Back to Alea | Towards Better HCP Engagement – An Email Masterclass

Louise Knapp . News . 14 June 2021 Read Time6 min

Towards Better HCP Engagement – An Email Masterclass

When communicating with HCPs, email is becoming more and more important. But what simple methods can we employ to improve engagement?

Louise Knapp

Louise Knapp

Email has stood the test of time as a low-cost and high return means of customer engagement, and that’s as true in pharma as other industries. According to the DMA (Direct Marketing Association), email marketing produces around £42 for every £1 spent.  

It’s also the preferred method of communication for HCPs, and overwhelmingly so. According to a recent study, 66% of HCPs prefer being contacted by email, compared to 17% who favour the second most popular option: direct interaction with reps.  

From an HCP’s perspective, email is far less intrusive than a phone call or message sent via WhatApp or an equivalent platform. There are clear advantages for pharma brands too. As well as equipping you with a captive audience, you’ll know the precise identity of people who have received, opened and engaged with an email. This makes it easier to review performance and tweak campaigns, compared with Google and social channels.

However, this isn’t to say results from email are guaranteed. Whether you’re using Veeva Approved Emails or taking a more broadcast approach to your email marketing, it’s worth being mindful of the fundamentals that underpin any successful campaign.

Focus on benefits, not features

An easy trap to fall into is highlighting the key features of your treatment, rather than the benefits. Yes, it may be the first drug of its kind, but how is it going to solve the HCP’s problems and transform the lives of patients? How, ultimately, can it deliver better health outcomes?
This is the narrative you should lead with if you want to get an HCP interested. Shift the focus from what you do to why you do it

Make it personal

Beyond storytelling, there are other ways to strike that all-important personal connection with HCPs. One of the most effective is simply addressing them by their name, whether in the subject line, email copy, or preferably both. 

The Free Text Token in Veeva Approved Email allows reps to personalise their compliant emails to HCPs, providing a level of flexibility akin to traditional emails. This becomes more powerful when accompanied by approved content tailored to an HCP’s specific treatment area.

Segment your audience

 Segmentation plays an equally important role in personalisation. By narrowing your audience into defined groups, based on specific criteria, you can target them with relevant messaging and avoid sending a blanket email to all of your HCP contacts. 

You could look to segment your list of HCPs by variables such as treatment area, geographical location or even content preferences, whether that’s video, infographics or statistical reports. By reviewing the types of email they are opening and clicking, you can segment your list further, making every email as relevant (and convertible) as possible. 

Keep it conversational

It can be easy to turn emails into a one-way dialogue, when they should be used as a means of initiating a conversation with HCPs. To that end, try to keep the tone of your emails conversational, but without sounding unprofessional. 

Again, this is where the Free Text Token in Veeva Approved Email can come in handy, allowing you to break up the approved content with some engaging copy. Questions are also a tried and tested literary device for driving engagement, even if it just gets an HCP thinking rather than eliciting an immediate response.

It’s advisable to give reps a selection of pre-approved lines, so they can select the text and tone that is most appropriate for the recipient, while remaining compliant. 

Offer something more

Beyond the information on your product and its benefits, consider providing HCPs with additional material relating to their area of expertise, or further information on the rare disease that your drug is designed to treat. 

This sort of value-add can boost your chances of conversion, especially if you give the HCP some actionable or insightful content that they can apply within their practice area. How you choose to include this in your email is up to you – whether it’s cited within the body content, or downloadable via a call-to-action (CTA). 

Test everything

As Mits Mistry explains in his brilliant article on page 24, you should always look to test different versions of your email campaigns, where possible.

With an A/B test, you can change an element of your email such as the subject line, header, CTA or body content. From there, you’d create a subset of your HCP contacts, sending version A to 50% of the subset and version B to the remaining 50%. Once the results are in for the subset send, the top-performing variant can then be sent to the remainder of your database to instantly impact your campaigns.

Let data power your strategy

The more you test, the more data you will gather. From there, you can start to see trends and insights that will better inform your strategy going forward. Yes, you may start with some core metrics, but over time you can begin looking into much deeper and more meaningful insights such as therapy sentiment amongst segments, which in turn will greatly benefit future executional work.

The more data you have, the easier it is to segment your database and target the right customers with the right message. For that reason, it’s important to utilise on-site data collection and tracking, as well as preference centres.

In 2020, Dotdigital reported that preference centres were missing in 66% of emails. This is a huge opportunity missed by many brands. The use of preference centres empowers customers and is a great opportunity to collect data to power further communications. In consumer world, for example, preference centres are used to determine which products customers are interested in and the channel they want to hear from you on. 

What is a preference centre?

An email preference centre is a form that allows subscribers to control the marketing they receive from brands. By giving customers an opportunity to modify their communication preferences, it can help reduce your unsubscribe rate while improving their satisfaction. Preference centres can give subscribers control over frequency of contact, their preferred marketing channels, and the type of content they want to be sent.

Don’t use email in isolation

Whilst email is a powerful marketing tool, it’s important to remember it’s not the only one at your disposal. The future of email is omnichannel, so rather than thinking of it as an isolated channel, start thinking about seamlessly integrating it with your other channels. 

Coming back to the conversation around data, let’s say a contact is moving through a re-engagement series, but the data shows they aren’t opening emails. Instead of continuing to send them emails, why not encourage reps to interact directly with an HCP, whether with a phone call or an invitation to a virtual meeting via Veeva CRM Engage. Alternatively (or in addition), you could show them the re-engagement messaging on social media. It may be the catalyst that makes them remember and return to a conversation.

Automate where possible

Finally, never underestimate the importance of automated emails. Combined with an element of personalisation, automated emails can deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right contact, meaning they are always relevant to your customers. 

Automated emails should become a vital part of your strategy from the moment an HCP signs up. From nurturing leads through the sales process to re-engaging with long-term customers, they can help you build deeper relationships with customers, not to mention better response rates. Examples of automated emails include welcome emails, lead nurture series and after-sales support. 

At Dice, we have a wealth of experience delivering successful email campaigns for industry-leading pharmaceutical brands. Whether you’re developing a Veeva-approved or mass email campaign, you can count on us to take your email game to the next level, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.