Digital training within the pharmaceutical industry


Why is digital training important for pharmaceutical marketing teams?

Pharmaceutical brands exist within an ecosystem that caters towards different audience types and markets, meaning a single Global website is rarely an adequate solution. Pharma companies are then left with numerous websites that cover similar messaging but with slight audience and location-based variations, presenting a number of challenges to the marketing of their brands.

    • Pharma brands often exist within an ecosystem of websites catered towards different audiences.
    • Content for Healthcare professionals (HCP) will be very different to what’s required for a patient site. 
    • Local markets have their own medical regulations meaning a single global site is rarely an adequate option. 

What are some of the key challenges Pharmaceutical brands face online?

Confusing messaging, the wrong sites ranking in Google and a lack of ability to react quickly to changes in the search space.

Here at Overbar, we see lots of opportunities for pharma companies to improve their online presence and while the issues vary from company to company, getting the key fundamentals right can really help elevate your presence online. Let’s look at some of the key challenges we face within the pharma industry.

Avoiding content cannibalisation across similar content

There are slight nuances between how a patient searches versus that of an HCP and so the contents structure, tone and optimisation strategy needs to be created with this in mind. 

Building awareness and educating patients is often the key objective of unbranded patient sites. They provide a neutral area for symptom sufferers to learn more about what they are feeling and what this means for them in the short and long term. We then usually are also working with branded product sites, the content and tone of the site is much more direct and fact-based. Both are required to ensure pharma brands are present though the entire patient journey but are often competing in the search results.

Then when you layer in the added complexity of HCP facing sites in addition to branded and unbranded sites, their lines become even more blurred. 

Recent studies have shown only 5% of branded sites catered to both Patient and HCP target audiences in the same website. Most have launched two different websites, linking to each other in the header, footer and with pop ups but this navigation is not always immediately obvious. Without a well-thought out strategy, the wrong audience can find itself on the wrong site with messaging that isn’t right for where they are in their online engagement journey.

Pharma website ecosystems
A simplified look at how complex the pharma website ecosystem can get.

 Increasing visibility in the search results

Crawling similar messaging across multiple websites leaves Google confused as to which result best answers the query. Rather than show all of your competing websites, it can sometimes just choose to show none of them, leaving it wide open for your competitors.

A clear website domain strategy is integral to ensuring that both the search engines and potential customers are clear on what/who the brand is, and that the right audience(s) can find the right content when searching online. 

We help train cross-functional teams to be better aligned and ensure their content and messaging compliments one another, rather than competes.

Helping the right audience, find the right content, at the right time

When we see global pharmaceutical brands are often working with numerous drugs that have a number of indications, in addition to the corporate and campaign microsites. 

Such an ecosystem can be a nightmare for patients and HCPs to find the information they need and thus a defined strategy is paramount to provide a better user experience and avoid high bounce rates and low website engagement.

When you have HCPs in the UK searching for prescribing information, but landing on the US patient version of your site, it gives a poor user experience and results in high bounce rates and low website engagement. 

Overbar trains your marketing and branding teams on the best tools and practices to use to really understand the intent behind the query to help your audience find the correct content.

Helping developers overcome SEO penalties for firewalls

A general rule of thumb is that Google penalises websites with pop-ups that its’ crawlers cannot get past.

Many pharma websites have a plethora of content that is sensitive and needs to sit behind a login or user authentication pop-up. Understanding the importance of this element within the industry, Overbar’s training sessions include educating your development teams on the best ways to build your websites so that crawlers can access and index all data behind any logins. 

Ensuring your content is crawled and indexed correctly also means is it able to rank well in Google, whilst remaining compliant to the user access requirements.

HCP - Patient Login
Example HCP / Patient Login pop up that appears to help direct site visitors to the right page

Working with the Medical Legal Review process for social media

A challenge faced by all brands with an online presence is the rapid responses that social media users expect when interacting with companies online, pharmaceutical companies included. 

However, as with all pharmaceutical content, it needs to go through the Medical Legal Review (MLR), which can be a lengthy process and mean that responses are not always approved to post in a timely manner.

Overbar works with you to help define processes that can minimise delay and help protect your brand reputation online, giving more flexibility to your social media teams to help build and engage with your audience.

Our team’s extensive experience with numerous MLR teams globally, means we  are confident in creating content and suggesting social media pre-approval systems for Pharmaceutical clients, which allows them to become reactive to customer engagement online

Working with content downloads in PDF formats

HCPs need quick access to prescribing information online and as these often need to be printable, this is usually in the form of a downloadable PDF. 

While PDF content is commonplace online and search engines are clever at reading content within PDF, they still have their limitations. Most notably that it’s not currently possible to add user tracking on PDF downloads. Therefore we lose valuable customer data about how users are engaging with this content and what they then go on to do on the rest of the site. 

This creates a gap in our user journey reporting and we’re left with missing or incomplete user data. Not ideal when that very data is what we’re relying on to determine future marketing budget decisions.

Here at Overbar, we can help you create content that works well for your target audience, as well as ensuring engagement is trackable in your website analyticsL