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Email marketing to doctors and 5 ways to make it more efficient 

pharmaceutical companies mail

Healthcare email marketing campaigns are a popular marketing direction across industries. But if you’re about to write off an email channel for pharma marketing, reconsider. It’s been noticed that email channel in pharma leads among the other means of communication. It surpasses traditional mail, meetings with pharma reps, and even apps! And the doctors preference for this channel is only growing. But why is ​​emailing doctors a good idea and how to write an email to a doctor that will actually be effective? Let’s put the email channel in the limelight this time. Here are 5 reasons why pharma email marketing campaigns are the most effective way to boost engagement, as well as some tips for email marketing to physicians and medical professionals. 

1. Email gives the upper hand in communication to HCPs’ 

Keep it 5, keep it relevant

Well, email channel hits a couple of sweet spots for doctors. First things first: it hands them back the initiative of communication. Doctors don’t have a free moment, and seeing another rep telling them the same old story is just not in their plans anymore. At the same time, 86% of physicians find time to check their email at least 2-3 times a day. Pharmaceutical email remains one of the main channels and communication, but why? The reason why doctors value it is obvious: it’s not demanding or too intrusive, it does not set any expectations; it’s just out there, ready to be read and clicked on at any time. And even with the rise of other communication tools (social media, messengers), email marketing to doctors still wins, because it has no “seen” status and only is waiting for them to act upon. 

Pharma companies that are not sure if they should send a direct email to doctors should remember one thing. The email allows you to send as much content as you want and see which of it sparks the most authentic engagement since you never know what exactly will interest this or that doctor. The importance of email cannot be underestimated, since often it is key to driving engagement and improving interaction with customers. Moreover, email marketing offers the flexibility to deliver diverse content and measure its performance.  

The latest ZS Associate’s physicians’ survey across specialties suggests that most physicians choose to engage with a certain set of brands much more often than with other brands, even after controlling for factors like the channel and the number of exposures. So, don’t oversaturate your email, since your audience will be able to keep up with only roughly 5 brands. Following the 5-brand rule when planning for sectoral personalization will help you to be more mindful of what messages are being delivered to which physicians. 

2. Email first means mobile-first

Divide and conquer (across specialties)

Expanding on this derivative point, we all know what needs to be done – adaptive email design. According to statistics, good experience impacts loyalty of 73% of customers. Companies are taking active steps to ensure a perfect mobile experience, and it’s happening for a reason: more than half of all emails are first opened on a mobile device. Leaving out the general public, 60% of physicians are reading email primarily on their smartphones. The mobile email experience is usually supported by equally mobile-friendly landing pages – those take no time to load and are developed specifically for some events. 

So use this variability as an opportunity to move away from the tendency to put all HCP-directed messages into one basket. Patterns in how physicians read their emails vary greatly, especially across specialties. Oncologists are a pharma marketers’ favorite, as they open pharma emails way more frequently than, say, urologists and PCPs. PCPs on the other hand will fail you in demonstrating high levels of digital engagement, although they tend to receive far more emails than most other specialties. Dishing out such volumes of messages don’t correspond with the doctor’s accessibility and readiness to engage with content. 

The task for pharma marketers is to figure out how to reach the specialty physicians at the lower end of the engagement spectrum with more targeted emails. Pay attention to different credentials, specialties, and practice locations, since they often reveal different digital media usage patterns and behaviors. Such attention is of benefit to both sides of the communication since when HCP email preferences are taken into account, doctor email marketing experiences higher response rates. 

3. Email works best in a tandem 

Merge with other channels

Email marketing holds immense potential as a centerpiece of multichannel strategies for pharmaceutical marketers. Email campaigns can be highly efficient and impactful by leveraging the benefits of targeted communication, omnichannel support, integration with other channels, and engagement analytics. Email marketing to physicians empowers other channels instead of suppressing or overshadowing them. 

Here’s why and how it goes. In the era of spam and an attention-based economy, it’s unsurprising that nobody got time for emails from unknown senders. It comes as no surprise that people, in general, will rather open an email from someone they are already familiar with. This especially concerns physicians, since they are 3 times as likely to open an email from a familiar sender, rather than some 3rd party. So, familiarity and repetition turn out to be the best tactics here, 60% of physicians receive marketing information 2-3 times before taking action. 

Enter rep-triggered email campaigns, which combine the best of both channels, ensuring just that – familiarity and repetition. In this case, email works alongside other channels (eDetailing, remote detailing) enabled by subtle personalization of direct contact between sales reps and HCPs. It’s a safe bet to send a promotional email in the same timeframe as a rep visit, the HCP is more likely to open it. The data suggest that the approach may work inversely as well – emails have a greater impact if followed by a rep meeting. 

4. Email delivers the clearest ROI and KPIs 

Track performance and adjust the strategy 

There’s a reason marketers love emails not less than HCPs do – the email channel paints a clear picture. Instead of guessing who you might reach with an ad, with email, you’ll know exactly who and when opened your messages and what actions they took. This information can also help you identify prospects to focus on follow-up efforts. Click-through rates, open rates, bounce rates – you name a KPI, email channel got you covered. And that’s why marketers keep investing in email channels and automation of their processes. 

Moreover, email is the channel where it’s the easiest to monitor performance and calculate marketing return on investment. It’s the most efficient channel to adjust and tailor – simply because you have reliable feedback almost instantly. Over the course of a few mailings, marketers begin to see what information resonates most with recipients. Tracking these patterns helps them design more effective messages. With a clear view of doctors’ behaviors and their preference for certain channels, marketers can decide on cutting off promotions that aren’t going to be useful for the receivers. Instead, they readjust the course of their direct mail campaign and send fewer but more targeted and satisfying emails, as a result. 

5. Doctor email marketing caters to both HCPs’ and patients’ demands 

Templatize, modularize, personalize

There’s a whole bulk of demand still not covered by the pharmaceutical companies, but that can be covered by the email channel. You’ve seen that emails are popular equally for pharma marketers and their HCP audience. But email (along with the apps) also represents a real chance to turn pharma patient-centric and align that pharma – HCP – patient dialogue. Patients expect pharmaceutical companies to reach them via digital and social means with 70% wanting to be reached by email. Along with this, about 79% of physicians use patient education materials provided by pharma and advocacy groups, and 56% expect to receive these from Pharma. If this is not a clear call for patient-centricity, we don’t know what is. 

In order to sustain such a huge demand, a great bulk of emails have to be produced. And those doctors emails should not end up as potential spam material, but be personalized, integrated, backed up by KPIs, preferably connected to other channels, appropriately branded, and filled up with relevant content. The caveat is, that kind of email takes lots of time to be produced. Like, 4 hours per one, in the pharma industry and its endless rounds of approval. 

Well, not anymore. There’s a completely new, integrated approach to make that email even more efficient. The industry is moving toward including modular templates that are built on the principles of atomic design and supported by pattern libraries will help to keep style and usability consistent and optimal. And we’ve got a tool that delivers just that. And it does not only do that but also answers the question that bothers many marketers: how to address multiple doctors in an email that’s both engaging and personalized? With eWizard, which is a doctor email marketing software among the other things, marketers engaged in email campaigns can: 

  • Save tons of time and budget resources on your mailing campaign by endlessly reusing pre-approved master templates, such as email template to sell to physicians or an email approval template; 
  • Create a new unique email in no time by placing ready-made content modules (footer, text with image, graph etc.); 
  • Publish your email to Veeva Vault automatically, review, approve, then export and distribute to Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 

Email really has a lot of potential to become a foothold of your multichannel strategy. But it’s only if you give it a deliberate, thought-through chance. Here’s a short demo guide to the world of personalized email created in 15 minutes. 

If you are an ambitious marketer who strives towards a multichannel campaign based on personalized, state-of-the-art, deliberate emails, do not hesitate to contact our team of Email Marketing Experts for more details on how to email doctors or subscribe to our newsletter to find more email marketing tips and other useful guides. 

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