Publicis Touchpoint Solutions recently released the results of its biennial survey of Sermo physicians, confirming observable trends and valuable insight. One of the central takeaways? We must improve digital access and experience, including email, for physicians and their patients.
With 88 percent of physicians using mobile devices in their daily work life, it's not surprising that 68% of all physicians want more medical information emailed to these accessible devices. Additionally, the amount of physicians communicating via email with their patients has increased to 66%. The email charts are rising. Healthcare marketers must recognize the demand for email as a game changer.
Physicians communicate with patients mostly by phone (70 percent) and email (66 percent). Only 46 percent of physicians use snail mail. In fact, according to Fierce Pharma, "Email is by far the preferred non-human communication route, with 66% of doctors citing it as a preference, up from 58% in 2009." Email, especially email campaigns optimized for mobile, satisfy the physician desire to have digital access not only to reps, but also to patients.
Benchmarking Campaign Success
Research has revealed valuable insight into physician email use that can boost your campaign's success. Analyzing data for each email deployment creates:
- Benchmarks for physician email behavior by specialty and by your company’s segmentation classification
- Insight into the best performing day of the week and the time of the day emails are sent
- Actionable results as to which subject line-preheader combinations are most effective in capturing audience engagement
- Valuable experience with mobile design optimization
The Future of Email Marketing
In the future, we can expect the possibility that emails will be designed and populated with content that not only resonates with the physician, but is also suitable for patients to consume. If and when this happens, HCP email marketing best practices will focus on adapting the terminology to make the language understandable for both physicians and their patients. Micro-targeting may also become even more specific to account for unique, secondary audiences, (e.g., urologists who forward informational emails to their patients, which include a high concentration of older males).
The details about how HCP’s are communicating digitally opens up a new frontier in medical marketing metrics; might the email forward rate, which has long been the click through rate’s understudy, emerge as a leading measure of success? Does it not indicate the highest form of engagement when an HCP chooses to refer a colleague to the email’s content?
It's clear that physicians increasingly desire the ease, speed, and convenience of digital technology, specifically email. Logically, the next frontier of marketing to healthcare professionals will revolve around recognizing and creating the marketing journey not only between marketer and physician, but also between physician and patient.