“Email marketing is archaic and not effective in marketing anymore”. Says who?!

According to MarketSplash, 99% of email users check their mailboxes at least once a day, and 58% even check their spam folders.

It might look like social media reigns supreme but data tells us that email marketing is still a cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign targeting HCPs.

According to McKinsey, email marketing is 40 times more effective for customer acquisition with an effectiveness rate that is almost 40 times higher than that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

In this post today, we'll take a look at why email marketing is still relevant in pharma marketing and how you can leverage its power to boost your ROIs.

Benefits of Email Marketing for Pharma Companies

How email marketing can keep you ahead of the curve? Check out these potential benefits.

1. Higher ROI & cost-effectiveness

Email marketing offers higher ROIs while keeping the campaign costs low.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing generates nearly $40 for every $1 invested.

Moreover, minimal investment is involved in email marketing as there are almost no costs on materials, ad space acquisition, and airtimes.

2. Measurable results & data-driven success

Email marketing gives you concrete analytics. Measurable metrics and data-driven optimisation make email marketing the best choice for healthcare marketers.

It enables you to closely observe audience behaviours so that you can double down on what’s working and eliminate what isn’t.

3. Personalised & targeted communication

Gone are the days when you could not control who would see your marketing messages. Email marketing facilitates marketers to send messages tailored to the targeted audience's needs.

Harness this targeting power with omnichannel marketing and you get marketing that leaves every HCP thinking you are talking to her only. This level of personalisation is every marketer’s dream. It can help you achieve higher conversion rates and also add credibility to your brand.

6 Best Email Marketing Practices to Engage HCPs

Based on my experience executing pharma marketing projects, I’ve prepared a list of the key strategies that will help you ace your email marketing campaigns. Here we go.

1. Develop a segmented email list

Email list segmentation involves classifying your targeted audience into different groups based on their characteristics like their interests, behaviours, and preferences. Creating a segmented email list can increase your outreach because not all HCPs are interested in the same pharma resources. For example, a pediatrician may not be interested in predominantly diabetes-related resources; an endocrinologist may not want to learn about vaccines for children or cancer treatment medications. Segmentation ensures that you send relevant content to HCPs and boosts open rates. According to Mailchimp, segmented email marketing campaigns have a 14.31% higher email open rate than non-segmented ones.

However, segmentation based on names and email addresses is not enough to get the expected results. To maximise your email segmentation's potential, you should consider variables like the specialisation of HCPs, stage of practice, prescribing habits, and engagement levels.

2. Launch automated email campaigns

Automated emails are a tried-and-tested method to deliver targeted messages to relevant HCPs at the right time. According to the stats shared by Smart Insights, triggered and automated emails have higher open and click rates due to their relevancy and in-time delivery.

Automated campaigns involve sending targeted follow-up emails when a contact takes a particular action. For example, you can trigger email autoresponders when a contact registers for a webinar or downloads a report.

Hence, automated emails can be a real lifesaver for you as they ensure that HCPs receive information tailored to their interests, increasing the likelihood of engaging with your content. Automation also ensures accuracy and saves tons of time that you, as a marketer used to spend on repetitive tasks.

3. Create compelling subject lines and CTAs

It is essential to create a compelling subject line to win over HCPs. Invespcro reports that personalised subject lines with a sense of urgency effectively entice people to open emails. One way to personalise your subject lines is by mentioning the recipient's name. Shorter subject lines with 6-10 words also tend to have higher open rates.

Drive more engagement by adding a clear and concise call-to-action with free offers. Include only one CTA per email to avoid overwhelming the recipients. By following these, you can maximise the open rates as well as direct HCPs to indulge in your desired actions.

David Douek, Founder & Chief Digital Officer of phamax Digital had a very interesting take on email subject lines. David said that we need to start thinking of the subject line right from the start instead of a slapdash effort at the last minute. In his words, “It's not something quickly added at the end but the beginning of the story, the attention-grabbing piece. This is an important mindset change.”

Another practical insight was offered by Gaurav Sanganee, who’s running Closing Delta, a consultancy for the Pharma industry. He emphasised the importance of knowing the exact character limits of subject lines for mobile devices. Otherwise, all your efforts to craft the best email subject will come to naught because of a cutoff somewhere in between.

Chris Wade, Associate Vice President, Strategic Solutions at Exeevo Inc. chimed in on the topic of crafting the perfect subject line by stating that “Understand subject lines need to be short, meaningful and not cluttered up with job bag numbers”.

4. Optimise email design and layout

HCPs are often busy dealing with patients, administrative tasks, and paperwork, so they spend less time sitting at their desktops. In fact, according to Adfire Health, 4 out of 5 HCPs use mobile phones to navigate online resources. Therefore, as a healthcare marketer, you must optimise your emails for mobile devices.

To achieve this, you must use a responsive design that automatically adjusts to mobile screens. Additionally, ensure that the font is readable and that link buttons are large enough to tap.

Moreover, avoid spamming your emails with bulky PDF files or images. It will lead to better load times and lesser spam complaints.

5. Create personalised messages

Personalised emails can be a game-changer for your pharma companies. According to the Ascend2 survey, email personalisation is the best approach for achieving maximum results from your email marketing efforts.

Among the hordes of emails that HCPs receive daily, personalised emails stand out the most. Adding the HCP’s name instead of generic greetings like “Dear Customer” can help you make a genuine connection with them.

Moreover, putting yourself in their shoes and discussing their interests, needs, and challenges can help you quickly build rapport.

Building your email campaigns based on the HCP’s previous interactions with your company is a great way to form a personalised relationship.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a more impactful message for your audience and engage them.

6. Test and analyse email marketing metrics

Sending personalised emails and running automated campaigns is not enough to engage HCPs. You need to go the extra mile and perform A/B testing. According to Invespcro, 60% of companies believe A/B testing is an effective way to optimise conversion rates.

Its primary goal is to find what exactly resonates with your audience and drive more engagement. You can test variables like subject lines, email content, and CTAs as well as determine which time is best for sending emails to HCPs. This way, you can optimise your email marketing campaign for the best results.

Now that you have the best practices, it’s time to take a look at the obstacles that make it hard to plan and execute a successful email marketing campaign.

1. Compliance with regulations

Navigating the regulatory landscape of pharma marketing is not easy. However, by enforcing a robust compliance program, including specific policies and promoting a culture of compliance throughout your organisation, you can help steer the regulatory requirements.

Regular audits and collaboration with regulatory experts can also help you avoid major pitfalls.

2. Improving email open-rates

According to insights by IQVIA, pharma emails typically have low click-through rates of 1%. However, practicing email automation, personalization, and segmentation strategies can help you boost your engagement and conversion rates.

It is essential to be strategic when selecting the timing for automated emails. Reports indicate that emails received on Mondays have a higher open rate.

3. Adapting to evolving HCPs’ preferences

HCPs’ preferences have continuously evolved after the pandemic, making it challenging for pharma marketers to keep pace with them. You need to understand their changing preferences for planning effective email marketing campaigns.

According to Anthill, HCPs are more inclined to open an email approved by doctors or other healthcare experts. Moreover, you must provide them with the content they prefer. The following graph indicates the interest rate of HCPs in different types of email content.

Source: Anthill Agency


Email marketing is an indispensable marketing tool for pharmaceutical companies in today's fast-paced world. Stats don't lie: email marketing is several times more effective than social media platforms. If used effectively, it can help you rake in unprecedented returns along with winning your HCPs’ trust and engagement.

Segmentation of email lists and running automated campaigns with personalised messages can help you deliver content that speaks to the needs and interests of HCPs. Furthermore, optimising email design and content according to test metrics is crucial for boosting open rates and ensuring regulatory compliance.

In short, email marketing is a goldmine to win over HCPs.

It's time for pharmaceutical companies to seize the opportunity to skyrocket their marketing campaigns.

Let's roll up our sleeves and harness the power of email marketing to create an impact in the pharmaceutical industry.