Any discussion of email marketing to physicians must begin with the understanding that most doctors are incredibly busy. Some are so busy they barely have enough time to provide proper patient care, so they certainly don’t have time to read the vast majority of emails that clutter their inbox every day.
In an age when so many messages are deleted without ever being opened, how do you break through the noise and ensure your email marketing gets noticed by a physician? Simple. Follow the rules below.
Here are nine tips to greater email marketing success with clients and prospects when you’re selling to doctors.
1. Segment & Prioritize Your Target Physicians
Personalized mass email technology makes it easy – maybe too easy – to opt for email content that prioritizes quantity and broader application over relevance and specificity of content for each recipient.
Rather than using the same email content to all clients and prospects, segment your targets thoughtfully by one or more of the following criteria depending on your products and services:
2. Customize Emails for Each Segment
Create content for each segment based on what is most important and relevant to your segmented physicians, structuring your email around topics as they pertain to your product, service, or expertise.
Even if the topic is the same across multiple targeted segments, the content should be customized to be highly specific and relevant for each segment. If your email feels like nonspecific mass marketing, you’re toast
3. Your Email May Be Screened by a Member of the Physician’s Staff
While your target is the physician, your email needs to be written with the understanding that the physician may not be the first to read it. It’s not uncommon for busy physicians to assign a trusted staff member to screen their emails and delete everything that appears unimportant, irrelevant, or reads like a sales pitch.
To get your email past any screening members of the physician’s staff, use the following techniques:
Create email content that feels like a personal, one-to-one communication with that physician. This requires more than simply inserting the physician’s name in the email. Here is where segmenting your email lists by specialty, special skills/expertise, or areas of known interest can make all the difference in having your email forwarded to and read by the physician if it’s being screened.
Avoid promotional (“salesy”) subject lines. Use subject lines that emphasize important clinical, technological or regulatory topics. Breakthrough topics can be particularly effective in subject lines, as well as the inclusion of recent, relevant data.
Include time-sensitive response requests whenever possible, but be careful about overusing time-sensitive text in your subject line.
4. Your Subject Line Will Make or Break Your Open Rate
Your subject lines are the ultimate gatekeepers. They separate the winners from the losers more than any other single component in email marketing to physicians. If your email is not opened, it doesn’t matter how good your content may be.
Criteria you should keep in mind when crafting email-opening subject lines for physicians:
5. Keep Your Emails Short, Sweet, & To-the-Point
Physicians don’t have time or interest to read long emails. Get to the point, quickly, and keep your message brief and relevant - just like we did in this paragraph.
If you have more to say, use links to drive email recipients to longer, detail-oriented content hosted on your website.
6. Include & Track Compelling Links in Your Emails
While you need to keep your emails concise, that does not mean you cannot influence your email recipient to learn more about your product or service.
Including relevant and compelling links within your email allows the physician to choose whether or not they want to get more information, without feeling as though you’re force-feeding them more content than they may care to absorb.
Below are just a few areas we recommend linking to in your email content:
7. Split Test Your Email Campaigns
You’ll learn more quickly what works best for open and click-through rates if you split test (also referred to as A/B testing) multiple approaches at the same time, rather than using sequential trial-and-error email marketing.
It’s critical that you only test one variable at a time to avoid confusion about your results. Variables you can split test include:
8. Be Consistent, Not Constant
Frequency is another critical success factor when email marketing to physicians. You want to be consistent enough to achieve top-of-mind awareness and perceived value with your recipients, without sending so many emails that your emails are seen as less important.
Optimal email-send frequency depends on the objectives and length of your campaign. A good rule of thumb for long-term email strategy is two emails per month, spaced two weeks apart. In a short campaign of 30 days or less, weekly emails may be more effective.
9. Take Full Advantage of Email Campaign Platforms & Templates
If you’re reading this, your company should already be subscribed to a marketing automation platform (MAP) or utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) program that includes email marketing tools.
Some of the more popular email platforms for small businesses targeting physicians include MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, and iContact, to name a few.
For larger businesses targeting physicians, the most popular CRMs with marketing automation and email capabilities include Salesforce, Infusionsoft, and Hubspot.
All of these platforms include ready-made email templates and offer the ability to create custom templates that fit with your brand’s identity. Yet, with all of the free options, most companies create one template and don’t experiment. That’s a missed opportunity! Get adventurous, and refer back to Tip #7 - Split Testing.
The winners in email marketing to physicians make up a much smaller group than the losers. Each tip in this article can move you closer to the winner’s circle and, if you’re already winning, keep your marketing department on the winning team.
It’s important to note that these tips have a cumulative, exponential effect. The more of these tips that you implement, the greater your odds of gaining new customers, as well as retaining and selling more to current customers.
One final, bonus tip: Avoid the temptation to take shortcuts. You’re only cutting short your potential for greater success and sales.
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Lonnie Hirsch is the Founder and CEO of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting, one of the premier consultants and strategists for helping medical practices and hospitals across the U.S. and in other countries achieve profitable top line and bottom line growth.