Why hasn’t pharma embraced email marketing?

SUMMARY: DTC marketers are spending tens of millions of dollars on programmatic ads that are full of fraud and have low click-through rates but they have yet to embrace email marketing which has an average click-through rate of 3.43%.

There is no doubt that more people are using the Internet for online health searches, but the downside is that there is a lot of bad/false health information online. eMail represents an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to get closer to their customers while increasing adherence and compliance.

The key to effective email marketing is segmentation and personalization. Email list segmentation and personalization were the most effective email strategies, and segmented email campaigns show 50% higher CTR than untargeted campaigns. In other words, one email campaign doesn’t fit all.

Pharma has an opportunity to engage customers and caregivers via email but they can’t send out product flyers. In our test a magazine type email, with general as well as product information, did best as compared to a one-page product information email. The highest response rate we received included the tile “what’s the best time of day to take your medication?”.

Email automation

Email automation is the ability to send time or action triggered emails to subscribers with relevant information. Using automation for email campaigns is one of the most efficient methods of communicating with prospective customers and followers who have a genuine interest in following the updates of a business or brand. With email automation tools, you don’t have to miss another opportunity to generate leads, sales, and revenue again.

Pharma has unique needs for email automation which is why any email automation has to meet MLR requirements. However, this should not prevent brands from talking to their audience(s). We developed a list of possible content for clients with segmentation guides such as prospect, patient, and caregiver.

Right now we are working with a client to determine the ROI on email. What we have found so far is that people who opted into email are more than willing to share their opinions on our marketing and content. The brand, for example, is receiving complaints on packaging that’s hard to open.

The other challenge for pharma in an email marketing campaign is privacy. eMail lists should never be shared with ANY vendor unless that vendor has gone through an extensive privacy review and certification. Your people also need to educate on key privacy issues.

Pharma is looking for ways to boost its reputation, and email represents a great way to get closer to your customers and help them navigate the complex world of online health information. It does require investment in time, money, and people, and you can expect to fail initially, but the ROI will increase once you find that sweet spot.