Storytelling is an ingrained part of the human experience. From cave drawings to stories passed on through oral tradition to today’s 140-character messages, humans see themselves and shape the world around them through stories. According to MarketingLand columnist Peter Minnium, “good stories can function as potent strategic business tools.” If a story speaks directly to its audience, an emotional connection can be forged. When pharma marketers write email marketing messages to support that connection, campaigns are most likely to succeed.
No matter the medium, the components of a story that resonate – especially in business – keep the consumer’s identity in mind. Simply, people care most about things that affect them and things that are relevant to them. It stands to reason, then, that the more we know about the audience, the more relevance that can be given to marketing messages. And for HCPs, that means not just understanding their specialty, but the kinds of patients they see most often, the specific drugs they prescribe, and the procedures they specialize in.
Storytelling in Marketing Begins in the Inbox
The whole reason people tell stories is to create a connection with the audience. That’s the magic of great storytelling. In general, people respond best when:
- their core concerns are understood
- helpful information is offered, and
- the message is delivered at a convenient time to consume it.
Within an HCP marketing strategy, leveraging the email channel to tell a story is critical. It begins in an HCP’s cluttered inbox. We grab their attention by writing concise, informative subject lines and preheaders that tease the email’s content. In less than a second, the email is either opened or sent to the trash.
If the subject line has been successful, the HCP has opened the email and has a general idea about its content. Since healthcare professionals are checking their email from a mobile device in spare moments, content must be written to be easily consumed. Bold headlines, bulleted items, and image-free emails allow the HCP to easily scan the email, absorb the information, and take action.
Telling the Right Story to the Right Person
Once the attention of the HCP has been captured, the email message must be relevant to where they are in the customer journey. If the goal of an email campaign is to boost prescriptions, the content that is being sent to high prescribers and low prescribers must be different. To the high prescribers, they might send a reinforcing marketing message that links to a recent success story attributed to the product. To the low prescribers, the email could link to a case study, introduce a new indication, or incentivize HCPs by offering patient coupons. Aligning the messaging with each group of HCPs builds trust that any future emails arriving in their inbox will offer them something of value.
Storytelling is an intrinsic human characteristic, and savvy marketers create “sticky” memories by customizing email marketing messages to specific audiences. Rx brands that can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others to build trust and establish rapport over time.