The internet has become a significant source of health information for people around the world. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 81% of Americans have used the internet to get health or medical information.
There are many reasons why people turn to the internet for health information. Some people do so to learn more about a specific health condition or treatment. Others use the internet for a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment plan. And still, others use the internet to connect with other people who have similar health concerns.
The rise of online health seekers has created several challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, the internet provides people access to much health information. This information can help make informed health decisions. On the other hand, the internet is also awash in inaccurate and misleading health information. This can make it difficult for people to find reliable and trustworthy sources of information.
The pharma industry can leverage online health seekers in a number of ways, including:
- Creating informative and engaging content. Online health seekers seek accurate, up-to-date, and relevant information for their needs. Pharma companies can create content that meets these criteria by partnering with medical experts, using clear and concise language, and avoiding jargon.
- Ditching the sales approach. People don’t want sales talk. They want content that speaks to their needs. Too many product websites have content written by medical writers that turn off online health seekers.
- Participating in online forums and chats. Online forums and chats are a great way to connect with online health seekers in a more informal setting. Pharma companies can participate in these forums to answer questions, share information, and learn more about the needs of their target audience, even though they are a regulated industry.
- Use real patient stories. Let your audience hear from patients like them, even if it’s not all roses. They’re going to search for the experiences of others anyway shouldn’t you be part of that?
- Be transparent and honest. Online health seekers are more likely to trust information from pharma companies that are transparent and honest about their products and services.
- Be responsive. Online health seekers expect pharma companies to be responsive to their questions and concerns. Make sure that you have a team in place that is dedicated to answering online inquiries.
- Be patient. It takes time to build relationships with online health seekers. Don’t expect to see results overnight.
Above all, DTC marketers need to understand that their product website is a living document that changes as their product moves through the life-cycle.