Until about a decade ago, a business card was the first impression of the business and so the quality of a business card reflected the quality of the business. Unconsciously, people checked business cards to determine if they were flimsy or made of thick cardstock and whether they were visually appealing or dull and lifeless. A quality business card was equated with a successful business. Today, the same principle is applied to a company’s online presence. A robust online presence is considered indicative of a thriving business while a weak presence indicates that the company might still be in the fledgling stage and therefore does not have its own well-defined online space. Indian Pharma companies are now beginning to understand the importance of strong online pharma marketing and how a digital “placeholder presence” can damage their business profits and their brand value.
The Opportunity Cost Of A Weak Online Presence For Pharma Companies
As a business owner, one of the first things you do is look at various marketing ventures to decide which ones will yield the maximum results within your specific budget. However, it is equally important to look at the flip side – how much you stand to lose by not building a strong online presence.
There is a plenty of debate on the pros and cons of digitalization, but the one thing everyone agrees on is that it has tremendous reach. A weak online presence means a reduced reach which translates to a loss of leads as studies on digital healthcare marketing show that inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into a marketing funnel as compared to outbound leads.
Diminished Brand Value
Public perception has a huge impact on the success or failure of any company. Pharma companies that have a weak online presence are likely to fall under suspicion right away as customers expect legitimate businesses to have a strong online presence. In fact, in a recent poll on healthcare digital marketing, 85% of customers said that they expect businesses to be active in social media. This proves that healthcare social media marketing an essential part of any pharma marketing strategy.
Poor Patient Engagement
Whether you’re a pharma giant or a budding medical start-up, you need patient engagement! Your interaction with your consumers is important as healthy engagement is vital to growth and progress. A pharmaceutical marketing strategy must have good patient engagement which builds customer loyalty and results in customer ambassadorship for your brand. In a recent Nielsen study, it was found that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family rather than advertising campaigns. Positive patient engagement can have a ripple effect which draws in more people and leads to more conversions.
Simple online marketing strategies such as Pay per click (PPC) campaigns allow you to draw in your target audience using paid promotions. PPC medical marketing ads are particularly useful for small and medium-sized pharma companies as they produce quick and measurable results. While a strong online presence will help to convert leads to sales, a weak one will result in lowered sales.
How To Create a Strong Online Presence for Marketing Success
Earlier, patients had a passive role in their health management but the internet has provided a means by which patients can educate themselves and become active participants in their healthcare plans. This has changed the dynamic between patients and healthcare providers which is why a strong online presence can be harnessed for marketing success. A healthcare digital marketing agency can provide hospital marketing strategies, pharma company marketing plans, or marketing blueprints for healthcare service providers which can be tailored to your specific online requirements. Here are the basic steps to create a strong online presence.
Have a Strong Website
Since patients view websites as the reflection of your brand, a strong website is key to your survival and growth. There are several signs that your website is weak – the most important one is if it is dated and therefore not responsive. According to a recent survey, over 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices so go in for an overhaul if you need to. Think of your website as a digital showroom so make sure that window-shoppers are tempted to come in!
Increase your visibility through SEO
A strong SEO campaign can catapult your website to the top positions on Google’s search results. Improving your search engine position helps to drive traffic to your site, decrease bounce rate and increase conversion. It also promotes your business locally and ensures that you are recognized as an authority in your niche.
Engage with patients on Social Media
The India Digital Health Report studied social media in healthcare and found that many pharmaceutical and healthcare companies in India are present across most social media platforms but their engagement is limited – a phenomenon referred to as “engagement draught”! An active social media presence allows companies to raise brand awareness as well as engage with patients and find out ways to improve their products and services. Social media and healthcare technologies are constantly evolving and so it is essential to keep abreast of these developments in order to maximize your gains.
Provide Value Through Blog Posts
Blogging presents pharma companies with a simple method to provide communities with informational articles on particular topics. Blog posts allow healthcare brands to identify the needs and wants of their target audience and provide additional relevant information that may not be readily available.
Invest in lead generation through search and display marketing
You can invest in search advertising or display advertising or even a combination of the two depending on various factors including search volume, brand awareness, nature and manner of service, and budget. In most cases, a combination of these two marketing strategies works best – while search advertising is effective in targeting local consumers, display marketing helps to increase your brand value. Studies show that 27% of consumers search for a specific business after seeing their display ad and that this results in a 59% increase in conversions.
Invest in lead generation through social media
Social media has provided pharma companies with the ideal platform to promote marketing programs and initiatives. This increases the company’s reach and also lets them micro-target messages and asses ROI more effectively. Lead generation through social media has the bonus of being quick and effective and a recent survey found that companies that use social media experienced revenue increases along with a 45% decrease in marketing costs.
Nurture leads through ORM
Online reputation management (ORM) is a key component of any brand management strategy. Protecting brand image is equally important to reputed pharma companies and newer healthcare businesses. Negative reviews and false allegations can ruin the reputation of large brands and can even destroy smaller start-ups. The competition in the pharma industry is fierce and ORM plays a vital role in establishing and sustaining your credibility which will result in maximum lead generation.
Leverage franchise SEO to get geo relevant customers
A recent study found that 2 out of every 3 internet users look for health information online while 1 out of 2 look for information on medical services and products. This is why
getting geo relevant customers is crucial to the success of your marketing strategy.
Franchise SEO is an important aspect of marketing for a franchise business as it improves the visibility of your organic search rankings. A healthcare ad agency will be able to provide a comprehensive pharma marketing strategy based on whether you wish to promote your corporate brand or your franchise locations.
India has the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world and yet a recent IBM study found that 90% of all Indian start-ups fail within 5 years only because they do not utilize new technologies and lack unique business models. And start-ups are not the only ones suffering from a lack of innovation – even large pharma companies underestimate the increasing importance of a strong online presence. In today’s digital age, a medical advertising agency will help you grow your business through bold and decisive online marketing strategies that will increase lead generation and build and maintain your brand.