The importance of email in your digital marketing strategy is impossible to overstate. "Email is by far the preferred non-human communication route, with 66% of doctors citing it as a preference," according to Tracy Staton of Fierce Pharma. And, as pharmaceutical salesforces contract and the number of physicians who don't see sales reps skyrockets, email increasingly becomes the most effective healthcare communication channel.
Given email's premiere role in pharmaceutical marketing, it is astonishing that so many brand managers report anemic results on their physician email campaigns. To succeed in the competitive healthcare environment, you need to exploit every advantage of this powerful communication channel. How can you make sure your emails outperform your competitions’?
One important and often overlooked plank in improving your email campaign is render testing. The healthcare industry is notoriously slow in adapting to changes in email behavior. While 60 percent of HCP emails are opened on mobile devices, only 5 percent of physician emails are optimized for mobile. Studies show that 80 percent of consumers immediately delete an email they can't read on their mobile device. At all costs, your emails should work seamlessly across all the devices and email software your clients are using.
Subject lines are another important component deserving special attention. Shorter is always better, especially with HCP emails. Your recipient will spend less than a second deciding whether to open your message, so get your value proposition down in just a few words. With the increased emphasis on mobile, it's best to limit the length of the subject line to fit within the maximum iPhone display, which is 35 characters or fewer. Why worry about the iPhone's limitations? Because an astonishing 95 percent of mobile HCP emails are opened on an iOS device.
Don't neglect the preheader, another important piece of email real estate. It's one of the three pieces of information that help the recipient decide to open your email, so use it to your advantage. Use a content teaser, reinforce a call-to-action, give the reader an incentive to open your message – you have 100 characters to craft powerful content. Just don't cede this valuable space to a generic "If you're having trouble viewing this message" blurb.
Of course, a beautifully designed and functional email won't save your campaign if you have a weak email database. Even agencies with large proprietary databases often supplement or replace them, depending on campaign objectives. As experienced marketers know, all email databases are not created equal. The best HCP email databases:
• Are authenticated
• Contain NPs and PAs
• Include practice/affiliation data
• Note prescribing behavior and email behavior
• Updated daily
Once you've done the hard work of designing your email to maximize its potential, carefully define and segment your target audience. Detailed segmentation lets you fine-tune your content, increasing its relevance and potential for response. Email service provider MailChimp found that audience segmenting boosted open rates by 15 percent. Consider the HCPs' preferences for email communication, and grab their attention with content that is meaningful and specific to them.