Marketing email lists are much like purebred dogs; they require proper grooming and handling. The origin and continual maintenance of your email list is the foundation of your email campaign success- the bottom line is, lineage matters. Below, we'll explore the concept of a list pedigree and discuss what you can do to keep your list current and relevant.
Examining Your Email List's Origins and Relevance
Too many healthcare professional (HCP) marketers blindly rely on an email list without evaluating its source. The source can make a big difference in a list's credibility and usefulness to you. Here are the most important questions to ask about your list's pedigree:
- Did your company purchase the email list, or did you obtain it from a professional conference or a similar source?
- How old is the list?
- Has anyone ever used the list to deploy marketing emails before?
- Is the list from the national provider information (NPI) registry or the American Medical Association?
The Perils of Unauthenticated Email Lists
If you discover that your company purchased your current email list from an unreliable source, this is good news: you’ve just identified the source of your plummeting campaign analytics. In most cases, purchased lists include HCPs that have not opted in to receive your marketing messages. As a result, the engagement and deliverability rates are abysmal. There is simply no comparison to an organically built list of voluntary recipients.
The middle ground lies in purchasing a verified list that has been scrubbed clean of old contact information, deceased or retired physicians, or military personnel with limited prescribing rights. An authenticated list eliminates invalid addresses, which yields higher delivery rates and lower bounce rates, ensuring full value from your investment. A strong list also includes deep demographics, such as:
- Secondary specialty
- Program completion year
- FIPS code
- Present employer
- Program year
- Board certification
- Address type
- Facility type
These detailed data profiles allow marketers to customize each email campaign for the HCPs they want to reach. Specialized, high-quality contacts cost up to $3.00 per contact, while the lower end lists could run you $0.50 per contact. The upfront investment for a well-maintained list reaps the benefit of greater campaign success.
Furthermore, purchased lists are against the law in some places. For example, Canada recently passed anti-spam legislation that forbids the use of any campaigns not based on expressed audience consent. While such lists are still technically allowed in the United States, your open rates will plummet, if your users consistently receive emails they never requested.
Authentication Practices of an AMA vs. NPI Email List
Medical marketing campaign success depends on the authentication of HCPs on your list. To determining the authentication methods applied to your list, look at its source. On one hand, the NPI registry offers publicly available HCP information, which means NPI lists won't cost you anything. On the other hand, NPI information doesn’t include all physicians and is intended only for billing purposes, not for marketing.
By contrast, the AMA Physician Masterfile tracks more than 1.4 million physicians and medical students. The AMA also has quality controls in place to assess the accuracy of the contact information and the status of the physician (e.g., active, retired, or deceased).
Well-Groomed, Well-Bred Lists Equal Higher ROI
Lists developed from a credible source that receives the consent of HCPs, immediately removes opt-outs, and confirms HCPs preferred email addresses have an astronomically higher ROI, because they minimize waste. They narrow your target audience, making your email campaigns far more effective. Additionally, smaller lists mean lower campaign deployment costs.
Where your email list came from and how well you groom it will directly affect your campaign results. Obtain a list from a reliable source and keep that list current to hone your audience, target your efforts, and minimize waste.