.
This is worth reiterating because this is how you establish relevancy and personalization has the single biggest impact on responses. Sadly, it’s also the most overlooked practice. Personalize the opening of your message to explain how you know each other. Make it easy for the recipient to connect the dots relevant to the position and their current practice, including (and especially) ties you’ve already established. Don’t forget professional pleasantries, either; use a greeting and a closing. Whether it’s formal or informal has to do with your relationship, but always open with a “Dear” or “Hello” and close with a “Sincerely” or “Cheers."
#4. Write in the second person.
This means you orient your message towards the reader—not yourself. We’ve seen recruiters use this kind of subject line or opening numerous times: “My client has an urgent need in Chicago!” Think about how it addresses the needs of the candidate? Is it “urgent” for him or her? Are they interested in “your client” or an opportunity for themselves? Address what their interests and goals. Similarly, you should always talk about benefits, not features. To quote an old advertising adage: sell the sizzle, not the steak.
#5. Be brief!
Do you read every word of every message you receive? Probably not. Our guess is you scan for important points, and that’s exactly what your readers are doing, too. So find a way to summarize what the reader will get in a compelling way, and when necessary, let them click through to a page on your website, attach a more detailed document, or encourage them to call you to learn more.
#6. Make it easy to read.
Reading on a computer screen or tablet—or worse, a small phone screen—is a lot harder than reading from a printed sheet of paper. Use short paragraphs and space between your paragraphs. If you’re making points, try using bullets to get the reader through your text easier. And we implore you: don’t use ALL CAPS or all lower case letters (it makes it hard to read) and don’t use strings of exclamation points or asterisks in your subject line thinking it will get attention. Instead, it will look like spam, or desperation.
Spell check won’t catch everything, so make sure you proof and proof some more. Many modern web browsers, such as Google Chrome, have spell check built in but it's not enough. Printing it out and reading it in paper form will make it much easier to catch errors. If you have a colleague who can proof, ask them. Two sets of eyes are always better than one.
If this leaves you wanting more, read An Editor’s Guide to Writing Ridiculously Good Emails from Forbes. One last piece of advice: Preview your messages before you send them. You'll see how it looks to people on the receiving end—it’s surprising how bad formatting, misspellings, bad grammar, lack of introduction or poorly composed messages come across on the end product. It’s a great reality check in the battle to develop a great messaging style.
You can download our DocMail Product Guide here, too, and if you have other tips or examples of great emails, share them with us!