Pharma marketers need to move from thinking of email as a tactic to fully integrating it into their cross-channel marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter if you develop the greatest copy, design, or subject lines in the world; if you don’t make email part of an all-encompassing strategy that engages your customers across multiple channels, it's never going to reach its full potential.
To fully integrate email with your cross-channel marketing plan, you need to consider your email strategy, tactics, and operations. This is the first post in a 3-part series that will explore each of these elements and how they fit into your larger marketing plan. Today we’ll focus on strategy, but we’ll return to tactics and operations very soon.
As you develop your email strategy, you’ll want to address these three goals:
Build Share of Voice
An awful lot of voices are calling out for your HCPs’ attention every day. That’s why a key part of your integrated email strategy has to be figuring out how to make your voice heard above the din. That doesn’t necessarily mean sending the most emails, which is the digital equivalent of screaming. What it does mean is understanding each HCP’s needs and preferences, so you can deploy with the appropriate frequency, at the right time of day, and with the right message.
Hootsuite, a social media management company, recommends that you delight your customers by delivering content that puts a face and personality to your brand. You can do this by telling the human stories behind your company or your product. Or, when it fits with your message, you can make references to current events or other shared interests. Then, you need to be ready to engage directly with your reader’s comments and questions.
These methods have become accepted wisdom for social media, but you can accomplish the same thing with email by using a rep-triggered program that lets you personalize messages and deliver them at precisely the right time, based on your target’s current needs and position in the sales cycle.
Drive Brand Engagement
When it comes to email, calls to action (CTAs) are the key to driving brand engagement. You can deploy as many emails as you like, but until your HCPs take action on them, you’re really not engaging their interest or building their brand loyalty.
To increase the chances that your audience will engage, use clickable CTAs in the “above-the-fold” section of your email, so the reader sees the CTA without having to scroll. Be sure that your subject line, preheader, and CTAs work together to tell a story and make an offer your audience can’t resist. As you complete successive deployments, review your results and refine the wording according to what works best. This may change over time or by segment.
You’ll also want to put some thought into how and where you use CTAs in the body of the email. Will you use one or two? Will they both be located above the fold? What color text gets the most click-throughs? The key to better brand engagement is to design, deploy, review (the data), refine (your CTA), and repeat.
Integrate Your Marketing Channels
You’ll also want to think about email strategy in the context of your other marketing initiatives. For instance, click-through data from an email campaign could provide insight into what kind of direct mail you should send to different specialties. With that in mind, you might plan an email deployment prior to a key direct mail campaign. You could also use email to introduce a social media promotion, or to maintain ongoing communication about an upcoming conference or other industry event. When it comes to personal promotion, rep-triggered email can be especially valuable since reps can use it to schedule personalized emails for delivery before or after any face-to-face interaction.
By considering share of voice, brand engagement, and cross-channel integration, you can develop an effective email strategy that will support your larger marketing objectives. Next you’ll want to consider the specific tactics that will allow your email strategy to be successful. Stay tuned!