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Illustrated Email Campaign

I wanted to do a quick take on this email campaign I designed and why it caught attention. The mission of ONAC was to influence members of multiple Neurosurgeon professional organizations that they should combine into one and stop duplicating efforts. I don’t care much for the politics of it, often I just want to see if I can be effective.

My initial meeting with the project owner, I started thinking about the audience. Surgeons. These are people who are extremely busy, analytical and are bombarded with medical communications constantly. They have entire staffs to offload administrative decision-making, so how to reach them with an email campaign?

The close up view, the shorter message. Signup response analytics was quite good.

I don’t want to be yet another designer grasping for medical stock photography. I’m absolutely sure that has to be the most overdone category. Every PR agency working for the medical industry has no doubt sent every decent medical stock photo that exists. Not trying to be cynical, I felt like I could give these neurosurgeons something they didn’t have. Their own little cartoon neurosurgeon, an icon of sorts. While looking at it now, it’s clear I like the hand drawn style (judging based on my website design), but this was years before. I went on to sketching a character a little bit based on the project lead, a neurosurgeon himself. The messaging here was from one neurosurgeon to another so let’s have the recipients hear it right from their peer in comic form. How often do they get to see a cartoon of their own industry? After some research in attire and some sketchbook drawings, I got the overall look I wanted and would move onto porting it into vectors.

Fortunately I could simplify it by quite a lot. I gave the character a post-surgery look. Casual yet matter of fact. A bit of character portrayed in the eyebrow. I wanted to character to excude the idea of “I’m busy but you need to know this information, so let’s get curious about it.” And of course I hoped the comic would disarm and catch the attention of the viewer, a neurosurgeon isn’t getting comic emails very often, this I knew for sure.

The copy while fairly serious in tone, could still be put in a comic typeface and I could use the same drawing for multiple messages by updating the zoom on the character. And to finish it off, a fun call-to-action button in the form of a comic arrow.

While the copy here is long, sometimes that can’t be helped. And remember, the block of text would have been in the email anyway. So separating it into bulletpoints focusing on financial costs and specific action items was

The result? Consistent 30% to 40% open and view rate from the email analytics within an audience in a rage of 3000-5000. The click-rate I can’t quite remember since it was so long ago but I recall it easily doubled averages and expectations.

Anyway I write this as kind of recommendation. Give busy people something new, something they haven’t had before if you can. This was an idea of making an arguably dull industry topic into something fun and even inspiring. I can’t say it happened, but I would love to know that from this comic, some surgeons instructed their staff to make their patient communications a little more fun.