You may have heard it called the spray-and-pray, shotgun, or batch-and-blast approach to email marketing. Healthcare marketers of that philosophy build huge lists of healthcare professionals (HCPs) and indiscriminately send them mass, generic emails. The only problem is that the shotgun approach to email marketing is the equivalent of an eight-track tape in a digital world.
If you're still using this method – even for just part of the year – you are seriously eroding your engagement levels. Market segmentation is the far more effective alternative. The results you'll see by honing your email list will show you that bigger doesn't mean better.
Shotgun Email Campaigns Devastate Your ROI
The way many healthcare marketers currently conduct email campaigns is analogous to blindfolding people, handing them shotguns, and expecting accuracy. In the beginning of the year, marketers usually cast a wide net with a huge list. They try to reach the maximum number of HCPs and assess their audience's response. Their email lists are largely unsegmented and undefined.
During the second half of the year, marketers have a come-to-Jesus moment. They realize that ROI is abysmal with the spray-and-pray approach and turn their focus to a more targeted approach that improves engagement. At this point, though, the damage of unsubscribes may already be done to the point of no return. Even if ROI is salvageable, marketers have to scramble to see any real results.
Keep Engagement Levels Consistently High by Starting with a Targeted Campaign
Rather than frantically doing damage control the second half of every year, why not start with the strategy that gives you results? By using smarter data in the beginning of the year, you'll see higher engagement levels from the start and spare yourself the end-of-year scrambling. A smaller list of engaged HCPs is worth infinitely more than a gigantic list of indifferent HCPs. The results of targeted campaigns can be astronomical. For example, a Marketing Sherpa case study saw a company raise its conversion rates 208 percent when it switched from a batch-and-blast approach to a targeted approach.
Segment Your List and Focus on a Target Audience to Increase ROI
Successful email marketing hinges on data-informed precision. To boost your ROI, think about how you can better segment your email list. For example, rather than sending the same email to all HCPs in a group practice, you might design separate emails for second-tier prescribers (i.e., nurse practitioners and physician assistants). You might also target a specific location, such as territories with a number of HCPs but no sales reps.
Measure the Results of Targeted Campaigns to Further Refine Your List
Once you have a target list, track the results of the campaign to further prune and segment your email list. Track the HCPs on your list who are engagers, clickers, and openers to see what's working. By the same token, tracking the non-engagers will help you tweak your content or deployment tactics to move them forward.
The batch-and-blast approach to email marketing doesn't work in most industries, and healthcare marketing is no different. Blasting a large, unsegmented list will raise your unsubscribe rates and may affect the deliverability of your messages. By contrast, a smaller, highly refined list will raise ROI and significantly boost your engagement levels.