9+ Keys to Improve Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing could take a different approach if you are dealing with the healthcare and pharma industry. There are a lot of restrictions and policies that you might need to deal with before you jump straight into making the strategy. Based on my experience of doing digital marketing for healthcare and pharma industry, here are some of the tips and best practices that I had like to share with you.

Dealing with the Top of the funnel keywords

Know the top of the funnel keywords

In the healthcare industry, most of the searches start with the top of the funnel keywords. The searches might include researching more on a disease, medications, best doctors, best hospitals, side effects, etc. Besides these, the searches might also include keywords such as how, where, when, why, what, etc.

Also, it is noteworthy that going down in the funnel, a user might take longer or shorter depending on the gravity of the disease and how much information a user needs to process before making a decision. If you are using paid media, try not to target ToFu keywords through paid media. The recommended way of targeting ToFu keywords would be to through SEO.

Be aware of negative keywords

We are often tempted to put keywords like what, why, where, how, etc in the negative keyword list. Note that keyword such as “where/ how can I buy fever medicine online” is actually a bottom of funnel keyword. You should also consider search terms like side effects, doses, without prescription, etc in the negative keyword.


Dealing with the Bottom of the funnel keywords

Product/ Service name Searches

As the audience becomes more knowledgeable about the particular service or product, they start directly searching for the product name or the service name. For example, an online searcher for erectile dysfunction can start with ED pills in the research mode before finally arriving at Cialis 20 mg as recommended by the doctors.

Generic & Specific name

People might search with the generic name of your service or product or by specific names as well. So, run the campaigns targeting both of these search behavior. For example, some might directly search for Botox Courses while others might look for Medical Aesthetics courses. I would say specific names for a service or product is more close to the bottom of the funnel compared to the generic name. Similarly, someone might search for a generic term such as pain killer while someone might search for the specific name such as AdVil.

Understand Keyword Intent

It is important to understand the keyword intent. For example, people tend to append “medication” after a serious disease but “pills” for generic problems. For example, sleeping pills make more sense that sleeping medication. On a similar line, Diabetes medications will make more sense that Diabetes pills.

Trust among the users

Trust still remains a big issue among online buyers in the healthcare industry. Recently, I was doing keyword research for online pharmacy and as per the keyword data, trust seemed a big issue with online purchases. Most of the keywords for online pharmacy were around

  • Reputation
  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Trust
  • Legitimate etc.

Healthcare industry trust

How to Instill Trust in Users

Here are some ways in which you can instill trust in your prospective users

  • Show your company as registered on the landing page along with the registration number
  • Show yourself as a legitimate company in the ad copies
  • If possible, show awards, testimonials and other factors which can help you win the trust of the users, etc

Understand Your Audience

Also target caretakers, not only patients

In many cases, patients do not perform any online activities rather its the caretakers who take care of the things. Thus, while making the targeting criteria, keep the caretakers also in mind other than patients.

Know Which Audience Converts the Most

Recently, I was running a campaign for Medical Aesthetics Course. Initially, we were targeting nurses and CPL was very low and we were happy with the cost per lead prices. However, the final conversion ratio i.e. nurses buying the final medical aesthetics course was very low. That was so because the course price was above average. So, when targeting the audience, judge your product or service price before targeting a likely-to-buy audience.

Identify the Right Platform & Medium

Identifying the right platform is the key to audience targeting and optimization. Know where your audience spends the most time and leverage that platform. Here are some of the scenarios:

  • Young audience such as audience for birth control spends more time on Instagram and they are likely to do google search less than trusting more on Instagram
  • The audience for Hair loss will be more on Google search and Facebook than Instagram
  • For top of the funnel keyword traffic, I can also leverage Quora or WebMD as a platform to draw the audience to my website

Leverage Videos

Highlight Pain Points

Videos can be a good medium to highlight the pain points and what more you can offer to the patients. For example, people do not like to spend time in the queue for medications, waiting for the doctor, waiting or collecting the report. Highlight these pain points and your offerings. Here is an awesome video from PocketPills, a Canadian Startup on online Pharmacy:

Show Real Patients, Subtitles, and Testimonials

Show real patients in the video or on-the-site videos for your services so that people can see and relate to your videos. Also, have subtitles in your videos as people watching your videos might be at the workspace and have their volume muted.

Address the Emergency, Cost & Delivery

Say it in your ad copies on Landing Page

If your product or service is addressing a situation in less time than usual then, highlight those in the ad copies and landing page. Here are some of the examples that could be highlighted are:

  • Free delivery
  • Next day delivery
  • Discrete delivery
  • Special delivery
  • Discounts etc.

Here is an example of such ad copies from the healthcare industry:

Ad Copies Around Pain Points

Understand platform limitations

Restriction with Google Ads

You cannot run a remarketing campaign if you are targeting personalized interested based on gender and age. Here is what Google says, “Advertisers can’t use sensitive interest categories to target ads to users or to promote advertisers’ products or services”. For more details, visit this link from Google Ads remarketing on personalized advertising. Also, your ads will be restricted as well.

No direct interest or behavior match on Facebook

For some targeting, Facebook ads manager will show no direct targeting attributes such as interests, behavior or any other targeting parameter. You shall have to be wise enough to figure out the targeting. For example, Facebook has no interest called Birth Control but you can target planned parenthood, pregnancy, etc.

Know your Limitations

Be aware of the federal rule in the target region and make sure that your product and service comply with that. For example, an online pharmacy delivery company was offering free medications refill and free delivery at a nominal fee. Though the service was good, I read through the comments and found out that in Canada, provinces such as Nova Scotia, Alberta, Ontario, BC do not offer free coverage to Diabetic patients. As per the comment, test stripes are covered in insurance but not medicine likes lancets. That’s why a lot of the target audience felt helpless.

Diabetes Advertisement by an online pharma company

Micro conversions – Customer needs before an offer

Before subscribing to your service or product, the audience might be interested in knowing a lot more about it such as course validity, timeline, pricing, etc. And if you do not provide access to that information, you might be losing on a lot of potential customers. One good example of such a micro-conversion use case would be the banking sector. Banking sectors use loan/ EMI calculator as micro-conversions to retarget the interested audience as these audiences are the highly engaged audience.

Know audience sentiments

I would not recommend advertising anything which might hurt the audience sentiment in the ad copies or creatives. For example, advertising IUD as a birth control solution might hurt the audience sentiment as a lot of women did not have good experience with IUD. Using such items in copies and creatives will trigger a lot of negative comments & reviews.

Trust Issues

Audience Trust Issues through Facebook comments

If you are a new brand, there will be a lot of trust issues with the target audience. The audience would like to know about the validity of the company. To address that, you can include one card in the carousel taking the user to the registration and license info page on your website. If there is any way to say it upfront in the ad copies, would be awesome.

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