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How to Craft Meaningful Email Experiences for Healthcare Professionals

With the start of 2019, there’s plenty of good news for pharmaceutical marketers regarding CRM. Many healthcare professionals (HCPs) say they are generally ok with getting the promotional emails the industry is sending. Yes, it’s true. Far from being an outmoded component in your multi-channel marketing mix, email continues to be the most preferred source of marketing content for HCPs. For some of you, this might be a surprise, but let’s dig into the facts:

According to the 2018 report from Medical Marketing Service, the Annual Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Physician Preferences Survey reveals that:

  • 60% of HCPs prefer email as their favorite way to receive information about our pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

In fact, email beats out sponsored meetings, medical journals, sales reps, direct mail, and websites. In addition to this good news, let’s also unpack two more results from this survey. For those HCPs who open your email:

  • 47% report reading some of the content
  • Another 36% read almost all the content

This is excellent data confirming that some CRM strategies are working well. From a more balanced frequency of sends and resends to greater levels of personalization, to well-orchestrated and segmented cadences and new, triggered campaign approaches, marketers are engaging in smarter strategies, and analytics are supporting those efforts. But as you plan for future CRM campaigns, you need to consider how you’re going to continue this trend. The following are two of the most important questions that you should all be asking of your creative campaign strategies:

1) How meaningful are these experiences for our customers?
2) How are you expecting them to engage beyond reading the content?

These two questions directly relate to meaningful engagements and a higher propensity to click-through from your emails to a deeper engagement.

Focus on clear messages

In people-based marketing strategies that align to user-specific segmentation and increasingly more personalization, you need to also consider the core messages. In the little time that most healthcare professionals have to consume our email content, brevity and focus are critical to getting your message across and achieving the desired response.

Long ago, a previous agency mentor of mine instructed me to focus my content development on creating authentic and honest connections with HCPs. He also recommended making my content simple and easy to understand, with clear motivation for why and how to act on a communication. Considering how pharmaceutical and medical device marketing has progressed since then, his direction was richly prescient.

Keep it simple

Nearly half of your customers are reading your content. The more you can produce singularly focused, non-personal promotions for your clients, the more you will be to sustain this positive trend with email. This isn’t to say that you don’t have more complex information to convey — regardless of whether it’s messaging on safety and efficacy or adherence and support. You do. But it’s essential to ensure that your messages are simple, direct, relevant, and effective. In other words, avoid the clutter and help drive the action you want from your CRM campaigns.

Drive more meaningful clicks

Even in the face of open rates that are above the benchmark average, many healthcare marketers continue to struggle with lower click-through rates. Going back to my second question regarding creative campaign strategy: How are you expecting them to engage beyond reading the content? In a true omni-channel campaign, your CRM should link to deeper engagements.

There are a variety of factors behind low click-throughs. Some which can be solved by a quick check of the email creative to determine:

  • How clear are the CTAs in the body of the email?
  • Are they placed in obvious areas to drive action?
  • Is the language simple and directive?

As you move toward clearer and more concise communications, the greater the chance that HCPs will continue to view your communications in a positive light — and engage with the content and CTAs. That’s a recipe for more relevant and meaningful engagements for your audience and greater success for you.