Mention the word innovation and most people immediately think of technology—the latest iPhones, surgical robotics, self-driving cars, etc. But, innovation also applies to using familiar tools in new and inventive ways. In digital marketing, email is one of the most familiar and versatile tools. In many cases, email is at the heart of executing entire marketing campaigns.
Gartner, an IT research and consulting company, elegantly proposed that email marketing has moved beyond the “Slope of Enlightenment” and reached the “Plateau of Productivity” in the technology Hype Cycle. Simply put, email is a trusted and mature marketing channel, ripe for innovation by forward-thinking marketing professionals.
According to Email Marketing Europe, the major innovations in email marketing revolve around the way businesses use mobile email marketing and big data for more personalized, triggered, and transactional email. How can we use these email innovations to improve healthcare professional (HCP) email marketing campaigns?
Designing for Mobile
Mobile is an extremely powerful platform within healthcare. Currently, more than 60 percent of HCP emails are opened on a mobile device. We can expect this percentage to accelerate to 100 percent in the coming years, which is why we need to recognize mobile design limitations.
In a recent analysis DMD released to its clients, open rates were 50% higher on mobile devices, but click-through rates were 33% lower. The study also revealed that there was relatively little drift between devices, which underscores the importance of getting it perfect for mobile since you cannot expect that the recipient, once interested, will go to the PC version.
When designing an email, we must consider screen size, mobile navigation behavior, mobile mentality, and variations in mobile networks. Typically, a print marketing piece begins with a broad idea that is then translated into a functional communication element. Often, the print creative elements are repurposed for Web design. A mobile experience begins with the functional element and ends with creating a persuasive idea. Instead of bold, splashy, rich media experiences, mobile requires a thin media design that renders quickly and seamlessly on all devices. Note that 95 percent of HCPs use iPhones or iPads as their mobile device. Because mobile users value time, relevance, and ease of use, we must also consider our approach to email elements, including subject lines, preheaders, and calls to action.
A survey by Experian showed that personalizing subject lines resulted in a 29 percent increase in unique opens and a 41 percent increase in unique click-throughs. While personalization is nothing new in email marketing, personalization beyond "Hi [first name]" is an unfamiliar concept to many HCP marketers who find their reach and engagement opportunities in a tailspin.
Personalization can also be used in developing target markets. Big data allows us to analyze demographics, behavior, even practice mix to micro-target leads and personalize the message to get better results.
Triggered Transactional Emails
Email Insiders Europe reported triggered email use has increased 45 percent over the past three years. For brand managers, adding email triggers, based on a variety of actions or behaviors, delivers real results in terms of engagement. Common HCP actions that could trigger an email include:
- Requesting an e-sample
- Downloading a brochure
- Registering for an event or seminar
Reinvent the innovation of HCP email campaigns to better meet HCPs’ needs, while increasing healthcare marketing ROI.