Most healthcare professionals (HCPs) increasingly prefer email over other communication channels, such as sales calls and direct mail. As face time between sales reps and their targeted HCPs drastically decreases, healthcare marketers must explore innovative email strategies to increase HCP engagement.
While email content deserves careful planning and execution, the most perfectly conceived and designed email won't deliver results, if your target audience never opens or reads it. Creative elements, including from names, subject lines, and preheaders affect open rates, but there are other, often neglected factors that strongly influence this metric. Learn how HCP behavior differs by specialty and how you can use this knowledge to boost email opens.
Office Hours by Specialty
The daily work routine of a suburban primary care provider affiliated with a hospital network, employing hospitalists to treat inpatients is vastly different from that of an OB-GYN working at a level one trauma center in a major city. The primary care provider likely has a regular eight-to-five schedule with a tightly managed patient load and time for administrative activities, such as checking email.
The OB-GYN, on the other hand, has an erratic schedule and can only check email on the fly. Therefore, the time of deployment can have a significant impact on open rates. Consider the differences in each specialty’s schedule to determine the optimal day of the week and time of the day for deployment.
Seasonal Changes in Patient Load
Come spring, pollen and other allergens thicken the air, leading to an uptick in the number of patients that allergists see. The Wall Street Journal reported that cosmetic surgeons see a huge increase in procedures during the winter holidays, when it's easier for people to go "underground" for a few days and hide the evidence of healing.
Email campaigns have a better chance at success, if they address the right issues at the right time. An allergist probably won't engage with an email announcing a webinar at the height of allergy season, but might read a white paper about a novel mechanism of action or look into a new program that helps patients get discounted drugs.
If you're targeting all of the HCPs in a large multi-specialty practice, tailor deployment by specialty to boost open rates. Why deliver your email to a radiologist at 8 p.m., when she’s already been home for two hours, engaged in personal pursuits? On the other hand, a cardiothoracic surgeon with 14-hours of procedures might just be getting around to his inbox late in the evening. DMD’s benchmark data on email behavior by specialty optimizes deployment schedules, leading to higher open rates.
Getting the right message delivered to the right HCP at the right time is the key to email marketing success. These three factors will help you get the timing right.