Approved Email in the Heathcare Industry | With the reduction in face-to-face opportunities, Approved Emails, sometimes referred to as ‘Rep-Triggered-Email’, are one way to extend the reach and frequency of the interactions between Field Representatives and Healthcare Professionals (HCPs). In fact, using channels such as Approved Emails, can enable your Field Representatives in particular, to be multiple channels within a channel, i.e. is a mash-up of digital and human channels of communications, with the aim to deepen relationships and add more value.
What are Approved Emails?
Approved Emails are emails containing pre-approved content, which are made available to Field Representatives often via a CRM system or some sort of content repository. The Representatives then use these email templates when communicating with HCPs. The content can be as simple as templates to use when confirming appointments, or following up on on-message topical discussions that would occur during face-to-face visits. They can also include supporting files, such as invitations to webinars or congresses, clinical papers, or more detailed promotional material such as links to websites, or longer versions of videos that are contained in the Digital Sales Aid.
What ever the content and purpose, Approved Emails enable engagement to happen anywhere anytime, so applying some business rules such as limited email frequency rates per time period is critical to ensure you are adding value and not reducing its effectiveness. The email channel has the potential to reach to hard to see customers e.g. recruiting participants to an upcoming webinar event, thus soliciting a first contact in some cases.
As it is approved content, and there are business rules applied, this channel of communication can empower the Representatives to select the most relevant email template and/or files to the needs of the customer and their interactions, and remain compliant.
Like most digital channels, Approved Emails can help understand your customers better using the tracking of relevant metrics and gain more insight into what content is valued and what is not.
How to Implement Approved Emails in the Pharma Industry?
Naturally, this channel does not exist in isolation, but rather it is a strategic digital channel in your marketing mix. Within a world of email overload and the plague of email spam, Approved Emails, must be timely, relevant and add value to the customer’s situation, as well as to the Representative interactions with the HCPs.
To drive ‘open rates’, it is highly recommended that the emails be able to be personalized and the sender is recognizable e.g. from the Representative that the HCP knows. Co-creating your Approved Emails with your field force is one way to ensure they are relevant and will be useful.
A Golden Rule for Approved Email design is to design for the smallest most relevant screen, i.e. the smart phone. That means, your Subject Line is < 70 characters (35 characters is ideal). This also means that the content that appears initially on the screen without scrolling must grab the HCPs attention. You will need to consider the use of images and the compatibility with smart phone rendering especially when the connectivity quality is less than optimal.
Lastly, understand the behaviors of your customers in relation to their workday, cultural norms and their out of work behaviors. Saturday morning may be the most optimal time in your markets for HCPs to catch up on emails, thus increasing your chances of the email being opened, if it was sent on a Friday evening.
Measuring Success of Email Marketing
What do you want to measure…and why? Your strategy and CSFs should be driving your KPIs. Just because you can measure everything, does not mean you should.
Are you aiming to generate greater awareness of a product or event? Then typically this can be measured by email open rates. While the total number of times an email is opened is the classic measure of any email program success, some emails are reopened multiple times, so it is important to capture the total number of opens, and also the number of ‘unique’ opens (the unique recipients that opened the email).
If you are aiming to increase HCP engagement, you can measure click-through rates on any links to the deeper content held on the associated website. If your aim is to encourage a specific response, this can be measured by event registrations, time spent on the website, page views, downloads, or orders.
In summary, Approved Emails can increase reach and frequency at the very least, and empower the Representatives to personalize their communications with HCPs, with the aim of deepening their relationships and adding more value. Relevant timely content will drive the success and potentially enable contact with hard to see HCPs.
Jennifer Grech is an experienced Customer Excellence professional, with over 10 years experience working on the transformation of pharma marketing and sales, and a member of the Actando consulting team.
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