Sales & Marketing

Life Science Leads Targeting: 3 email marketing mistakes to avoid

Life Science Leads Targeting: 3 email marketing mistakes to avoid

By 2025, the number of global email users is expected to reach a total of 4.6 billion, despite the growth of social media communication channels and instant messaging capabilities, according to Statista. Email remains an essential part of life science leads targeting, but with 2.4 billion emails being sent across the globe every single second, many of them become ignored and unanswered.

This is because there are some common mistakes that people make when reaching out to potential scientific leads, so below we have detailed our top 3 best practice tips for email marketing campaigns. Plus, some simple ways to increase your open, click through, and conversion rates.

Is email still an important marketing tool?

Yes, because apparently more than half of us look at our emails before even getting out of bed in the morning. A poll by the Vision Council found that the first thing 58% of Americans did after waking up was check their work email.

The benefit of email in life science marketing is that you can get straight to the inbox of the required person, and even be the first thing they read in the morning. Email is an essential digital marketing tool because it spans the entire customer journey from awareness and consideration, to decision and far beyond. When done right, email can encourage leads to become customers, and those customers to become advocates.

So, how can you capture and maintain their focus before they start thinking about that first cup of coffee? If their inbox is flooded with meetings and marketing content, it is imperative that your email doesn’t get ignored, or worse, end up in the spam folder.

Often people will spend an inordinate amount of time creating and sending emails as part of their communication strategy, yet are seeing little or no results for their efforts. Read on to get our top email marketing tips for the life sciences industry.

3 email marketing mistakes to avoid

1. Emailing everyone the same content

2. Jumping the gun with strangers

3. Ignoring the data

1. Emailing everyone the same content

It can be tempting to cast your net wide by emailing everyone in your contact list the same message, but this can have damaging future effects. Known as the ‘spray and pray’ approach, this generic mass content marketing only shows your email recipient that you don’t really care who they are, and so they will most likely treat you the same way in return (usually by ignoring your message or unsubscribing from your emails forever).

Tip: The best approach is to segment your scientific audience and email them with specific information that is relevant and useful to them.

This goes for all industries, but is particularly important given the niche areas within life sciences companies. There is no point emailing someone about cell biology if they work in cancer research or offering them a product that they will never have a use for. Segmenting can be general, such as targeting a specific job title or location, or incredibly detailed to include clinical trials, funding, awards, publications, and even trade show or event attendance.

According to Campaign Monitor, marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

Understanding your customer in relation to their journey is also essential - Where are they in their decision making process? What is going to capture their interest at this point? Taking time to know your audience can lead to a series of nurturing campaigns that help them transition through the desired stages of the customer journey.

Make it personal

It is also very effective when emailing people to mention some highly targeted information personal to them such as a recent publication they wrote, an award they won, or a change of job role, as this shows them that you have done your research properly and are not just mass emailing them. Also using the person’s name is important, particularly in the subject line and first line of the email. This may sound obvious, but many emailers underestimate how much the recipient responds to their own name - as we scan our inbox, we are likely to stop skim reading at the sight of our name. Deloitte found that just including your customer’s name in your email marketing could boost open rates by 5.2%

More targeted segmentation allows you to further tailor your messaging and content - all of which is going to massively improve your email campaign.

How do I effectively segment my audience?

The SciLeads platform curates thousands of profiles of scientific professionals and has a list building feature to create highly targeted segmentation for specific campaigns. The SciLeads search bar utilizes Boolean logic (the same as PubMed or Google) allowing you to build powerful search queries and pinpoint the data you need faster. Try it here for free.

2. Jumping the gun with strangers

There is nothing wrong with sending a ‘cold email’ to someone you have not approached before and don’t have an existing relationship with, but you will find it more difficult to get a response from a stranger. Below are some ways to ensure you aren’t instantly discarded.

Me, Myself, and I

When emailing prospective customers for the first time, a mistake people often make is only talking about themselves or their company. There is a saying in marketing that ‘you wouldn't go to a party and only talk about yourself’, meaning that you should focus on the other person’s wants, needs and interests, and not just your own. If you send someone an email and start it with content like ‘I am, we are, we do, we have this product…’ then it is likely to put the reader off instantly. They don’t want to read all about you and your company and what you do straight away, but they will want to know what you can do for them.

Tip: When writing emails the word ‘you’ and ‘yours’ are more enticing to the reader than ‘I, we, and us’.

For example:

‘Hi Dr Smith,

As you have had great success doing X, Y and Z, your company, [Company Name], needs to know who the key opinion leaders are in your industry to continue outselling your competition...”

Rather than


My name is John and my company does A, B and C and I have had a lot of success in doing X, Y and Z. I think your company needs our service because it is unable to do this and that...’

See the difference? It is better to compliment and champion the reader first to gain their interest rather than boasting about what you can do. Those first few words of your email are crucial, so don’t put people off by only talking about yourself.

Presenting your ‘ask’ too quickly

Every email should have a ‘call to action’ i.e. an action you want your reader to take upon reading your message, but many people jump the gun in emails by stating their ‘ask’ too quickly or starting the message with these words:

‘Do you have time for a call this week?’

The first thing people tend to think when they read this is “no I don’t have time for your sales pitch”. In sales training it is taught that people love to buy, but don’t want to be sold to, so what you need to do first is give them a reason to want to speak to you.

Tip: You need to give before you ask

Provide your reader with something valuable or interesting to them before you make your requests, such as an interesting report or webinar recording. If possible, allow them the opportunity to experience your product or service themselves by watching a demonstration video, or accessing a free trial.

Also bear in mind that not everyone is comfortable with phone calls so it is good practice to offer alternative ways for them to speak with you such as instant messaging like a live chat, or provide a booking link that allows them to book a Zoom meeting with you at a time that suits them.

Give them some pain-relief

People are hard-wired to avoid pain more than acquire pleasure (Psychology Today) so if you’ve done your research and found a major pain point for the recipient that you can cure, highlight that. Think about your positioning in marketing and what makes your product or service a distinct benefit to them, but never tell them that what they have been doing is wrong - instead of saying ‘you need this service because you have been wasting time and money’, it is more effective to present your solution in a way that will make their previous hard work easier and give them more time, money, and freedom to achieve even better things.

Tip: Another important point to remember is that not everyone will be an expert in your field. Remember if it’s a technical sale you might have to educate your prospects before they are ready to speak with you.

If the people you are emailing understand the technical language or acronyms you might use then great, but always keep your target market in mind and ensure the audience will understand what you are saying. Forgetting this will make your campaign fall flat.

Make sure you understand your prospective customers, and take into consideration their knowledge base. Again, do your research - find out what your customer’s interests and challenges are and show them how you can provide value and help them.

The SciLeads platform gives you detailed information about a person’s area of expertise including any publications that they have written. You can also view a network diagram showing you their professional connections and collaborations to further inform your research. This is invaluable when cold emailing someone as it gives you greater insight into their interests and provides that essential hook to start a conversation. Get a demonstration of this feature with our free trial.

3. Ignoring the data

It is easy to send someone an email from your Outlook or Gmail account, but how do you know if they saw it? Read receipts are effective, but the recipient can turn them off so how do you know if the message was read, delivered or simply discarded? Before hitting send on any email, you need to define your goals and how you will measure their success. Most importantly you need to learn from your mistakes.

The importance of measuring

There are many email marketing platforms available (such as MailChimp, Zoho, Sendinblue, Hubspot, and Salesforce) which allow you to accurately measure the success of your email newsletters and campaigns. You can see who received the email, if they opened it, where they clicked and when.

The thing is, many people ignore the tools and data available to them. They will spend endless time creating and sending emails en masse, but do not measure their success and try to improve them.

Albert Einstein is often credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

If you send an email out to a list of people but get very few opens or responses, there is no point sending the same email to the next group of people. Plus, the lower your email engagement rate, the more likely your emails are to end up in spam folders.

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Many email marketing tools support you in testing how good your email is before sending it to everyone on your (hopefully segmented!) list. With A/B testing you can try out different subject lines, email templates, and content on trial groups of people to see which versions work best. Take into consideration that people use mobile devices so your email should be readable for mobile users. There is no point in assuming what will work best for your audience when you can try and test the content first and perfect it.

Then when you send your email out, it is still important to go back and analyze its success - how many emails were successfully delivered? What was the open rate? More importantly, what was the click-through rate?

Someone opening your email is great, but even better is if they read it and click your CTA link. If they don’t, you need to do more testing and experimenting to tweak it even further.

Tip: Think about time of day and time zones when sending your email - if you send something at 11.00am in the United States, what time is that in Europe? Will the recipient read and engage with an email received on a Friday afternoon before their weekend?

Probably not, but testing and measuring the results will let you know this for sure and you can schedule your email to go out at the optimal time.

Tests and experiments are the best way to systematically create new knowledge, and to learn more about your audience. They also force you to question your own preconceived ideas, beliefs, and ‘best practices’. Read more about data driven marketing in our blog here.


SciLead’s tips for more effective email marketing

Here is a summary of best practices when it comes to email marketing

  • Subject line – keep it short and eye-catching. Use their name where possible.
  • Content - keep it positive, relevant, and don’t only talk about yourself.
  • Interest - don’t assume they understand your area of interest and expertise.
  • Lists - ensure you segment your audience to target people effectively.
  • Experiment - test your subject lines and content on a small group first.
  • Action - make sure there is a call to action that the person will respond to.
  • Data - use the data to ensure your email marketing strategy is working.
  • Spam triggers - there are elements that can make an email go into a spam folder such as the email is too long, there are too many images, the email is too large, using words like “free” in the subject line. Google is a great place to explore these in more detail.

How SciLeads can help

The SciLeads platform enables our customers across multiple sectors, whether it is a start-up biotech company or the large pharmaceutical companies, to find the exact people they want to target quickly and effectively with precise detail. The platform is particularly effective when segmenting individuals for email marketing to life science leads as it can provide details on their recent publications, funding, awards and trade show or event attendance. Find out more and get a free trial of the platform here to experience it for yourself.