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Grow Your Enaged Patient Base with These Digital Marketing Best Practices

Winning techniques for pharma marketers to find, grow and keep their disease community

Winning techniques for pharma marketers to find, grow and keep their disease community

When it comes to managing their health, patients have tapped digital content to become increasingly active partners in the decision-making process. David Silk, senior partner at Google Health, noted at the 2016 HITLAB Innovators Summit that one in 20 online searches are health-care related and that 84% of patients’ fact-check their physicians’ opinions online after an appointment. “Folks really do see their phones as a second physician today, as scary as that may be,” said Silk*. For pharma marketers, this is a mixed blessing – patients have access to more authoritative content than ever before, but against a milieu of less reputable sources, misleading claims and competitive noise, it’s more vital than ever for pharma marketers to implement strategic digital marketing tools and best practices to inform their disease community and build trust, a pre-requisite to audience relationships that fuel brand growth. Here’s where I’d begin:

Take the Pulse of Your Disease Community
Regardless of market share or current brand positioning, frequently listening and analyzing conversations and searches related to your community should be foundational. SocialStudio is one such tool that gathers real-time market intelligence based on topic profiles. These findings can be invaluable, confirming your current direction or revealing where small pivots are needed. Also straight from your audience fingertips is the free Search Terms Report, which presents all queries that have resulted in paid clicks in their entirety. These queries can be illuminating and help ensure your messaging, right down to the word choice, aligns with audience searches.

Fill the Frequency Gap Against Any Health Audience
There was a time that reaching a hard-to-find audience for, say, an orphan disease or advanced stage disease, required heavy reliance on highly contextual or intent-based channels, like paid search or site-specific specialty health publisher display placements. No longer; programmatic advertising is not only the most efficient way to buy media inventory but the most effective way to build frequency against your most qualified audiences, however small, on an individual level. As I detail in this post, artificial intelligence technologies combined with real world patient insights can produce live campaign optimizations towards an audience more likely to convert. If you’re not already retargeting high-value website interactions, Facebook Pixel is a simpler and still impactful starting point which enables you to reengage your recent visitors on Facebook and Instagram.

Get Found – Fuss Over Page Rankings
“Showing up” is half the battle, and search engine optimization remains the cost of entry for discoverability. With best practices for SEO changing frequently, maintaining page rankings is an active job, but one that matters for more reasons than one. Top page rankings point to your website as a source of authority and capture the most search traffic as a result. (The first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92%). If you’re already at the top, maintain or improve your position by optimizing your site (Are links working? Do all pages contain a description? Is the site mobile-friendly?), producing high-quality original content on a consistent basis and implementing strategic keywords.

Naturally, there are numerous other digital tools and techniques for effective outreach and retention, but these three practices will get you more than half-way.

SourceAs users move to mobile, Google says they made 200 million queries for info about cancer drugs

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