A HUGE opportunity for pharma websites

SUMMARY: Falsehoods have been shown to spread faster and farther than accurate information, and research suggests that misinformation can have negative effects in the real world, such as amplifying controversy about vaccines and propagating unproven cancer treatments. Therefore, health misinformation on social media urgently requires greater action from those working in public health research and practice. (Source: US Library of Medicine) There is a huge opportunity to help online health seekers cut through health misinformation.

According to Google’s search trends, people are going online to search for health information in greater numbers. The bad news is that they are often left to determine what health information is accurate and which is not. There is a HUGE opportunity for pharma companies to help sort through all the misinformation and talk to patients as people, not sales targets.

It’s reasonable to believe that, because of the COVID surge, people are once again putting off some treatments and canceling appointments with their doctors. I found, for example, MS patients asking about treatments that may compromise their immune systems.

There is a huge difference between health literacy and talking to your audience like people rather than a market segment. In reviewing content for product websites, I found that they are too long, too medical, and don’t really talk to people.

Every digital agency should employ copywriters who can take a product label and translate it into a sixth-grade reading level. I still don’t understand why pharma websites don’t do rollovers that use pop-up boxes to define complex medical terms.

Think of it this way: Someone has raised their hand and wants to know more about your product. You have only a few minutes t get and hold their attention. What do you want to say?

Copying the label may be safe, but it turns off people who have difficulty reading it. At a minimum, you should listen to social media conversations to identify areas for content development that can keep people on your site longer (engagement).

Engagement within pharma websites is completely different from CPGs. There is a strong correlation between engagement (time on site, pages viewed) and the intent to ask for/about your product. Yet when I mention the word “engagement” to clients, I get the “I’ve heard that buzzword” too much answer. I then have to demonstrate that high bounce rates and lack of pages viewed mean their online marketing (website) isn’t working.

Action Items:

1ne: Is our content easy to read and really talk to people at a 6th or 8th-grade reading level?

2wo: Are the pages short enough to be scanned, and are we using callouts for important messages for content skimmers?

3hree: What pages are being viewed, and what pages are being ignored?

4our: Are we listening to patients on social media to update our content as needed?

5ive: Does our online agency have copywriters who can write content that “talks” to people?

6ix: Are we really measuring engagement?