Brand managers marketing to healthcare professionals (HCPs) already appreciate email's allure as a marketing tool. It's inexpensive, it's easy to test, and it allows you to really focus your message on your target audience. Email is undeniably powerful, but it’s important to recognize that print materials aren’t fading so quickly; according to a 2012 survey by CMI/Compas.
Many marketers develop email campaigns as an extension to the overall print campaign. On the surface, it seems logical to adapt print communication to digital communication. In reality, this approach fails to exploit the unique qualities of the email communication channel and dilutes the power of the platform.
Print materials are concrete, which means HCPs can read them at their leisure or save them for later use. Because of this, print communication tends to have heavy content and rich design. Email, on the other hand, is immediate and temporary. Within the healthcare industry, mobile is frequently read on-the-go. If the subject line doesn't grab the reader's attention, the email quite literally gets cast aside like yesterday’s news.
Highlight compelling, attention-grabbing morsels of information, rather than large, splashy, and comprehensive displays. Instead of designing emails like print’s little brother, design them for functionality and usability first. Then, add in creative elements. We must meet the unique demands of mobile technology, as the vast majority of HCP email is opened on a mobile device.
While email presents challenges, it also presents unique opportunities. Email can be designed and deployed very quickly, allowing marketers to capitalize on the latest news and events generating interest in the provider community. Email's agility is a powerful asset for marketers.
Fortunately, HCP email design best practices have been studied, tested, and developed over time. Unfortunately, most brand managers aren't employing them, which detracts from the power of email. Practices to avoid are:
- Repurposing print and Web content
- Failing to segment your email list
- Deploying emails without personalizing them
- Opting for a quick and easy "spray and pray" approach
- Neglecting the optimization on subject line and pre-header
Perhaps the most important element in HCP email design is optimizing for mobile. Emails designed for PCs are DOA in today's mobile environment. To leverage the power of mobile, account for the four email design pillars of the mobile platform: screen size, mobile navigation behavior, mobile "mentality," and the limitations of the mobile network. In other words, HCP emails should be light on graphics, easy to navigate, and presented in complete and compelling bite-sized pieces that fit comfortably on a compact screen.
Communication in the digital world is fast and succinct. To capitalize on email’s powerful assets, think lean, clean, personal, and mobile.