Jun 23, 2009

Top 5 Principles of Healthcare Web Marketing

Developing successful websites for the healthcare industry requires research, strategic thinking, creativity and a deep understanding of the wants and needs of your target audiences. Launching a killer website – guaranteed to get results – can seem like a daunting undertaking. But…it doesn’t have to be.

When building your next healthcare website keep these 5 principles in mind.

1. Define clear objectives – Ask yourself one simple question, “What is the objective of the website?” It might be to increase disease awareness and education. It might be data capture and lead generation, or to extend the reach of the sales force through a virtual rep. Establish measurable objectives, focusing on no more than 4, and then make 100% sure your development strategies and content map back directly to at least one or more of these objectives.

2. Know your audience – Make sure you thoroughly understand your intended audience(s). Conduct research, engage the reps. Analyze your competition and clearly map out your audience segments, their attitudes, behaviors, needs and potential influential relationships to one another. Know who you are talking to and what’s important to them.

3. Content is king – In today’s ‘always-on’ digital age, healthcare professionals and patients alike are most attracted to websites that consistently deliver information and tools that fulfill their unmet needs. And, your content needs to be religiously updated and fresh. Allow your site content to stagnate and you’ll see your traffic drop faster than the stock market in a recession.

4. Customize the experience – Make sure your offers and content are directly relevant to the needs of your targets. Enable healthcare professionals and patients to customize their experience and interact with content they choose, on their terms, using channel preferences they prefer (i.e. podcasts, enewsletters/reminders, mobile, eRep, etc.). Make the experience personal – demonstrate your commitment to empower them to take control of their online experience – and you’ll forge an emotional bond between your brand and your audience.

5. Develop a promotional plan – A killer, targeted website is of little value if your audience doesn’t know it exists. Invest as much time developing your promotional plan as you did formulating your web development plan. Optimize and maximize your organic and paid search programs – ensuring you’ve got both type of health seekers covered. Establish link exchanges and consider outreach programs that engage thought-leading bloggers, inject dialogue into online communities and facilitate word of mouth (WOM) viral marketing. Encourage rep-to-physician dialogue and interaction through vis aids and tablet PC details focused squarely on the website. Give your promotional plan the attention it deserves, commit the resources, and you’re guaranteed to meet the objectives you established as part of the number 1 principle above.

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