Regardless of industry, email subject lines are difficult to perfect. They represent a promise that the body of the email will deliver, which makes the phrasing uniquely important. For businesses in the life sciences, including pharmaceutical and biotech firms, crafting the perfect email subject that physicians will notice and respond to requires not only a clear understanding of the audience, but also knowing what medical email marketing tactics work best.
Here are three subject line best practices that can help boost open rates:
1. Steer clear of spammy keywords
There are a few words that will land even the most well-intentioned email in the spam folder or trash folder. Email marketing automation enterprise MailChimp completed a study of more than 200 million emails and looked at several key metrics as they related to open rates.
One of the most important terms to avoid is the all-too-familiar “free.” Virtually every email service provider’s spam filter will single out these subject lines for automatic removal. It’s been established that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so don’t try to sell medical professionals on the concept. Meanwhile, a few other words simply have a negative impact on open rates. These include “help,” “reminder” and “percent off,” explained MailChimp. One subject line containing the word “reminder” achieved a 0.5 percent open rate.
2. Include concise, timely and information-rich phrases
Subject lines should get to the point quickly. Anything beyond 50 characters is prone to negatively affect open rates among customers who may not be very familiar with a company. However, longer subject lines may work if the marketer has worked hard at segmenting the audience and understands exactly what each customer group wants or needs.
According to Litmus Software, A/B testing is a good way to get better insight into what subject lines hit the mark with physicians and other medical professionals. What works for a medical device maker may not necessarily be as effective for a pharmaceutical company. Considering physicians are regularly busy people, the more specific and concise a subject line, the better.
3. Clarify who the sender is
In many ways, email marketing is a way for life sciences companies to improve brand recognition among medical professionals. Accordingly, it’s critical that the “From:” portion of the subject line is explicitly clear in describing who the sender is. A brief cautionary tale from Litmus includes the retailer Banana Republic. The company shortened its name to “BR” in the subject line and recipients weren’t sure who was sending them a promotion. The more health care professionals identify a company’s name with a high-value email campaign, the better position the business will be in to form stronger relationships.
Medical professionals place a premium on time, relevancy and addressing needs accurately. Email subject lines should align with these priorities. Life science organizations can boost open rates and create opportunities when they strengthen their direct marketing campaigns with smarter subject lines.