Drugs that treat cancer, diabetes, and other diseases are developed with the best intentions. Yet, in recent years, many high-profile pharmaceutical products have come under scrutiny for a wide range of unforeseen shortcomings. A common blood thinner was found to increase the risk of dementia. Problems manufacturing cancer drugs led to a shortage that caused children to relapse. Taking two widely prescribed drugs in combination was found to increase the patient’s risk of hospitalization.
In these situations, bad news leads to public outcry. Pharma manufacturers are then forced to respond within the medical community. Accurate, timely communication and consistent messaging are critical, making email the most effective solution.
Target Your Audience Precisely
Healthcare marketers can rely on email to efficiently address a variety of professional audiences. With the right email database, you can communicate customized messages to physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who prescribe your drug, as well as a different message to the nurses who counsel patients on a daily basis.
You can define your audience precisely based on Rx, CPT, ICD-9, and insurance claims data. You can also target your deployments relative to practice affiliation, hospital affiliation, and insurance plans. This level of specificity allows you to tailor your message and your timing based on specialty, demographics, region, or any number of other relevant factors.
Respond with a Multi-wave Campaign
The best way to respond to these news stories, which tend to unfold over time, is through a multi-wave campaign. For example, to ease immediate concerns of a recall, you might begin by educating physicians on a readily available alternative. In a subsequent email, you could provide third-party research on the efficacy of your product or additional context for the current situation.
Later, you might email patient education materials that address the recent concerns with your branded product. These could be designed for use during either nurse or physician counsel. If pricing is an issue, you could send an email detailing the various discount programs available or offer to have a sales rep drop off patient discount coupons.
Keep Engagement Simple
For the best response to your campaign, make engagement simple. A good call to action (CTA) is critical. Remember to keep it short and use action-oriented language. Create a sense of urgency with words like “today” or “now.” Don’t invite inaction from busy physicians by scattering different offers throughout your email and forcing them to decide which one to click. Instead, use only one type of CTA multiple times and place at least one link above the fold where it’s most likely to be seen.
Most healthcare professionals view emails on mobile devices, so designing for mobile is no longer optional. If your messages don’t render correctly, they won’t be read. Be sure to respect the limitations of small screen size and mobile navigation behavior. You’ll get better engagement if you limit the amount of swiping required to read the email and ensure that recipients can complete the entire experience on their devices, without having to return to a desktop.
No company wants to find itself the subject of a bad news cycle, but if it happens, email offers the speed, flexibility, and segmentation that pharma marketers need to respond effectively.