The 4 “No-Nos” of Pharmacy Email Marketing

Transaction Data Systems About The Author

Jun 16, 2016 8:30:00 AM

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Do you collect email addresses from your pharmacy patients?

If not, you should. Why? To start an email marketing campaign, of course.

Email marketing is an excellent way to inform and educate your pharmacy patients on health related issues, establish your pharmacy as a reliable health care solution in your community, and draw patients into your business.

In a previous article we discussed marketing emails you should be sending. This time, let’s talk about what you should not be doing in your pharmacy email marketing.

Don’t fill their inbox.

There isn’t a set number on how many emails it’s okay to send in any given period of time. It varies widely from market to market. For example, I get one to two emails per day from Express (a clothing retailer), but I only get an email about once a week from Petsmart.

Somewhere down the line these companies probably conducted some research and found that “X number of emails” gave optimal return for their time and effort. However, you don’t have a marketing staff to conduct research like this, so a good safe bet is to not send more emails than valuable information you have to share.

Or, in short, quality over quantity. It’s better to send two emails, containing valuable information your customers want to read, than ten emails that are only mildly interesting or of no significance to them at all. If your emails aren’t of interest to them, at some point your recipients are going to stop opening them. They will go straight to their trash. And if you continue to bombard them with emails they will unsubscribe, or worse mark you as spam. (Every content marketer’s nightmare!)

Don’t be generic.

As I stated earlier, you probably don’t have the marketing manpower to conduct research or work on writing consistent, valuable content to send to your customers. You and your staff have patients to attend to, prescriptions to fill, and about twenty other things going on any given day. A good solution to this, one that many independent pharmacies choose, is to hire a service that takes care of this for you.

However, this can sometimes be problematic. Some services create generic content to distribute to all of their clients. So if you and another pharmacy in your community are using the same service the blog post that you emailed out to your patients, put on your website, and posted to your social media is likely going to be the same one that Joe’s Pharmacy, two blocks over, posted to all the same media.

This goes back to quality over quantity, don’t waste your time, effort, or money to send out generic content. You know your customers. Maybe you have a high number of diabetic patients or you specialize in cancer medications. Make sure to send emails and offers that pertain to your patients. There are services or freelancers that you could work with to create this kind of content.

Don’t write a novel.

How many of you are skimmers? It’s okay, raise your hand. Most people skim things instead of fully reading them. In fact, I bet there are people skimming this article, right now.  When you write a long email, more than likely readers are going to just skim it for the highlights, missing the finer points.

This is why it’s so important to be brief in emails. Write just enough to get your message across. If your subject is lengthy, break it up into short paragraphs to make it easier for your reader to digest. White Space is your friend.

A few more tips when writing lengthy emails:

  • Use relevant images. They serve to break up the text even more, and giving the reader a visual will help them understand more of your content. It might even make them want to slow down and read the entire thing.
  • Bold important information. Going back to the skimming, it’s important that you bold information that you want your patients to see. Their eyes will naturally be drawn to bolded text.
  • End your email with an offer. When writing an email you first need to know why you’re writing it. If it’s just to inform patients, you may not need an offer at the end unless you want to encourage them to learn more. However if you’re wanting to draw customers into your pharmacy you could use offers such as, “Stop by the pharmacy to learn more!” or “Download our free coupon for 10% off any OTC item!”

Don’t always sell.

It’s perfectly fine to inform our patients of the products and services that you offer, but it shouldn’t be all that you contact them about. Overly pushing your products is a way to lose a lot of email readers. I hate to harp on it, but quality is key. When your emails offer nothing of value (and I don’t just mean coupons for your products) people will stop opening them and start sending them straight to the trash.

If you’re uncertain of what emails you could send that would be of any value to your customers try:

  • Holiday and birthday emails. These emails make your business more personal.
  • Informative emails. Are there changes in pharmacy or health coverage law that are going to directly affect your patients? Let them know and explain it in a way they might understand. This will establish you as a trusted source.
  • Community event emails. Get your patients involved in the community by being involved in the community. Invite them to carnivals or local farmers markets. You can emphasize the importance of physical activity and healthful foods in these.

These rules aren’t hard and fast, and if you have an active email marketing campaign you’re going to break them sometimes. You’re probably going to write some lengthy emails. Speaking from experience, those informative emails can get out of hand. On occasion, there’s no way around being generic when trying to speak to your whole audience at once.

The important thing is to start somewhere, and use these rules as guidelines to make sure your email marketing campaign doesn’t fall flat right out of the gate!

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