How much should I spend on an HCP website?

LEAD-IN- Recent data confirms that health care professionals are using the Internet more and spending less time with drug company reps. How much should you spend on an HCP portal, and how do you measure its success?

One of the first questions I often get from potential clients is, “how much does a good HCP website cost?”. There is no one answer to that question. It depends on your objectives and an understanding of how physicians are using the web, but your investment directly reflects your brand and company.

Physicians visit pharma websites, but, like online health seekers, they often reach out to others to get more information. According to metrics that I have reviewed for several brands, the most critical data for new drugs is the product label for HCPs. The page count drops off significantly for other pages, which tend to duplicate detail pieces.

It’s essential that HCP marketers understand their audience and develop two or three key messages that resonate with them backed up with data they trust. If you want to reach HCPs, you need to go where they are, and the number one HCP portal is Medscape.

You can, via Medscape, give them a list of targeted physicians, and they will tell you how many are currently on Medscape and how often. You can then develop an online marketing program to reach them and have Medscape measure how effectively you are reaching targeted physicians.

Does this mean your HCP website is a waste of money? No, not at all. Some pharma companies have an excellent reputation with their HCPs. Their data is trusted, but in an era where there are so many new ineffective drugs and studies that can’t be duplicated physicians want all the information they can get to make good decisions.

HCP portals are also part of branding for new biotech companies launching their first drug(s). HCPs want to know about the company, including the background of key executives. Skimping on the budget on an excellent HCP portal can negatively reflect your company and brand.

Think of it this way: would you buy something from a company online that had a bad online experience and looked like their website was developed by someone at home using a commercial website builder like WordPress?