Email Marketing in the Life Sciences: Why You Should be Experimenting

Email is relatively old, pre-dating the widespread use of the Internet. As such, it can be tempting to think of email as the washed-up older sibling of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

We’re here to tell you: that perception is far from the truth.

Email remains a powerful method for building trust, nurturing leads, and communicating directly with your audience – as long as it’s used correctly.

As proof, some 95 percent of opt-in email subscribers find messages from the brand useful. Email has a 4300% ROI and is 40 times more successful at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Email is a window of goodwill that life science companies should be maximizing. Below we outline why it works and how to make it work for you:

Part One: Why Email Remains Relevant
Part Two: How to Win at Email Marketing

Part One: Why Email Remains Relevant

It’s non-invasive
Marketing is a dance with your audience. You want to grab their attention and be top-of-mind, but if you come on too strong you’ll earn negative points for your brand.
Email represents a happy medium. It’s not as invasive as a phone call, but it’s more active than a banner ad. You demand attention, but the customer can address the email content in their own time, on their own terms. It’s the makings of a healthy relationship.

Your subscribers are yours
When you have an email subscriber list, that list belongs to you. Facebook likes and LinkedIn followers ultimately belong to Facebook and LinkedIn. Each of those channels can be useful for reaching new audiences, but if a platform chooses to restructure (as they often do) your followers may be lost.

With email, you can directly ask questions and receive feedback; you can answer questions as they arise, and you can build relationships with individuals – relationships that eventually lead to sales. As long as you provide valuable content, your subscribers are a valuable asset.

Email indicates trust
When a reader gives you their email address, they are implicitly expressing their trust in you. They are saying that they trust you to provide them with valuable content, and that they believe your voice is worth listening to.

Email is highly targeted
Email continues to become more sophisticated. Providers can automatically sort email by type or importance, and your email management system can send out pre-scheduled emails to highly targeted groups of people.

Because it has a feedback loop, email lets you see what resonates with your target markets. You can see who opens your emails, how often, and which content they click to. As you gather your list, you can establish buyer’s personas and provide them with information targeted specifically to their needs.

Part Two: How to Win at Email Marketing

Email marketing is a broad subject, but there are three general steps to success. They are:

Collect emails and open lines of communication
Build relationships
Provide targeted value

1) Collect emails and open lines of communication
Before you can do email marketing, you need to collect email addresses. You can do this by offering a newsletter, or by creating a variety of lead magnets and gated content. Offering valuable content in exchange for email addresses is a great way to build a list of relevant subscribers.

Once someone subscribes, leap into action! In the first few days, people will be eager to interact with you and your brand. This is the time to hook them and get them paying attention for much longer.

You can do this manually or set up an automated email through you mail provider. The important part is to engage. Ask questions! People love talking about themselves, and it will make them feel valued.

Good questions include:

What prompted you to subscribe?
What’s the number one thing we can help you with?
What’s the biggest challenge you face with your [THING RELATED TO YOUR BUSINESS]?

Not only do these questions open a line of communication, they’re useful! You get to conduct market research while starting a relationship with a subscriber.

Anxious to start building a sizeable audience? It’s also possible to buy email lists. Trade publications, such as Biotechniques, offer curated, relevant lists. These can be rented or purchased outright. Independent sites, such as MMS Lists, also offer full inventories of physician emails, which can again be filtered down to capture your target audience.

2) Build relationships
If people send you emails, respond! Being responsive over email increases trust, allows you to provide more value, and gives you insight into your audience.

At this stage you also want to be sharing your best content. Again, hook your audience with your top content so that they keep reading your emails. When your name shows up in their inbox, they should think “Oh it’s [YOUR COMPANY]. They always have really helpful and interesting stuff.”

Chances are your top content covers a variety of subjects within your niche. By sharing it early, you can get a high click through rate and determine what members of your audience care about.

3) Provide targeted value
At this point, your audience should love you. You’ve given them high-quality content and engaged with them personally. You also have information about what they like.

With your new knowledge of customer pain points, you now have the ability to create even better, more targeted content. You have information on exactly what your audience needs help with, so all you have to do is help them. You can also map your content against the buyer’s journey, targeting content to audience members at each stage.

When it comes time to make a purchase, will your audience start their search from scratch, or will they turn to the people that have provided them value since day one?

Let your sales give you the answer.