Menu Close
Mission Control / Healthcare

What I Wish I Knew Before Launching My Physician Email Program

Through our work with NYU Langone Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and others, here’s what we’ve learned about creating email marketing strategies for physicians.

Email Program Cover

By Sonia Friedman

First things first: To start a physician email marketing program, you need to have a destination you’re driving to. This is why C/A has built physician-facing content hubs to support clients like NYU Langone Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Once you have your content hub in place and content creation is rocking and rolling, you can ramp up your email efforts. Follow these five tips for creating a successful year-round email program for physicians.

1. Review your audience data.

Physician content hub? Check. Email template? Check. List of potential subscribers … Check? If you plan to use personalization or segmentation in your email program, some cleanup may be required before you deploy your first send. Take the time to audit your lists to ensure that your data is clean. If your CRM uses inconsistent fields to reflect key user data like location and name, then that data cannot be used in any email-related field mapping.

2. Give physicians a choice in the content they receive.

Physicians are a busy bunch who are inundated with information. The more you can make your content relevant to their needs, the more successful your email program will be. Consider creating a preference center, like this one on Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Discoveries in Medicine, which enables physicians to identify topics and interests that are relevant to them.

3. Create transparency in your content pipeline to simplify email planning.

Even before articles are published, your email team will need to start planning email lineups. They’ll also need access to the content environment to ensure that any last-minute copyedits are reflected in the emails. The more your content and email teams communicate, the better!

To streamline the email build process, consider investing time upfront to create an automation that can populate relevant or recent content into the body of the email.

4. Establish a scalable process for gathering and editing imagery.

Identifying medically accurate imagery to accompany emails and content pieces is not for the faint of heart. If your emails drive to owned content, you may already have a system to handle image selection. Great! Just make sure that you have hero or thumbnail images at the ready in the right specs for email.

If you plan to link out to media hits — where you don’t own the photos that are used to accompany the content — imagery may be more of a challenge. You could go the text-only route, simply linking out to the media site that mentions your organization’s work. Or, you could create a library of stock imagery and/or illustrations that you can place as needed.

Whichever route you choose, the key is to think this through in advance so you’re not holding up a timely email send for want of the right photo.

5. Identify the key stakeholders who will review each email.

Work within your team to find the right set of stakeholders who have the capacity to review content lineups and email tests along with a broad enough organizational view to point out potential problems or priority shifts. And appoint a backup reviewer or system for the times when your primary reviewer is away.

Before you kick off your email program, get aligned with your team about expected turnaround times between test sends and final feedback and approval.

Tip: Carve out a recurring time when you and your team can review email analytics and make decisions about what’s working, what’s not and where you can experiment.

Build a Better Physician Email Program

We can audit your existing efforts to help you determine what’s working and what’s not — and develop a roadmap for a more strategic email program.


Sonia Friedman Overlay Yellow
Sonia Friedman Account Director

Sonia has worked in client service for nearly 15 years and has managed multi-channel campaigns and content marketing programs for clients in the nonprofit, healthcare, travel and financial services industries. She loves collaborating with her clients and over the years has worked with brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, NYU Langone Health, Penn Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and TIAA.

On the weekends, Sonia can often be found shuttling her two young kids to hockey practice or ballet class. A book lover, she serves on the board of her local library foundation and plays on a tennis team.

Get the latest C/A insights direct to your inbox. Sign up here for our newsletter.