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How to Write Emails that HCPs Want to Read

How many times have you come across emails that make you feel like looking at the sun would have been a far better alternative?


We’re all super busy. And one way or the other, we all have those long, prosaic, and unstructured emails in our inboxes that don’t seem to be going anywhere. And we’ve all ignored them to death.

But what strikes me as ironic is the fact that when we sit to draft an email, we’ve all been guilty of writing a long verbose email that encompasses probably all possible viewpoints on this planet.

So, the reason for such erratic behavior has its roots in email psychology. The sender and receiver see things from drastically different perspectives.

As pharma marketers, we often forget the fact that healthcare professionals get lots of emails every day and they simply don’t have the time to read all of them.

If I were a healthcare professional, I would have a thousand emails in my inbox, all of which would seem equally promising. And I certainly won’t have enough time to read all of them. If an email is not organized and readable and does not get to the point right away, it’s very likely that I would move on.

Over the years, I’ve helped many pharma marketers win healthcare professionals through effective email marketing. Since I’ve been both at the sending and receiving end of marketing emails, I finally had that glorious epiphany on why some emails worked and why some emails failed to get the right amount of market traction.

In this blog post, I’m going to teach you the basics of writing a really good email. It would help you in increasing your conversions and significantly improve your conversations with healthcare professionals.

But, first things first.

What exactly is a Good Email?

Well, I would define a good email as:

  • Readable
  • Easily understood
  • Does not annoy the user
  • Does not take much of his time

Types of Emails

1) Information mailers: Emails where you just pass on information, and do not expect a reply.

2) Inquiries: These are the tricky ones, where you actually want some input from healthcare professionals. It can be anything– an answer to a question, or confirming the availability for an appointment as long as you expect a reply to the emails.

3) Action mailers: When you send this kind of email, you do not expect replies, but some action from the professionals, like checking out your eLearning, or signing up on a portal.

Before proceeding to write an email, always ask yourself– which category does your email fall into? Are you trying to pass on information or do you expect a reply?

Asking such questions would add some much-needed clarity to your thought process. After all, before proceeding to what’s and how’s, it’s very important to understand why you’re doing it.

If you know why you’re writing that email, your job is almost half-done.

Why do Most Emails get ignored?

Before moving on to how to write a good email copy, let’s first understand why emails get blatantly ignored by healthcare professionals.

Here are some of the top reasons:

– They’re unstructured and have really long paragraphs.
– They’re not easily answerable.
– They do not stick to a theme.
– They over-sell.
– They’re not optimized for quick reading.
– They do not provide value.

If I had to put all the above points succinctly, I would say that most emails get overshadowed because they’re written considering the product/outcomes in mind and not the reader in mind. You are missing out on a lot of brownie points by not personalizing.

Tips for Writing a Clear, Concise, and Compelling Email Copy

Now that you know what doesn’t work with emails, let’s move on to how to make it work.

So, here are some email writing tips, which I’ve learned through my years of experience with email marketing. Therefore, if you follow all of them religiously, I can guarantee you that you would be writing irresistibly good emails.

1) Cut-to-the-chase: Stop beating around the bush. Get right to the point with your very first sentence. The easiest way to do this is to ask yourself- what do you expect to get out of the email? Once you know what you want, it will be much easier to structure the content. When healthcare professionals browse through your email, they usually have this nagging question in their heads– “what’s the point?”. Try answering that as quickly as possible.

 2)Talk about benefits, not features: I cannot emphasize this enough. I’ve seen a lot of pharma marketers talking profusely about the features of their product and how it’s a potential game-changer in the market, but rarely do they talk about how it’s going to solve the healthcare professional’s problems. I mean your drug might be great, but it doesn’t address the apprehensions the healthcare professional has in his mind, he won’t feel intrigued to know about it. That’s the reason I always advise pharma marketers to paint the large picture. Talk about benefits, not features. Don’t objectify, but subjectify. People don’t want to know what you do, they want to know why you do what you do.

3) Optimize Your Content for Quick Reading. If I think I cannot read an email in 30 seconds, I would probably not read it.

That’s why it’s so important to optimize your email for quick reading. You can use the “small wins” strategy to optimize your content.

Here are some tips for optimizing your content:

a) Maximum 2 sentences per paragraph.
b) Use normal fonts (Arial, if possible). Avoid bolding whole paragraphs or using extravagant colors for highlighting points. Keep it plain simple and silly.
c) Break your content into bullet points.
d) Once you’ve written the first version of your email, read it out loud. Cut down words or sentences that are repetitive and can be removed. Trim down your as much as you can.

4)Personalize your Message.

When you know something about your reader, your reader would be more than interested in knowing something about you.

It’s literally give and take.

Personalize your email by adding their name, their clinic’s location, their website, or any other distinguishing piece of information that you might hold.

When you personalize, healthcare professionals know that you’re being very relevant, and pay close attention to what you’ve to say.

What is the best time to send these out? Better Proposals, a proposal software recommends to “Hit them with that email as close to 11 am as you can”. If you want to read more tips on writing emails, you can take a look at this article.

Stick to a theme

One theme per email. This should be the ground rule throughout your strategy.

Many pharma marketers make the mistake of asking too many questions or offering too many details in one email.

Don’t do that.

It’s a natural human tendency to get overwhelmed by information, especially when you’ve got too much to answer or too much to think about.

Therefore, you should always stick to a single theme. In sum, get your facts out, and let him know exactly what you expect. Have only one call-to-action button, or one piece of information conveyed.

In case you want to supplement it with more information, you can link to additional resources or your website.

Writing good emails is more of an art than a science. Consequently, like every art form, it gets better only with practice.

In conclusion, if you keep your messages really, really simple, and always think from your reader’s perspective, you’ll be off to writing really good ones in no time.