It’s time for DTC marketers to get serious about brand websites

Building_a_dot_com_0300pxTwo in ten online consumers indicate that, in the past month, they have forwarded a link to an article about a brand or product (19%) or to a brand’s or product’s website (19%) to someone in the past month, while 15% have forwarded a link to a brand’s or product’s video (Source). With all DTC budgets facing increasing scrutiny it’s time to pay a hell of a lot more attention to your product website than to simply turn it over to an agency to develop.  A good website can help achieve brand objectives, but a poor one can lead to a lost conversion and a waste of money against key brand KPI’s.

Consumerism is becoming more and more of a factor in healthcare and healthcare treatment options.  Patients today want a better quality of treatment and when considering treatment there is a good chance that they are going to come to your product website.  However too many pharma product websites are cookie cutter websites filled with FDA requirements but light on patient wants and needs.


Where do I start ?

First let me state that there is no “one solution” for every pharma product.  Each disease state has unique market characteristics including how consumers approach the need for information.  It’s for this reason that I strongly recommend that you conduct primary research with your target audience with the objective to determine their informational needs.  Your business objective is to cover them and to do this you need to keep them on your site as long as possible to answer all their questions while leading them to the conclusion that your product is the best solution to potential health problems.

But won’t they get lost within the content ?

Not if you use intuitive navigation and keep content to the two click rule.  Intuitive navigation means laying out the navigation in a way in which consumers think about your product, logically.  Two click rule means that your page’s content should not exceed two clicks to read.  Remember consumers are pressed for time.

OK. Then how do I communicate key brand messages ?

This is where eye-tracking studies come into play and the use of strategically placed call-outs.  They should be placed on the top left with your content but try and stay away from messages that sell and use messages that consumers can relate to.  For example, don’t say that your brand helps control pain in x% of patients in clinical trials.  Instead ask “isn’t time to put pain aside so you can focus on the things you enjoy ?”.  The other important component of a great product website is using images of real people not actors with a disclaimers that this isn’t a real physician.


The key takeaway here is that while there is a lot of talk about social media within online health it all starts with a great product website.  Sure there are some agencies that can deliver on this critical KPI, most do not.  You need to get involved in your brand website from strategy through testing and deployment.