Email Fails & How to Avoid Them

Dear House Rules,

We have a terrific website, banner ads, and eDetails for our growing pharma brand, but I just don’t feel like we’re getting enough “bang for our buck” out of our emails. How can we elevate our email strategy to the level of the rest of our digital marketing?


Don’t Want to be Deleted

Dear Deleted,

Your instinct is correct—email is not a channel to overlook. According to a recent Email Marketing Industry Census, email still outperforms other marketing channels in terms of ROI, with companies generating 23% of their total sales through email campaigns. Clearly, email is an important plank in overall marketing strategies.

It can be especially challenging to deliver marketing messages to busy, skeptical HCPs, however. If your email campaigns aren’t getting the results that you want, make sure you’re avoiding the five most common pitfalls in marketing to physicians.

  1. Clean up your lists: the first—and most important—step to a successful email campaign is getting your message delivered to the inboxes of your target audience. Email databases decay at a rate of approximately 2 percent per month; it’s a phenomenon that’s especially true with HCPs in a fluid job market. Subsequently, bad email lists with outdated contacts affect your sender reputation, decreasing deliverability and ultimately driving down ROI.
  1. Tailor your deployment tactics: There’s no such thing as a “typical” healthcare provider. An email resonating with a hospital whose case mix is heavily weighted toward geriatric patients on public insurance probably won’t work with a clinician in an affluent, suburban, family practice clinic. Be sure your email campaigns begin by drilling down into the email list to identify a tightly segmented audience filtered by demographics, patient and payer mix, prescribing behavior, and other variables to craft content with the highest chance of successfully engaging its recipients.
  1. Tailor your messaging too: Once you’ve developed a tight target audience, it’s important to create content that is personal, topical, and relevant to the recipient. HCPs respond to emails that address their unique interests and concerns, and that are relevant to some aspect of their lives and practices. The best campaigns are personalized and include several variations of the core content repurposed to speak to the unique needs of each segment of your mailing list.
  1. Make your call-to-action work harder: The call-to-action (CTA) is arguably the most important component of an effective email. It’s how leads are generated and behavior impacted. What makes a good CTA? Follow these best practices to improve your conversion rates:
    1. Keep it short. The most effective CTAs are just five words or fewer.
    2. Use clear, action-oriented language using words like “register,” “download,” or “request.”
    3. Create a sense of urgency or time-sensitivity with words like “today” or “now.”
    4. Place the CTA in a prominent place above the fold.
    5. Use only one CTA per email. HCPs make decisions all day long; don’t invite inaction by asking them to decide between several CTAs.
  1. Design for mobile: The majority of HCPs are viewing emails on a mobile device, so if your emails aren’t optimized for mobile, there’s a good chance that they won’t be opened. Keep images to a minimum and subject lines to 50 characters or less. Use responsive design so that your emails are easily viewed on the devices that your recipients are using the most for successful campaign metrics.

Addressing these five common challenges can help you improve your ROI for a successful email campaign, even with an audience as elusive as HCPs.

To enhance your company’s email campaigns, be sure to work with a pharma marketing partner who brings both outstanding creative skills and a deep knowledge of email tactics to the table.

Categories: branding, digital marketing,

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

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