This is the fifth blog in our "Digital Marketing to Physicians" series. In previous blogs, we discussed the importance of email deliverability, the value of individualized physician data, how digital tools facilitate outreach to physicians, and the appropriateness of using digital tools for health system marketing. This blog will discuss three factors to consider when developing mobile-friendly email marketing campaigns.
A recent article from Business Insider made the simple yet powerful statement of “Digital is inheriting the earth.”
The author goes on to point out that this shift is nowhere near slowing down, with the millennial and Gen X populations increasingly turning to smartphones and tablets as the go-to for digital content consumption. Even baby boomers are becoming fully invested in the mobile movement.
No matter the generation, there is great opportunity to communicate to physicians with digital content, via digital devices.
Integrating Digital Content With Digital Devices
Email is one of the most popular ways to market to health systems. According to statistics from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), 100 percent of healthcare marketers use email to reach their target audiences, and mobile is also a large part of this approach. Unfortunately, many healthcare marketers don’t optimize for mobile. It’s not as straightforward as taking elements from a print campaign and dropping them into an email template or website CMS.
If you’re not weaving mobile into all aspects of the creative and deployment processes of your physician email campaigns, you’re missing out on potential revenue opportunities.
Here are three factors to add to your mobile-ready checklist.
1) Screen Size & Touchscreen Considerations
While screen sizes vary based on model, remember that a smartphone is still a handheld device. Dimensions typically vary from 4 to 7 inches, with the 6 to 7 inch models teetering on tablet territory (nicknamed "phablet"). Responsive design helps eliminate potential issues with font and image sizing, allowing the display to adapt to screen size, screen resolution, and available fonts.
Digital is inheriting the earth.
Touchscreens present limitations not encountered in desktop interactions. Unless you’re using a stylus, the "fat finger" factor becomes problematic. Design emails with finger-friendly CTAs and include white space between hyperlinks. The CTA should be visible in the preview pane to avoid physicians having to look for it. It is also important to break up the content into sections for optimal visual scrolling.
2) Mobile Navigation Behavior
When working with the constraints of screen size, consider mobile navigation behavior. A traditional desktop design might include multiple columns with sidebar CTAs or image boxes that would require horizontal swiping on a mobile device—at best an inconvenience, at worst a reason to unsubscribe.
Instead, design templates for an exclusively vertical swipe. This creates a seamless stream of content and eliminates the risk of the annoying "pinch to expand" gesture or recipients missing content altogether.
3) Mobile Network & Device Constraints
Not everyone has the newest iPhone or Android. Physicians check email on mobile devices more than 60 percent of the time, but they may be using older phones with limited capabilities—in regards to both device constraints and network impediments. While millennial med students are likely up to date on the latest and greatest, seasoned physicians may be slow to adopt new technologies.
You have to account for every type of user, so think in terms of lowest common denominator. For example, large images and animated GIFs may be slow to load or play on slower networks, potentially cutting into the recipients’ data plans and thus wasting both their time and money. Or, images may be blocked entirely, causing frustration and lost opportunity—especially if that image represented your CTA.
Optimizing for mobile relies heavily on these three factors, but for flawless execution, the key is to test, test, test. Only then can you be assured your efforts result in a glitch-free user experience.