This is a problem, especially in an industry where inquiries are already hard to come by and conversion rates are low. In fact, it can take as many as 100 individuals to start the screening process in order to enroll one patient into a study. Additionally, due to the experimental nature of the industry, coupled with poor public perception, response rates to clinical trial messaging are historically 25-50% less than traditional direct response advertising rates (across all media vehicles).
So, if your research study is utilizing a website to help drive patient recruitment, here are a few tips to increase traffic and decrease bounce rates.
Forty-nine percent of all Internet users utilize search engine sites daily. But aside from the obvious (search engines give those seeking your website a means to connect), what is frequently overlooked is that search engines are commonly used as an alternative to typing URLs into an Internet browser. For a campaign supported with broadcast or print communications, nearly 40% of all traffic that originates from search (organic and paid) will come from individuals that have actually typed in some derivation (or the exact name) of the URL.
Think about it -- you see a TV commercial about a new medical research study and it interests you. You enter in the name of the study into Google and it suddenly appears at the top of the list. You click on the link. You're on the site. It's easy. Now this doesn't imply that your site must be optimized (though it should be) but if you are not visible in search engines, you are cutting off some of your lowest-hanging fruit.
Tips: Minimize the amount of flash content on your website and add basic meta data and search descriptions into the back-end programming.
Within 5 to 10 seconds of arriving on the landing page, the decision is made to stay or bounce. In all cases, whether it was an interesting keyword description in Google, print ads, word-of-mouth, etc., something in the communications drove the visitor to the website. So the decision to stay or go is predominantly based on whether a connection is made between what drove them to the website and the content on the landing page. This is considered "relevant content."
For example, a banner ad appears with the following copy: "Do you miss that loving feeling? To participate in a research study for decreased desire, click here."
By clicking, the user expects the website to quickly and clearly explain how to increase the lack of desire. So if the page loads and the user can't immediately identify the content related to increasing desire, they lose interest and bounce. This is a shame too because many websites with valuable and compelling content are instantly dismissed because they have forgotten about what drove their visitors to the site in the first place.
Tips: Don't overwhelm the user with copy on the landing page -- less is more. Be clear and concise and make sure that the message on the landing page is communicated within five seconds of the page fully loading.
Patient recruitment for medical research is considered one of the primary reasons for delays in the clinical development process. But it doesn't have to be. Be found, get to the point, and make it easier for users to participate.