As digital marketers, we look at a website and think about how it interacts with its stakeholders. For pharmaceutical companies, the stakeholders we most often think of include healthcare professionals, specialists/consultants, and physicians.
However, the patients—the consumers—of pharmaceutical products require equal attention and communication. In an industry that is especially business-to-business (B2B) oriented, pharmaceutical marketers can struggle to understand where the individual patients exist within a company’s digital space, so we often overlook their needs.
Our businesses’ success depends on addressing our patients’ needs within our website and effectively communicating with them. According to Physicians Practice, effective pharmaceutical marketing and communication with patients can reduce patient bills, mitigate risks of litigation, and increase referral rates.
In this post, we’ll discuss how managing your patients' expectations, providing them with educational information, and building relationships with them are ways you can improve your digital strategy and develop patient preference and trust.
1. Manage Expectations
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) says that creating reasonable expectations with your patients results in trust and confidence. Think about all the ways you make a promise to your patients and double check that you’re delivering. Managing expectations is about helping patients know when to be satisfied.
The same holds true in the digital world. So if you promise them that you will respond to their email in one business day, make sure that’s what you’re doing. Otherwise, patients are right not to be satisfied.
Rational and Emotional Value
Managing expectations is about overseeing patients’ rational and emotional value. The following definitions come from AAOS:
Rational value: Created when actionable expectations are met. You can manage the rational value of your patients via appointments, phone calls, consultations, or even responding to an email as pointed out in the example above.
Emotional value: Created when you explain what you’re about to do before you do it. You can manage the emotional value of your patients by developing content that shows patients what to expect before they buy your drug or what to expect before they come in for a consultation.
Boston Digital Client Carticel.com Focuses on Patient Expectations
Many times companies want to manage expectations, but don’t know where to start. Setting up surveys or checking in with patients through emails is a great way to uncover expectation gaps.
Listen to your patients and get their feedback. Make sure that once you get this feedback that it doesn’t hit a dead end. Set up a course of action to rectify the situation.
2. Create Educational Assets
According to Pew Research Center, 72% of patients get their health information online. To be an effective communicator, you need to convert your website’s information from an electronic brochure to an educational resource. Every patient goes through a buyer’s decision journey.
In the early stages of their buyer's journey, your site must have the resources necessary to inform patients about your product or service provides life-saving solutions to them. Once you offer the solution, you can then convince them why your approach is superior.
Some great ways to turn your information into easily digestible content for patients are:
1. Use clear illustrations and simple words to show users what life would be like with your product or service.
Boston Digital Client Genzyme Puts Its People Front and Center with Beautiful Photography
2. Create visual comparisons so patients can assess your product.
Boston Digital Client Kynamro Compares Its Syringe Size to a Penny
3. Simplify complex situations to lists to help guide patients through intricate procedures step-by-step.
Boston Digital Client Kynamro Creates Simple-to-use Guides for Patients
3. Build Partnerships
The process of improving patient health is as much the pharmacist’s responsibility as it is the patient’s. Jeffrey Brenner, renowned physician and founder of Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, boasts that he loves getting to know his patients and talking with them because he believes the trick to healing and wellness is relationship building.
In fact, evidence supports that positive doctor-patient relationships are therapeutic for the patients and promote healing. You can emulate these relationships through your website strategy. In order for any good partnership to work, both parties need to have a role. You can give patients a role in their health decisions by:
- Developing an intuitive navigation
- Creating prominent calls to action
- Providing informational resources
- Never leading patients to a dead-end
In the end, the tools and information you provide your patients show your care and consideration. When you manage expectations, develop the right educational resources, and build solid partnerships with your patients, you give your patients control over what ails them, and you build a trust that can never be broken.