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BMJ started out over 170 years ago as a medical journal, publishing their first research paper on the treatment of squinting. Now, as a global brand with a worldwide audience, they help medical organizations and clinicians tackle today’s most critical healthcare challenges. BMJ publish more than 60 medical and allied science journals. These include some of the most influential specialty journals in their field.


  • Increase database of students applying for/expected to be enrolled in a medical degree.
  • Convert registrants to subscribers with full access to premium content.

The Challenge

Student BMJ launched its “Applying To Medical School” resource in May last year. The resource was created to support A level students with their medical school application. It contains a useful medical school comparison tool and a wealth of helpful articles written by current students and admissions tutors.

One of the major challenges BMJ has faced since launching this project last May was the size of their mailing list for this target audience. In the build-up to the UCAS application deadline on October 15th they decided to focus their marketing efforts on growing the mailing list and converting registrants into subscribers.


The Solution

The team had not embarked on a data automation program before but they had a well-defined approach to increase their database size using social media and email. They first drove traffic from Facebook Ads and a solus email campaign through UCAS Media to a landing page built using Adestra’s Form Builder to capture their data. To incentivize the data exchange, they offered an interactive digital journal to registrants who joined their mailing list.

Once a user registered for the digital journal, they were entered into a nurturing program with the objective of converting the registrant into a subscriber. This automation program was built using Adestra’s Automation Program Builder and it consisted of four stages launched over a period of nine days:

  • Stage 1 – triggered email offering access to the free digital journal and introducing the ‘Applying to medical school resource’. This paper is written by current students and tutors to help applicants stand out.
  • Stage 2 – after a one-day delay, the contacts are sent another email introducing the ‘Medical School Selector’ tool. This provides applicants with details on university profiles, fees, admissions policies, grades required and much more.
  • Stage 3 – following a two-day delay, contacts receive an email designed to help them write the best personal statement and reminding them of the ‘Medical School Selector’ tool.
  • Stage 4 – after another two-day delay, the final email is sent sharing all the resources Student BMJ provide that could help students with their applications.

All emails have a clean and simple design with clear calls-to-action that stand out. Using templates created by Adestra’s Digital Design team, BMJ’s emails were mobile responsive – a crucial factor, as 72% of their contacts opened emails on a mobile device.

After the nurture program ends, all contacts are kept in the general marketing pool of contacts.

The Result

Student BMJ’s lead generation efforts allowed them to double the size of their mailing list in less than a week. By using the reporting tools available in Adestra’s platform, BMJ could make tweaks to the campaigns while they were running to maximize conversion and the impact of their message. This resulted in some of the best results they have seen in their account.

  • Email 1 – 72% open rate with a 32 % click-through rate
  • Email 2 – 56% open rate with a 25% click-through rate
  • Email 3 – 55% open rate with a 28% click-through rate
  • Email 4 – 48% open rate and a 4.8% click-through rate

The most significant and most impressive result was the increase in online subscriptions. Compared to the same period in the year before, BMJ saw a 50.39% uptake.


uptake in online subscriptions