QUICK READ: People are spending more time looking for online health information but there is a lot of bad information out there. Pharma must bridge the gap between selling and becoming a resource for online health seekers.
The search for online health information is an overgrown and hostile jungle. Everyday I’m seeing ads in social media for quack supplements and it’s rumored that the “pillow guy” is talking to Trump about a supplement to fight COVID while Trump’s people try and play it down.
What do we know?
According to Google searches for health information are up but we would expect that given all the misinformation about the pandemic. However, if you dig deeper you’ll also see that searches for just about every health condition are up as well. Again, I would expect that given that people are staying away from their doctor’s office.
The question then becomes “where are pharma websites in this search for online health information?”. According to metrics, I reviewed, people are still going to pharma websites but pharma websites aren’t meeting all their informational needs.
As digital marketers the question then becomes “what do we need to do to keep people on our website longer?”.
1ne: our website has to have enough UPDATED information about the health condition in which you market. This means you need a publication plan to keep your website updated along with a possible opt-in for people who want to be notified about updates. Your objective is to become the “go-to website for new health information.
2wo: A portion of your website should contain basic health information and be targeted at different segments. Caregivers, for example, have different needs than newly diagnosed. This information has to be at an 8th-grade reading level. To check yours copy the text into a Word document and use the reading level tool.
The biggest misunderstanding of a pharma website is that it’s a go to once website that leads to a patient asking for your product. That isn’t true. Today online health seekers have time to fact check your claims and see what others are saying about your product when it comes to side effects and costs.
Digital marketers need to work diligently with internal decision makers that your product website is not just a billboard but, rather a living and breathing entity. It requires constant updating and optimization to stay relevant. If you believe that “once and done” applies to your website you’re living in the past.
Merging brand objectives with online health seeker needs
By far this is the biggest challenge for digital marketers. Too many DTC marketers see their websites as nothing more than a sales tool. This is wrong. Your website is a reflection of your brand and company. A medical looking website will drive away people while a website that has been designed around users will invite people in to learn more.
Above all the more pages your audience reads and the longer they stay on the site the better your brand metrics. Can you directly measure that metric to a new Rx? Probably with a ton of work but it’s like trying to measure the effect of health information on treatment decisions overall.
By communicating that your website isn’t a direct sales tool but, rather, a go-to source for credible information that is a key part of your brand the easier it will be to get what you need.
Finally, and I can’t emphasize this enough, you have a great resource in thought leaders. Use them to write content and talk to your website visitors. Every website that I have worked on and has integrated thought leader content has seen measurable uptake in time on site and page views.
We need to be a resource and less of a salesman when it comes to online health information.