Written by Andréanne Hétuon March 23, 2016
in Digital marketing, DTC, Omnichannel

Healthcare advertisers face real challenges deploying search campaigns – keywords are restricted, remarketing isn’t allowed, etc. But we must deal with it because search is one of the most important PatientConsumer™ activities and is equally as important for Health Care Professionals. In fact, 1 out of 20 searches is health related on Google and search remains 3-4 times more efficient than social media spending (Google 2016 data).  This justifies the need for a solid strategy that considers patients as consumers, as they now self-diagnose online and are increasingly demanding with the quality of content they desire.

Here are 6 tips to do it right:

  1. Know your audience really, really well: Studying your site users thoroughly and segmenting consumers based on the stage of the patient journey they are in, creating a customized communication plan speaking directly to each segment in a relevant way can bring that essential audience online.
  1. Watch those results closely and adjust: Based on industry challenges, constant monitoring of your search results and your competitors’ is necessary. Ensure your website is getting max real-estate and visibility at an optimal cost by adapting your strategy accordingly. Google’s restrictions on healthcare remarketing makes this even more necessary; not being able to use the most efficient search tactics calls out for creativity and rigor.
  1. Allow your audience to reach out to you: Encouraging your bottom-of-the-funnel users to engage with you is key for maximizing ROI. Make sure your client service number is visible on every page, or add links to your social media accounts. Advertisers must prevent their consumers from going elsewhere to get their answers and must engage them throughout their journey towards treatment and remission.
  1. Think mobile first, no excuses: 52% of Canadians use search on their mobile phone at least weekly (Forrester Data). People are starting to trust their phones more than their own desktop when it comes to privacy and consequently, we are observing an increasing amount of mobile conversions. When building your search strategy, make sure you dedicate some efforts to mobile exclusive tactics.
  1. Provide more content on your landing page than the average website: This may sound opposed to what we normally hear, but healthcare is the exception to the rule. To make a decision related to their health, consumers seek a lot of detailed information and want it now. Catch their interest with a mix of text, images and key points of information.
  1. Invest in compelling videos: After watching a health-related video, more than 79% of consumers continued onto the manufacturer’s website for more information, and 63% talked to their doctor about what they learned (Google data). This is how PatientConsumers consume content – full stop. But please, make it real; Forget about the staged and stereotyped video content that pharma often opts for.

In short, building a strong and optimal search strategy is (really) hard in pharma. But always challenge yourself to:

  • Push your agency & partners to think beyond what’s out there
  • Test and learn; measure religiously and be proactive in making changes
  • Think unbranded
  • Know. Your. Customer. Map aggressively and in detail

Andréanne Hétu is an Account Director at Ariad Health.

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