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Email Pharma Marketing: 5 Steps for Optimizing Email Marketing Campaigns

“An email marketing campaign without an optimization strategy is like a misfired bullet. It can go anywhere.”

Sometimes, when your business is doing really well, it’s really hard to understand the need for an optimization strategy.

In fact, when I talk to pharma marketers about optimizing their email marketing campaign, they often defend it with statements, like, “If it’s working fine, why should we optimize?”, or “If it’s not broken, why should we fix it?”

It’s great that your business is doing well, but, then, don’t you want to push it to the next level? Don’t you want to grow your market? If you’re not optimizing, you’re simply missing out on more possible converts.

I understand your temptation to resist change when things are going great, but then again I think the only time a business should optimize is when they’re doing well because that’s when it can afford to be wrong. That’s when you have far less to lose, and much more to gain.

Optimizing email marketing campaigns would help you in gaining much more user insights and in achieving a higher level of market traction.

Want to compel physicians to read your emails when they have 20 other emails waiting in their inboxes? Want them to visit your website and check out your offerings, when they have a million other things in their mind?

Email optimization is the answer.

Now, I understand that the term optimization may sound like one hell of rocket science, but trust me, it’s far from that.

Email optimization is all about taking a few baby steps in the right direction.

I’m sharing a few strategies for optimizing your email marketing campaigns that would really take your emails to the next level. Trust me. The changes may seem small, but you’ll be amazed to know how far a small change can really go.

1. Subject Line– First impression matters

optimizing email marketing campaigns pharma

According to stats compiled by SalesForce, over 64% of recipients open their emails based on the subject line of the email. On average, your brain takes less than three seconds to decide whether to open an email or not.

Not surprising at all, right?

I mean, in a world where there’s an overload of digital information, who has time for reading every email they receive? Well, certainly not healthcare professionals.

That’s the reason why the subject line matters.

When you have the right opening line, your job is half-done. If you can intrigue healthcare professionals with a compelling, clear, and concise subject line, they would be forced to read it further.

As a rule of thumb, use subject lines to tell, and not sell. If you spill out all the beans in the subject line itself, no one will be interested in opening an email. Even worse, you may end up in the spam folder if you try to oversell yourself.

Another useful tip is to use actionable language in the subject line, like, “Join the best xxx” or “Register now to xxx” or “Get your free xxx”, whenever possible. Make it compelling enough so that the reader would want to know more by opening that email.

And lastly, It’s important to stay consistent with the subject line. Your content should do justice to your subject line, and should not be a ‘bait-and-win’ tactic.

Bottom line: Write a subject line that’s crisp, clear, consistent, and compelling. Do not over-promise and don’t try to be persuasive. Just put down the facts as directly as possible. And remember not to reveal everything in the title. Always leave the readers wanting more.

2. Personalize your Messages

Over the past few years,  I have talked to numerous healthcare professionals, soliciting them about the effectiveness of digital channels in pharma branding, and how they perceive online interactions.

It made me understand how they perceive the digital world and what channels they find valuable.

One of my fascinating findings was the manner in which a healthcare professional managed his mailbox, because, you know, it’s always FULL. Since they don’t have time to scroll down and read every message, they tend to prioritize emails. And the ones they normally picked had a touch of personalization.

In fact, one of the topmost reasons why most healthcare professionals unsubscribe or mark emails as spam is simply because they find them irrelevant.

Let’s understand this behavior a little more comprehensively.

The reason why most healthcare professionals don’t feel too excited about reading or opening an email is that pharma brands don’t personalize emails with relevant user-specific information. Most healthcare professionals ignore emails stuffed with generic jibber-jabber.

I think it’s a fair point. If you don’t understand your readers’ pain points, how can you expect your readers to be inquisitive about what you’ve to offer?

Personalizing your emails is all about getting into the shoes of your target audience.

Personalization goes far beyond just putting down a healthcare professional’s name in the email. It’s about using behavioral, demographic, and statistical data to create a compelling copy. Use his clinic’s location to offer nearby preferences. Use the data from previous e-detailing interactions to supplement the information that he would find interesting. Take cues from his website usage patterns– look at the pages he visited often, or the topics he spent more time on.

Bottom line: Use all the available pieces of information to make the email as personalized as possible. That’s the key to striking the right chord.


3. Less Text, More Action

This goes without explanation.

No one has time to read comprehensive essays and really long emails. You need to cut it short.

Ideally, your email should not contain more than 7-8 sentences and should be optimized around a unique ‘Call-to-Action’ button.

What I mean by a ‘Call-to-Action’’ button is any form of interaction that you want to receive from healthcare professionals. It can be anything that converts– like “Login ”, “Register now”, “View More Information”, or “Sign up for the free newsletter”.

Every email should have at least one easily identifiable ‘Call-to-Action’ button.

Educate your target audience and move them through your sales funnel. And the simplest way to do that is by offering a unique and easy-to-understand ‘Call-to-Action’ button.

Bottom line: Have at least one ‘Call-to-Action’ button in your email that converts.

4. Write the right way

When all is said and done, the heart and soul of your email are content. Needless to say, it’s very important that you deliver it with the right tone, language, and layout.

Here are a few tips to help you write the right way:

  • Write in the second person. Your email copy should read like you’re having a tete-a-tete with healthcare professionals or patients. Always maintain a conversational tone, and be authentic and realistic.
  • Open your mail with an intriguing statistic or a bold negation. For example, “The way most healthcare professionals access medicinal information is broken. Here’s a new and better way… ”.
  • Avoid really long paragraphs. If you have more content, try breaking the content into bullet points.
  • Be as brief and direct as possible.

Bottom line: Keep your email copy easy and light to read. Optimize it for quick browsing.

5. Run A/B Tests

optimizing email marketing campaigns pharma

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb the tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” –  Albert Einstein

The subtle point, here, is that not everyone is the same. What works for some, might not work for everyone.

That’s the reason we have A/B tests in digital marketing.

A/B testing, as the name suggests, is testing the performance of two slightly different variants of the same email through analytical metrics.

By running A/B tests for your email, you would be able to know which strategy works better, and which content converts better. It would help you in optimizing your efforts and would give you a clear roadmap to effective email pharma marketing.

For example, A/B testing allows you to send two emails with the same content, but two different subject lines, to different groups of healthcare professionals. Based on the converts, open rates, and click rates, you can analyze which strategy worked better and go ahead with that option.

A/B testing provides an ideal platform for structured and effective closed-loop marketing.

Bottom line: Follow an iterative approach by running A/B tests. Get to know what really connects with your audience through statistical data and optimize emails accordingly.

A lot of pharma marketers tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to optimizing email marketing campaigns, but the truth is that it’s really not that hard. As long as you keep personalizing the content for better readability and interpretability, you’ll keep getting better with email marketing.