Email has upended traditional media-buying practices by presenting a new medium with unique purchasing considerations. Office-based physicians are busy and typically inaccessible, so it’s crucial that the elements of email communication, including physician email addresses, composition, design and timing, are carefully considered to maximize results.

Selecting and Purchasing Your Physician Email Addresses Email1and1

Unlike other forms of media such as print and television, email has the ability to narrowly target all types of physicians in any quantity. Some considerations to address when purchasing physician lists are:

o Narrow Your Audience. Email marketing has the advantage of directly targeting specific physician audiences with no unwanted contacts included. You can target physicians very narrowly-by specialty, practice size, hospital affiliation, patient volume, geography or gender. For example, if you only want to market to physician offices with a daily patient volume of 20 or less, you can select and purchase that specific audience.

o Name Quality. The quality of the actual email addresses must also be considered. Are they business-domain emails with doctor’s names like jsmith at docoffice dot com or generic emails like info at docoffice dot com? Reaching an actual practitioner is ideal so general mailbox addresses won’t be as effective or valuable as those with names. Non-business-domain emails, such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail addresses, are also available. Depending on your service, you may or may not consider using these addresses. They are generally ineffective.

o List Licensing. You should also organize your email campaign to determine what level of usage you will need. Data-provider companies simply do not hand over their physician databases. You must select from options like one-time use, a specific licensing timeframe or unlimited use. This means that you can select what types of physician contacts you want to reach and how many times you’d like to do so. Usually, you will never be allowed to see on the contacts you’re purchasing. You find out how many email addresses exist in the database you want, and you “buy,” or more accurately, “rent,” them. Once you provide the creative and deployment specifications, your data provider will usually have a third-party service broadcast and track your campaign.

o Pricing. You’ll need to determine the scope of your audience by choosing a quantity of physician email addresses. Most often, they are purchased by the thousand or per “M.” A list rental will usually cost from $400 to $500 per thousand. If the rental does not include deployment, set up, test runs, transmission and a summary of results, there will be an extra fee. If you’re planning to deploy multiple emails, it may be wise to purchase a two- or three-time deployment rental. These run approximately $1,000 per thousand and will save you money. Order minimums are typically in the low thousands. Extra options like image hosting, personalization and URL tracking will price between $50 and $150 in most cases. File suppression, HTML design analyses and HTML spam analyses can be pricier, but are valuable services and can be added on to most orders. Most providers only sell business domains with names, so if you do come across any non-business domains, they are likely to cost less. Many providers will guarantee their lists or will only have you pay for delivered emails.

Getting Your Foot in the Door: Creating a Message That Will Achieve Results

Phase One: Grabbing Physicians’ Attention

The ‘From’ field, subject line and the first sentence of the message will make or break the entire email. Simply put, physicians need good reasons to open emails. Usually, familiarity or an incentive to open will do the trick. When an email is reviewed by a physician, you only have 15 seconds max to make an impression. That’s not much time to explain a product or service, so the challenge is to carefully plan each element of the email to increase its chances of escaping the ‘Deleted’ folder. Read on to find out how to beat the dreaded ‘Delete.’

o ‘From’ Line. Most recipients judge an email by the sender. It’s your job to determine who or what will urge physicians to open emails. It may be the company name, if you have a strong reputation in the healthcare field, which urges them to open the email.

o Subject Line. The subject line is the most important and time-consuming task when crafting an email. According to Jupiter Research, 35% of recipients open emails based solely on the subject lines. Also, according to a study by the Email Sender and Provider Coalition, 69% of recipients report emails as spam based solely on the subject lines. The subject line has to be short (usually 40 characters or less, but be mindful that handheld devices only display the first 14 characters at first glance), catchy and free of spam-targeted words. It should also incorporate the brand or product name.

o Beginning of the Email. Email-client windows usually show recipients a portion (only the first sentence or so) of the email before they open it. Like the subject line and the ‘From’ field, this first sentence can be a deciding factor in the email’s fate. The first sentence should sum up the email. What is the purpose; why are you sending this message to the physician? Use the inverted pyramid structure that journalists use when organizing your email. This means sharing the most important information at the beginning and tapering off to less-vital information as the message continues. The first one to three sentences should fully explain the reason for the email.

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