Emails are one of the oldest tools available in digital marketing. The first email was sent in 1971, and by 1978, the first email campaign was delivered to 400 mailboxes, resulting in $13 million in sales. Then, with new technology came new ways to reach prospective buyers. Digital ads, content marketing, and social media are just a few examples.
But here’s the surprising thing: Despite all the newer options, companies continue to choose email campaigns to keep in touch with their audience.
So why is this? And what does it mean for the medical device manufacturing world?
In this article, we'll discuss:
- Why medical device manufacturers need email marketing
- The pros (and cons) of email marketing
- What you need to create an effective email campaign
- And some tips to make yours stand out
Ready? Let’s dig in.
Email marketing: What’s in it for you?
First things first: If there's one thing that those purchasing medical devices are short on, it's time. This translates to your customers needing fast, easy-to-digest information that they can read on their schedule. In other industries, a company's target persona may have time to sit back and read a 25-page eBook, but this is much less likely for most people in the medical industry. Emails give the reader a chance to skim essential information on their own time and click through to see what interests them most.
So what makes a purchaser want to open your email? While you might jump to messaging in your company's marketing, don’t gloss over your tone. Buyers in this space need to be confident that their manufacturer has the best product on the market, so authority is crucial to your brand’s voice. Being personable is always a plus, but casual and playful tones don't tend to do as well in medical device companies' messaging. Your brand image should convey that you understand your buyer’s needs and can meet them.
The Pros and Cons of Email Marketing
Vetting potential medical device companies is a time-consuming process, so you need to quickly show potential customers that you have what they need. So how do you do that? Email marketing allows you to customize your messaging to each of your target personas’ needs without requiring a high budget or ample time.
Some of email marketing's biggest perks are:
- Its affordability
- Results are easy to measure
- Its wide reach
- And how easy it is to tie into other campaigns
Affordable marketing campaigns are not always effective ones. For example, depending on your niche, ad campaigns may be highly competitive (read: pricey) and not a viable option with your current budget. But fast reach for a small price is an area in which email campaigns shine. If you have a high-quality list of contacts who have opted in to receive emails, you can promptly send me information at a much lower cost. Your marketing software may already have a built-in email marketing platform. If not, you can find integrations and standalone software at different prices that can fit your budget.
Of course, like any other marketing tool, email campaigns do have their drawbacks. To run a successful email marketing campaign, you have to have a high-quality list of individuals who have opted to receive marketing communications. You can do this by building an inbound content marketing plan, but it's not as simple as buying a list and sending out your message.
Making sure your readers opt-in isn't just a courtesy but a legal requirement. Email marketing campaigns have to comply with the requirements set by the CAN-SPAM act. This legislation was passed in 2003 to give recipients more control over what they receive. Thankfully medical device manual factors are no strangers to regulations, but the FTC offers a quick guide on their regulations.
Some of the most critical takeaways from these requirements are:
- Include up-to-date information about your business
- Give readers an easy way to opt-out
- Make sure readers agreed to be contacted
- Use accurate subject lines
Overall, if your company has the time and effort to learn the requirements of a good email marketing campaign, you can create wide-reaching campaigns for a meager cost.
Getting Started with Email Marketing
Now that you understand the basics of email marketing and how to tell if it's for you, we’ll give you some tips that medical device manufacturers can use to develop an effective campaign. You don't have to be an expert to start. All you have to do is be ready to learn and improve as you go along.
The first thing you need is a good quality list. You can get this from contacts who have filled out forms on your website to download information or otherwise request that you reach out to them. Keep your list up to date, taking note especially to see which emails couldn't be delivered. This will show you if any inactive emails need to be updated or removed from the list. You can send more relevant emails to these individuals by segmenting your list into different groups, like organizing them by job title or company type. This helps you provide information that your potential customers will find especially relevant and lead to higher conversion rates.
Next, put your place in your customers’ shoes. In their role, you likely won't want to spend a lot of time digging for information, and you want a company that genuinely has your interests in mind. How do you show them this? One way is to dedicate time to understand what content they want and the fastest way to deliver it. Use engaging subject lines for your email to tell them what's inside and what value it has. Think about what matters in their line of work and what you can do to make them more manageable. For example, if your product leads to reduced costs or waste on their end, tell them that in the subject line and in the body of the email, explain how.
Don't forget to put in a call to action. Do you want the reader to visit your website? Don't just add a link to the bottom, but tell them what they'll get from clicking it. Make sure to put your best foot forward and think about what the reader needs from you, not only what you need from them. Other calls to action may include scheduling a call, downloading a guide, or completing a short survey.
Two Other Factors
Up until now, we've spoken mainly about the content of your email. While this is a critical part of your email marketing campaign, it's not the only part. You'll want to consider two other factors: the software you use to distribute your emails and how you set them up. Smaller medical device manufacturing companies may want to start with a low-cost or free program. Some larger companies offer freemium versions of their software for those looking to try it out before implementing a more robust paid product tier.
Remember to look down the road and not just consider where you are now but where you want to be in the future. Does the software integrate with the rest of your marketing tech? Does it have the capabilities to grow to handle more extensive list segmentation or A/B testing? A cheaper option now may not necessarily be the most reasonable option long-term. Consider how much your leads are worth to you and factor that into your budgeting considerations when choosing your software. Also, consider your marketing skill level and previous experience with email marketing software. Sometimes, the best option is the one that your team will use.
As a final note, the presentation of your email can have a significant impact on your results. There is hot debate as to whether plain text or formatted emails perform better. Your decision will depend on its purpose. Generally, emails using clean, well-formatted designs perform well for newsletters and promotional purposes. However, a plain text email from a real person's address can get higher conversion rates when you want to seem more personable. One example is if someone is downloading a free guide and you would like to ask if they have any questions. A personable, plain text email that sounds like it came from a real person would be much more likely to get a response.
Email marketing is a low-cost way to reach a large number of potential customers. You don't have to know much to start if you're willing to learn. While some areas will take a little time to understand, such as compliance with the CAN-SPAM act and your software requirements, your effort will pay off over time with measurable, replicable results. Especially when your customers need fast, accurate information on their own time, email marketing can give your medical device manufacturing company a unique advantage.