Monday, December 22, 2014

How to Automate Relationship Management with Email Marketing

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Digital marketing is quickly becoming a foundational elemental for life science organizations, thanks in no small part to the importance of cost reduction for some 83 percent of sales and marketing managers.

How does digital marketing save money? Easy: it scales.

And of all the digital marketing tactics available to life science organizations, few offer more opportunity than sophisticated email marketing. Although this medium may have lost some of its luster compared to advanced re-targeting campaigns or viral marketing, the inbox rem
ains a hallmark of how consumers communicate.

In fact, you can expect nearly half of your list to be active when you start sending email campaigns. This means life science industries can use email to reach a huge audience, even if the have limited resources. Two birds. One stone.  

But, before you get started, you’ll need to use the right tools.

How to Automate Emails

Resist the temptation to use your CRM to conduct an email campaign. It sounds great in theory, but unless your platform can build an entire campaign, track the analytics, and A/B test different scenarios, you’ll be expending far too much manual effort.

Instead, use a marketing automation platform to build your email campaign. Despite its name, marketing automation software actually doesn’t make you seem robotic to your customers. Quite the opposite. Marketing automation provides businesses with the proper tools to personalize communications at scale. The key is to segment your audience.

Why Segmentation Matters               

Using automation to scale personalized marketing isn’t so much about the language you use, but rather the content you send. Therefore, it’s paramount to properly segment your prospects so you can send them relevant content. That’s also how you strengthen relationships. Sending great, targeted content builds a sense of trust with your prospects, which is what this is all about, right?

For example, life science industries have several distinct markets, namely payers, providers, and patients. Prospects in these different markets will share little in common with one another, so dividing them up is a must. But it won’t only be what content you send to them that matters, but also how you send it.

Testing is Crucial

Consider what a life science organization can offer a physician: opportunities to participate in clinical trials, continuing medical education, detailing content they can reference on their own time, emerging research, etc.

You’ve got a relatively large arsenal at your disposal, but not every physician will want the same thing. That why you’ve got to test. Any marketing automation software worth your time will have split testing options, so create two versions of an email – or even an entire email campaign – and run a test.

Once you find a winner, move on to the next test, and then the next test. You should always be testing, because that’s how you’ll constantly improve. But you don’t just need to test the types of content you send, you’ll also need to test send times, the length of your campaigns, as well as when you make the ask.

Does Automation Really Build Relationships?

Yes. Over 60 percent of physicians prefer email communications, and an even higher percentage of patients prefer this medium too. If you make sure you emails are targeted and educational, then many of your prospects will continue to read them until they trust your organization enough to say yes.  The important thing to remember is that this approach takes time. You need to build and maintain a healthy email list composed of prospects who’ve opted-in. Don’t buy a list from a third party. Seriously, do not.

Once you’ve got your campaigns up and running, your system’s analytics will guide you to better, more optimized emails, which will lead to more customer conversions. If a large percentage of success is simply showing up, then marketing automation allows life science organizations to continually show up in inboxes at a massive scale and for considerably less money.

Author Bio: Zach Watson is the content manager at TechnologyAdvice. He covers gamification, healthcare IT, business intelligence, and other emerging technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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