When it comes to targeting healthcare professionals, email marketing has become the preferred method for its convenience and effectiveness.
HCPs are notoriously busy, and often bombarded with marketing emails and messaging from competing brands. Reliably connecting with your healthcare audience can be a challenge, since they are constantly on the move and require quick solutions to very specific needs.
So how do you ensure your email campaigns will be informative, personal, and relevant, while still resonating with your audience in a way that moves them through the buyer’s journey?
Consider incorporating these 15 best practices into your HCP email marketing strategy:
1. Use Storytelling
Every organization has a story. Crafting a compelling narrative to find common ground and build trust with potential customers can foster engagement. Details such as background information on how a specific product was developed, or challenges experienced during the process—and how you overcame them—can help forge a personal connection.
Adding testimonials and success stories bolsters your company’s position. It also demonstrates a proven commitment and ability to effectively attract, engage, and delight customers who’ve conducted business with you.
Customer reviews and an engrossing original story convey your company’s longevity, reputation, and retention rate. They also demonstrate that you can connect and establish long-term relationships.
2. Use an Engaging Subject Line
Since this is your initial point of communication, it’s important to have a strong and relevant opening to commence your customer engagement process. The first few seconds when your prospects see your email subject line will determine whether they will open and click, or delete and unsubscribe.
Consider running an A/B test to improve open rates.
Inbound marketing platform HubSpot cited in a recent blog post that “47% of marketers say they test different email subject lines to optimize their emails' performance.”
You can run tests for different subject lines to identify where you might need to adjust your wording to resonate better and increase opens, clicks, and response rates.
3. Include Actionable Requests
Every marketing email you send should include a clear call to action (CTA) that motivates your audience to do something.
Still, many companies make the mistake of including too many (or not enough) CTAs. This can cause distractions, or worse, your offer to be overlooked. Placing your CTA in a prominent spot, such as above the fold, will yield more clicks.
Avoid general wording such as “Click Here” or “Enter Now.” Instead, let the prospect know what they’re receiving: “Download This Case Study” or “Read the Article.” Adding specific dates or time stamps, such as “Offer Ends at Midnight” or “Don’t Miss This One-Time Event” can increase engagement. This sense of urgency can trigger a fear of missing out, leading to quicker responses.
4. Ensure Your Campaigns Are Personalized
Personalization is a proven tactic in the email marketing world. Personalized, relevant messaging conveys a sense of community and familiarity to potential customers. According to data cited in a “State of the Connected Customer” study conducted by customer relationship management provider Salesforce: “More than half (52%) of consumers are somewhat likely to switch brands if a company doesn't make an effort to personalize their communications to them.”
For reaching HCPs, personalization can help with aligning the correct type of information with the right audience.
Adding the subscriber’s name or a callout to their location can lead to increased engagement. Instead of addressing the email “Dear Customer,” consider adding a specific to and from element. The recipient sees the email is intended for them, and it’s being sent by an actual person—not a mass, auto-generated mailing.
It also shows you recognize they are busy and have taken time to learn more about their company, products, and services. In return, it’s good business sense to offer them a content piece they can absorb as a takeaway or leave-behind.
If one of your prospects is interacting with middle-of-the-funnel content, consider sending them different messaging and offers than you would someone just at the start of their journey. Once the prospect has converted to a customer, personalization can be useful to highlight specific products they previously ordered to more accurately help them in the future.
5. Keep It Direct & Concise
HCPs don’t have time to sort through email messaging, so anything you send should offer value with educational and informative content. Cutting self-promotional fluff and extra words is even more critical when reaching this audience. Most are already bombarded with this approach both on the phone and in person, so they’re less likely to respond to the same method online.
To forge that initial connection with your prospects, include a vendor-neutral resource or reference material. You could choose to cite this within your marketing information, or include it as an aforementioned CTA.
If you’re targeting a pediatrician, it could be a research report on a new medication pertaining to children and adolescents. If dentists are within your realm, consider offering a content piece on a dental-specific topic. A HCP prospect is more likely to convert if provided a value-add that’s immediate and applicable to their practice area.
6. Avoid Promises
Don’t convey specific promises within your campaign that you might not be able to keep—this could inadvertently lead your customers to an adverse experience.
Offering specific ROI or another type of assurance is likely to backfire. When targeting HCPs, you wouldn’t want to state that by using a specific product they are guaranteed to have a specific result. This tactic can damage your credibility with negative reviews and unfavorable word-of-mouth marketing, as well as potentially opening you up to legal/licensing ramifications.
An often-cited 2017 study by American Express reported Americans tell more people (an average of 15) about poor service than about good experiences (average of 11), according to an article by artificial intelligence company Netomi.
Remember that your goal is to nurture a conversation with your prospects, not close a sale from a single email.
7. Encourage Feedback & Conversation
Establishing a professional persona is important, but crafting conversational content is also a preferred tactic. This can increase personalization levels to keep the prospect engaged and involved.
Ask your recipients for feedback through an opinion poll or question, such as: What do you like (or not like) about our products? Letting them know that you value their thoughts can also be a starting point for further discussions on social media forums.
When a customer posts a positive experience on social media and you take the time to respond, that extra step demonstrates you value their business and customer loyalty.
This can also be said of your responses to negative feedback. Learning and understanding why someone was not happy with your product shows you value their experiences. It also expresses your willingness to ensure a positive experience going forward.
Want to learn even more about crafting the strongest emails for your marketing campaigns?
Download our free Email Guidelines and Best Practice Suggestions Ebook.
8. Take Advantage of Automation
An automated campaign ensures messaging is conveyed appropriately when a recipient performs a specific action. It’s especially helpful when segmenting your list, which will be discussed more in the following tip.
When including a CTA download, automation can facilitate sequential, targeted follow-up emails for ongoing contact engagement. This could be as simple as a quick “Welcome” or “Thank You” email when the contact signs up, or enrollment in a full-scale nurture campaign based on specific parameters and lead information collected throughout the buyer’s journey.
Automation requires careful planning, but when applied appropriately, it’s an effective method to ensure regular and consistent customer engagement.
SaaS-based automation tools can utilize triggers to send emails subsequent to specific actions. If a subscriber responds to a CTA download, for example, an automated workflow can send a follow-up message asking for additional information. It can also offer another value-add piece on the same topic.
While this process can take time to set up, it’s a time saver for nurturing leads over the long term, providing consistent engagement, optimized based on individual user behavior.
9. Audience Segmentation
Segmentation enables you to divide your contact list into groups based on specific criteria, ensuring the correct messaging is getting to the right audience, at the right time.
Rather than sending a generic email to all contacts, you can separate your list by variables such as location, prescribing habits, healthcare specialization, and more.
For HCPs, segmentation is a necessity to ensure proper audience outreach. You can also conduct research on which emails your individual segments are opening and clicking, and use these insights to modify your messaging and deployments going forward.
For example, if certain subscribers are gravitating toward campaigns specifically advertising new medications, then you’ll want to create a segmented list based on that.
10. Use Metrics & A/B Testing
A/B testing and tracking metrics provide data on what’s resonating (or not) with your audience. This can be used to monitor and improve numerous email campaign elements, such as your subject line, header, CTA, content, and more.
When performing an A/B test, the goal is to establish a “winning” element as soon as possible. Many email providers and CRM systems can automatically conduct these tests by selecting a random sample of your list to receive, for example, subject line A, while a different group will receive subject line B—with the winning subject line then being sent to the remainder of your list. In addition to optimizing the current campaign, you’ll then have actionable data to base upcoming campaigns and future tests on.
11. Incorporate Mobile Device Compatibility
Many healthcare professionals are not tethered to their desks—meaning they rely on mobile devices for much of their day-to-day communications. According to healthcare ad agency Adfire Health, 4 in 5 HCPs use their phones and mobile devices to navigate online content every day. Tailor your messaging with these restrictions in mind. For example, a PDF download is likely to be less useful to someone viewing your content on a smaller screen, while video elements (see the next point) can resonate better.
12. Use Video Marketing
Video is a powerful way to communicate your message. It can entertain and inform subscribers, leading to a solid return on investment.
Marketing benefits include quicker subscriber engagement and high adoption rates on mobile devices. This is helpful for targeting HCPs, who as aforementioned, are already short on time. Removing any barriers to engaging with this audience is key.
Video can also boil down a specific process or concept in a more simplified way for the viewer to understand. The clearer your offer, the more likely they are to convert.
13. Data Privacy
Data privacy has become an increasingly important facet of the digital marketing landscape throughout the last decade, with several ramifications for email marketing to HCPs.
With HCPs providing personal information to learn more about a marketer’s products and services, privacy is a natural concern. It’s essential that marketers collect, use, and effectively safeguard user data correctly to ensure digital compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Marketers must be familiar with these privacy standards and utilize only consented identity data, which refers to data collected with the consent of the owner.
Consented identity data will be the cornerstone of much of your email strategy, from contact collection and segmentation, to personalization and deployment, ensuring that your HCP targets agree to your communications and your campaigns adhere to digital privacy regulations.
14. Find the Right Campaign Cadence
Even if your campaign messaging and targeting strategy is perfectly tuned to your audience’s needs and interests, finding the right cadence for your email deployments can have a huge impact on their effectiveness.
Send too few emails and the impact of the messaging may fall flat, but send too many and your audience may ignore or overlook your campaigns as unwanted spam.
Many email marketing strategies recommend deploying emails about once a month, but according to an article published by email marketing firm Keap, depending on your audience’s interest level and receptiveness, you could increase that frequency to twice per month if you have new promotions or exciting offers.
You can even increase the cadence of your deployments to once or twice a week for actively engaged prospects who have repeatedly interacted with your platforms or signed up for updates or promotional material—just be sure to monitor your campaign results.
15. Stay Up to Date
If the last few years have taught the healthcare marketing industry anything, it’s the importance of staying informed and pivoting your strategy when necessary.
Keeping up with healthcare and marketing industry news and trends can help you increase the effectiveness of individual campaigns, and your overall email strategy, in the long term.
This will become increasingly important as the industry continues to double down on prioritizing digital marketing strategies and adopting new technologies such as machine-learning AI to improve email targeting, messaging, and deployments.
Remember to take stock of any tools or strategies you’re currently utilizing, or not, for that matter. If your campaign can use a boost, it’s wise to consult a professional for insights and strategies on the latest email marketing trends and tactics.
Enlist Professional HCP Marketing Partner PDQ Communications!
PDQ Communications specializes in proven HCP email marketing strategies to reach your ideal audience with the optimal messaging and maximize results.
If you’re struggling with contacting the right HCPs, or need help leveraging your email metrics to more effectively convey the benefits of your products and services, PDQ Communications can produce and deliver relevant content in a timely, convenient way that resonates with your audience and encourages engagement and conversions.