…and 5 ways to make it even more efficient

Email campaigns are a popular marketing direction across industries. But if you’re about to write off email channel for pharma marketing, think again. It’s been noticed that email channel in pharma leads among other means of communication. It surpasses mail, meetings with pharma reps and even apps! And doctor’s preference for this channel is only growing. But why? Let’s put email channel in the limelight this time. Here’s 5 reasons why email marketing campaigns is just what the doctor has ordered for pharma marketers.

1Email gives the upper hand of 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. The reason why they value it is obvious: it’s not demanding or too intrusive, it does not put any expectations; it’s just out there, ready to be read and clicked on at any time. And even with the rise of the other communication tools (social media, messenger), email still wins, because it requires no “seen” sign and only is waiting for them to act upon.

The email gives you the opportunity to send as much content as you want and see which one sparks the most authentic engagement. Since you never know what exactly will interest this or that doctor. However, 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 exposure. 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.

2Email first means mobile first

Divide and conquer (across specialities)

Expanding on this derivative point, we all know what needs to be done – adaptive email design. According to statistics, 73% of companies are taking active steps to ensure perfect mobile experience, and it’s happening for a reason: more than a 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. Such shooting-in-the-dark volumes of messaging 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, marketers’ email campaigns experience higher response rates.


3Email works best in a tandem 

Merge with other channels

Email empowers other channels instead of suppressing or overshadowing them. Here’s why and how it goes. In the era of spam and attention-based economy, it’s unsurprising that nobody got time for emails from unknown entities. 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 greater impact if followed by a rep meeting.

Other types of ‘merges’ include: lead up to a landing page, educational web portal, remote call. More on the connection of email with other channels you can discover in our previously released articles.

Content matters

4Email delivers the clearest ROI and KPIs 

Track performance and adjust the strategy 

There’s a reason marketers love emails not less than HCPs do – 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 channel and automation of its 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 on doctors’ behaviors and their affinity 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 email campaigns and send as a result fewer, but more targeted and satisfying emails.

email channel vs email

5Email caters to both HCPs’ and patients’ demands 

Templatize, modularize, personalize

There’s a whole bulk of demand still not covered by the pharmaceuticals, 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 for 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% 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 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 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 towards 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. With eWizard at hand, marketers engaged in email campaigns can:

  • Save tons of time and budget resources on your mailing campaign by endlessly reusing pre-approved master templates;
  • 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 a personalized email created in 15 minutes.

If you are an ambitious marketer who strives towards 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 the solution or subscribe to our newsletter.