We’ve all had our moments when we thought we had a bout of appendicitis or a heart attack or some other terrible medical issue in the middle of the
night (which may have turned out to be heartburn…or nothing) and instead of rationally calling our doctor, we Google our symptoms.
Of course, we are not alone, according to a Pew Research study, 72% of respondents said they searched for health information online, and half of this number searched health information on behalf of another person. As marketers in the healthcare industry, trying to reach the right targets with paid search comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges. The space is competitive, highly regulated, and slow to adapt to change. Understanding the space can be critical to driving traffic and conversions on your site.
Understand User Intent
The healthcare industry routinely serves three audiences – consumers, caregivers and medical professionals. When someone types in “migraine,” we (as marketers) need to decipher quite a bit of info in a nanosecond: who is typing the keyword?, what information do they want to know?, and how can we serve them the best possible user experience? A consumer with a bad headache will most likely be looking for different information than a doctor looking for the latest migraine research studies. Consumers and caregivers are more likely to query keywords that contain symptom details with non-medical language. Medical professionals will use technical language. Be sure to tailor and customize the entire user experience (keyword, ad copy, and landing page) around the original user’s intent for the keyword.
Utilize Search Targeting
Hyper-focused search targeting – day-parting and geo-targeting – is uniquely beneficial to the healthcare industry. Day-parting is the practice of increasing/decreasing bids based on time of day. For example, more people search for depression symptoms between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. If you are marketing a depression medication, it makes sense for you to increase your bids during the overnight hours. Geo-targeting is the practice of increasing/decreasing bids based on the geographical location of a searcher. For example, an outbreak of the flu in the Northeast causes more people in that area to search on flu treatments. Therefore, if you are marketing a cold medicine, you should increase your bids in the Northeast during this flu outbreak.
Know your Digital Competitors
The online competitive space may look very different than the traditional competitive space that you are accustomed to. Your brand may be competing with educational/informational sites, small independent retailers with aggressive search strategies, or large pharmaceutical brands with huge budgets – all for the same keyword. The key to winning in this space is to understand the competitive landscape for each bucket of keywords. Study and analyze your competitors’ strategies. Are they competing for the same audience you are? Where are their weaknesses? The more intelligence you can gather on their search strategies, the stronger yours will be.
With so many regulations in the digital healthcare space, simple, effective, and proven tactics become increasingly important in delivering strong results and the right remedy for your marketing ailments.