Mar 30, 2011
Last week I had the opportunity to attend iPharmaConnect and hear Meg Walsh of Augme Mobile Health and other thought leaders share best practices for connecting with patients and healthcare professionals via the mobile web. Walsh pointed out that we’re reaching a tipping point where healthcare marketers are realizing the urgency of mobilizing their digital assets. We know that the mobile internet isn’t just for the young or affluent, and increasingly our customers are accessing mobile content at the point of care or at the point of decision making. Walsh’s talk got me thinking about mobile web strategy considerations for pharma and healthcare marketers.
Typically, the logical place for marketers to start in mobilizing digital assets is with their product websites. In my experience, there are two incorrect assumptions that are often encountered at this stage:
1. That your product website needs an app. In most cases, an app is absolutely not needed. (But, if you do create an app, you better have a damn good plan to promote it.)
2. That your mobile website should contain all of the content of your existing product website.
Number two is all too common in pharma, and I get why. A lot of effort went into developing and gaining approval of those 60+ pages of DDMAC-compliant website content. It’s understandable that there’s this knee-jerk reaction to want to port all 60+ pages of paragraph piled onto paragraph of copy over to a mobile website. But that’s not what optimizing for mobile is all about. Mobilizing digital assets means designing for usability and utility on a mobile device. It’s about making sure your customers can access and comprehend key information with as few clicks (or taps) as possible.
In short, mobilizing digital assets requires a different content strategy than your desktop site. The mobile web demands a simplified approach to design, layout, navigation, and copy. Below are basic principles for pharma/healthcare marketers to adhere to in producing a customer-centric mobile website.
Focus on the content that will be most useful for your mobile customers. At the point of care, dosing and reimbursement info might be most valuable to your HCP customers. Patients on the other hand might want info about product benefits and whether there is a patient assistance program available to them before they decide to fill an Rx. This will of course vary by product and ultimately your business objectives, but the key is to identify how customers want to interact with your brand on a mobile device and what will be most useful to them. Your mobile website should then be designed to reflect these customer insights. And there are number of ways to get at this information, like analyzing the navigational paths of your existing mobile traffic, using tools to discover popular mobile search queries relevant to your product and therapeutic category, and ultimately, asking your customers what would be useful to them.
Design your mobile website with the mobile reader in mind. A recent usability study reported that it’s twice as difficult to read content on a mobile device than it is on desktop. The smaller screen impairs reading comprehension for two reasons:
1. Users see less at any given time (less context = less understanding)
2. Users must move around the page and scroll to refer to other parts of the content (this takes time, degrades retention and diverts attention)
This data uncovers a need to modify and shorten copy to ensure your customers can easily read and comprehend it on a mobile device. This principle applies to any industry, but it becomes especially important when we’re communicating critical health information. Again, your mobile site doesn’t need to contain all of the content of your desktop site. It’s best practice to present the key information, and then offer a link to the expanded desktop version for those who have the time and inclination to delve further from their mobile device. You can also consider adding an option to email the site link so that way, once on a desktop, your customers are reminded to check out the expanded content.
Got any other mobile tips you want to share or topics you’d like us cover in an upcoming post? Leave a note in the comments or contact me directly.
By Arly Iampietro (@arlyi), Digital Campaign Strategist at Roska Healthcare Advertising