In the pharmaceutical industry, Dear Doctor letters are a fact of life. Black box warnings, recall events, labeling updates, and changes in prescribing information must all be conveyed to prescribers. Patient safety makes Dear Doctor letters essential. Yet, marketers often struggle to produce them efficiently.
This is especially true when pharma companies rely on direct mail to meet FDA guidelines for Dear Doctor letters. Creating, printing, and mailing direct mail pieces is expensive and time consuming. And, in paperless medical offices, keeping track of them becomes a chore.
When it comes to Dear Doctor letters, email is a better option. Email provides a reliable way to:
- Reinforce brand awareness. Email makes it easy to develop standardized templates that you can repurpose for multiple Dear Doctor campaigns. You can craft a message using a template with a clinical, rather than promotional, design. Then you can carry relevant copy and design elements forward to ensure brand consistency throughout subsequent campaigns.
- Generate goodwill. A Dear Doctor email campaign is a simple way to generate goodwill among your prescribers. Though email usage patterns vary by specialty, physicians overwhelmingly prefer email for brand communications. By delivering Dear Doctor letters to the email address they check most frequently, you make it easy for them to keep track of essential communications. They don’t have to watch for print notifications; they no longer have to scan critical information into their online files.
- Maintain online engagement. When you use the email channel for Dear Doctor letters, email from your company can no longer be associated only with brand promotion. Instead, it becomes a source of essential information. This gives physicians a reason to pay closer attention to your emails. It also provides them with a record of ongoing communication, in case they need to double-check data or follow up with questions.
- Collect reporting on reach. Using email for Dear Doctor letters allows manufacturers to confirm delivery to the right physicians. With a high-quality database, you can reach all prescribing healthcare professionals, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants. When you use email, you can also assess impact, opens, and engagement.
- Save time and money. Writing and producing an email letter is inherently faster than creating a printed piece. Using pre-approved email templates saves even more time by reducing the number of MLR reviews. Email Dear Doctor campaigns also generate tremendous savings on paper, printing, and postal costs. It’s not uncommon to save 50% or more on an email campaign, versus a print campaign.
- Go green. Some of the same factors that lower your cost—materials and mailing—reduce the environmental impact of your deployment too. Depending on the number of prescribers you need to reach, you can expect to decrease carbon emissions by as much as 75%.
Using the email channel for Direct Doctor letters isn’t absolutely foolproof. You’ll get a few bounces, but far fewer than the high number of returns typical of direct mail campaigns. An authenticated HCP database minimizes this problem. When it does happen, simply follow up by sending the original message to that physician via postal mail.