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Email Marketing Q&A

  •   By specialty, which group of physicians are most likely to open an email, and which group is the least likely? What tactics can improve open rates among the group least likely to open a message?

    The physicians most likely to open emails are specialists such as trauma surgeons, hepatologists, dermatopathologists, and preventive medicine specialists. This group had open rates consistently above 10 percent, according to SK&A’s latest customer metrics. Typically, email marketing campaigns targeting specialty physicians will have distinct subject lines, messages, and calls-to-action that are uniquely related to their practice area.

    The physicians least likely to open emails are pediatricians, orthopedic surgeons, and general practitioners. This is a group frequently targeted with email campaigns, often with subject lines and messages that are not specific or unique to their practice area, and thus of lower interest to the practitioners. Their average open rate, according to our metrics, was under 4 percent.

    The campaign type also had an impact on rates, regardless of the physician being targeted. Campaigns touting medical reports, CME invitations, and job opportunities had the highest open rates, while campaigns advertising products and services had the lowest open rates.

    SK&A deployed more than 4.8 million emails last year on behalf of its customers. We keep detailed records of every campaign, so we know which professionals by job title are receiving, opening and clicking. These metrics are available in the Email Performance Archive on our Website.

  •   What are the most common email campaign types and which physicians are being targeted?

    With doctors spending an estimated eight hours per week online attending webinars and participating in social forums, targeting them via email has become a popular marketing tactic for the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, our metrics show email is the fastest growing channel used to engage and influence physicians and other practitioners.

    During the second half of 2010, SK&A deployed more than 1.53 million email records across 11 campaign types on behalf of its customers. The results of this effort provide insight to which campaign types are most often deployed, what specialties are most commonly targeted, and which campaign types are more likely to be opened and clicked.

    In the second half of 2010, product/service announcements, representing more than 70 percent of deployed emails, was the leading campaign type. Survey campaigns, subscription offers and webinar invitations followed in second, third, and fourth place, respectively. These four campaign types accounted for 88 percent of SK&A’s email volume in the six-month period.

    Among emails sent specifically to physicians, the most targeted specialists were family practitioners, internists, otolaryngologists, cardio specialists and oncologists/hematologists. Among medical office staff personnel emailed, office managers, administrators and medical directors were common targets. In the hospital setting, C-level executives, administrators and purchasing directors were common targets for messages.

    With open and click-through rates varying widely, the key to success for email campaigns is to deliver the right message to the right audience with a strong offer or value proposition.