Elements of a great pharma website

OPENING: Online health seekers decide whether to stay on your website within the first five seconds of landing on your homepage. They decide if your site addresses their questions after looking at 1.24 pages. Here are what I found in over two years of research with online health seekers.

Remember that every health condition has particular needs and wants by their audience, but it’s clear that certain qualities overlap. So let’s get right into it…

1ne: It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.

The homepage should be warm and inviting and should not overwhelm website visitors. Consistently we heard that they like images of real patients or a REAL doctor with one key message communicated. The message should not be “medical terminology” but, instead, put into the medication’s real-world benefit. Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image

2wo: 94% of Consumers Say Your Website Must Be Easy to Navigate. Navigation should be easy to use and not be hidden within the sire via drop-down menus. Every page on the website is responsible for creating a first impression and communicating the site’s primary goal. Every page also has the responsibility to tell visitors where they are and what else they can do while visiting the site. 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive

3hree: Content should be easier to read. Across all online health seekers, they liked the ability to increase font size within the page and liked the idea of rollover pop-up definitions for medical terminology. We also found that key communication was better when it was called-out in quotes. First impressions are 94% design-related.

4our: Again, across all groups, they wanted information on “living with…”. However, they wanted this information to be updated and included suggestions on exercise, diet, and supplements to manage chronic health issues.

5ive: The homepage should have a direct link to co-pay coupons.

6ix: Safety information needs context. In clinical trials, how many people experienced a listed side effect?

7even: Real patient stories. This one was a real hot button across all health groups. They understand that patient content could be edited to meet FDA requirements, but they like reading others’ experiences managing their health issues.

8ight: Online health seekers also wanted links to other credible health sites other than WebMD. They need help finding credible online health information.

9ine: “Why aren’t pharma websites updated?”. We heard this question from people who usually go online to get updated news about managing chronic health issues.

10en: eMail communications. Email is still a great digital marketing tool, and our audiences felt that if the email contained updated health information and tips for living with certain health problems, they would open and read it.

Things that didn’t test well

1ne: Pictures of HCP’s with a disclaimer that this was not a real HCP. People actually laughed at this.

2wo: Fair balance that took up a majority of the homepage.

3hree: Content that was too long, too hard to understand, and didn’t really answer their questions.

4our: Sites that looked like a medical journal ad. In the top pharma product websites that we showed groups, they really disliked the website’s overall appearance and described it as “cold and unappealing.”

5ive: Very little content on the health condition their drug-treated. Our groups thought pharma websites had a lot of credibility especially when our moderator informed them that the website had been approved by the FDA. They wanted to know why pharma didn’t communicate that their websites had to meet FDA guidelines?

6ix: Lack of drug comparisons. The bottom line here is you compared your drug in trials to competitors post the information on the website to give them a reason to ask for your medication.

7even: Lack of updated information when your medication or health condition is in the news or discussed on social media.

These are just standard, overlapping needs and complaints I pulled out from our research. Your agency should be advising you to do usability studies and in-depth analysis when it comes to aspects like overall design and content. 77% of agencies believe that a bad website User Experience is a weakness for their clients and 75% of website credibility comes from design.

Remember it’s about then, not you but you can meet their needs along with your brand KRA’s by focusing on them.