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E-blasts are a powerful and economical marketing tool for medical devices when used correctly. The advantages of e-blasts are:
- Instant feedback on your message in terms of metrics. You will quickly know how many people opened your e-blast and how many clicked through to your website or landing page. It is much more difficult to get this kind of feedback economically from print advertising.
- Immediate actionable leads that you can distribute to your sales channel. Again, this is almost non-existent with print advertising. The only way to come close is to have a Business Reply Card (BRC) inserted in the magazine next to your ad. This is expensive and logistically cumbersome.
- Quick to deploy. From concept to deployment, you can have an e-blast in front of prospects in less than 2 weeks (sometimes one week). A print ad could take 8 weeks from insertion order to delivery of the magazine.
- Easy and inexpensive to change the message if you are not satisfied with the initial response.
- Possibility of testing messages in small geographic markets or market segments before deploying nationwide or worldwide.
- Immediate placement before the target audience. With print media you have to wait for the reader to open the magazine and eventually come across your ad. This could take weeks. Then they have to pick up a phone to call you or they have to go their computer and look up your website. With an e-blast, they are already at their computer and only have to click an imbedded button “For more information click here” or click on your URL.
- Reasonable price for the benefits. In the ophthalmic market, e-blasts are less expensive than a full-page advertisement in print media.
The only disadvantages I can think of are:
- Limited “shelf life” of the e-blast versus a print ad. In other words, the e-blast is read, deleted or buried in a sea of other emails. The print ad stays in the magazine and sits on the doctor’s desk. He may see the ad a couple times if you have good placement. Think about how you manage the magazines you subscribe to. This isn’t really a huge disadvantage.
- Low number of opt-in email addresses offered by the deployment firm compared to print media. For example, most ophthalmic print media companies offer e-blast deployment. Typically, their opt-in email address lists are a third to half of their number of magazine subscribers.
Conclusion – I don’t believe the disadvantages come close to outweighing the advantages of e-blasts over print advertising. If you have a limited budget, I would choose e-blasts over print ads. If you have an adequate budget you can find a balance between the two where they can actually work together.
In the next post – The Elements of a Good E-Blast. Then, we will evaluate some good and bad e-blasts to understand what was done correctly and what could have been done better.