pharmaceutical Tag

Best Practices: Increasing Pharmaceutical Website Engagement

PTG has conducted numerous website evaluations for the pharmaceutical industry. Below, I’ve shared what we’ve learned along the way.

Biggest Mistakes Companies Make

While it may seem intuitive to some, our experience has shown that not all clients are internally and externally aligned around the primary goal(s) for their product marketing website. Goal setting should be identified and communicated to all parties prior to web design in order to ensure your site is being evaluated according to key performance metrics.

While there are many goals for a new site, we have found that in order to maximize engagement and impact, a site should be designed around a hierarchy of specific objectives. For example, is the purpose of the site to:

  1. Supply information? If so, to whom? Doctors? Patients? Caregivers? All of the above?
  2. Differentiate your product from others in the same category?
  3. Inform site visitors about an ailment so individuals take action and get more advice from their physician?
  4. Inform site visitors that they potentially have the ailment and should request your product from their medical practitioner?
  5. Provide confidence to individuals who are prescribed your medication that it is both safe and effective?

Best Practices

We have identified that the most successful pharmaceutical websites clearly separate site visitor paths on their homepage according to user identification (i.e. I’m a Physician, I’m a Patient, I’m a Caregiver). By offering site visitors the ability to readily self identify, product marketers can focus on customizing complex material according to user needs, level of details and topic familiarity. For instance:

  • While physicians may want a site that provides detailed data on dosage, contraindications and potential side effects that are based upon age and health, consumers often want information written in layman’s terms to help them understand the ailment and the need for medication and/or treatment.
  • It is commonplace for physicians to spend far less time on a site as their visits are primarily searching for specific information so they are looking for efficiency. On the other hand, consumers, especially care-givers, typically spend far more time on a website collecting and investigating an ailment itself.
  • When it comes to the possibility of side effects, physicians want the information listed in the most explicit terms and percentages while consumers’ primary concern is to be assured that the treatment is worth the risks before knowing the details of any side effects.
  • Unsurprisingly, physicians are little persuaded by patient testimonials and explanatory videos; however, this form of content is an important element when it comes to consumer marketing since it increases believability, encourages approach and action.

We recommend homepages focus on one or two key messages alongside clear direction, visible menus and simple page navigation that accommodate disparate visitor needs and content related searches. For example:

  • A home page is the ideal location for establishing a unique claim, tagline and/or symbolic visual.
  • Visual elements that are featured on the homepage should be pre-evaluated for overall message communication and engagement level.
  • In order to establish an association with the brand and its claim, it is important that the product name be included in the key defining headline.
  • Website menus and site navigation options should be large and bold in order to provide a clear visitor path that is both easy and meaningful.
  • Key visuals and a consistent tagline should be repeated on each of the user group internal landing pages.
  • Be sure to pre-evaluate all secondary and tertiary pages to make sure the visitor group in question finds the content valuable and easy to understand.
  • Avoid any language that can be perceived as condescending to consumers and their caregivers while still using layman language. As far as physicians are concerned, as long as the facts are understandable and believable, they won’t require any more detail than required by the FDA. Physicians are especially impressed by comparison tables and charts.
  • In circumstances where there are numerous benefits to convey, be sure to list them using a numerical structure as it can be powerful and persuasive to both consumers and physicians. For example, “Here are the 5 reasons to switch to . . .”

In Closing

While it is understandable that timelines experience delays, and projects experience unexpected occurrences along the way, it’s critical to have a new website evaluated by your target audience prior to launch. The feedback collected often provides simple changes that can significantly improve site performance.

To learn more, feel free to reach me at

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