If you took your car in for a tune-up and the service manager threw in a set of new tires for free, your first reaction might be excitement. What a deal!
Almost immediately, though, you’d start to question the quality of those tires. Are they new, safe, and reliable? How will they handle in bad weather or on a windy mountain road? How long will they last?
Now suppose your email services provider offered you a physician email list for next to nothing. Would similar alarm bells go off? They should.
Secondary Sourcing is Unreliable
The success of any pharma email marketing campaigns depends on having accurate, up-to-date physician email addresses. Many email lists claim to meet this standard, but it’s only possible through first-party sourcing, or directly obtaining addresses from the physicians themselves.
Unfortunately, most inexpensive email databases are compiled from secondary sources. This may involve: list scraping (that is, using a human or a bot to grab email addresses off a website), list compiling (siphoning email addresses from preexisting lists), list manufacturing (using a known email address of an HCP in a hospital system to create email addresses of other HCPs in that same system), researching publicly available office email addresses, or other questionable techniques.
Secondary sourcing is illegal in the U.S. under the CAN-SPAM Act. Scrapers, compilers, and email manufacturers operate unethically by using underpaid offshore labor to do the work. Regardless, you don’t know if the email addresses on your list are valid, in use, or actually associated with the HCPs they claim to represent. In addition, the HCPs were never given the chance to opt in.
Institutional Email Addresses are Ineffective
When HCPs actively seek professional information from a medical journal, website, or newsletter, they typically provide their preferred email address.
Secondary sourcing also results in lists that are weighted to institutional email addresses, because those addresses are readily available online. Yet office addresses don’t provide an effective way to reach physicians.
Hospitals and clinics often automatically assign office email addresses to their HCPs, but it's rare that physicians use them as their primary email account. In fact, many never use them at all. Most provider organizations also implement stringent spam filters in their email servers, which means email messages sent to office addresses are more likely to land in a provider’s spam folder than her inbox.
By comparison, when HCPs actively seek professional information from a medical journal, website, or newsletter, they typically provide their preferred email address.
A Cheap List is a Poor Investment
An inexpensive database may seem like a bargain at first, but it almost always ends up costing more in the long run. If your email campaigns don’t achieve the anticipated results, you may be forced to purchase additional email addresses or schedule extra deployments.
Worse, you run the risk of alienating high-value prescribers. Brands that send duplicate emails, deploy too frequently, or share content physicians find irrelevant may begin to be associated with spam. Once this happens, open rates decline and it’s very difficult to regain your audience’s attention and trust.
Compete on Quality
A quality physician email database solves all of these challenges by including only first-party sourced, opted-in, and authenticated email addresses. When you send an email to one of these addresses, deliverability is virtually guaranteed.
You can segment your audience, develop multiple targeted messages, and be confident that the intended doctor will receive valuable content in a timely manner. Ultimately, this kind of responsible email marketing pays off in stronger brand loyalty and greater email marketing ROI.