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Essentials of a Digital Pharma Marketing Strategy

Even though many companies have made the move to digital forms of marketing, some still remain worried about making this major transition. While pharma companies are wary of making a larger entrance to digital, the demands are higher than ever. On the one hand, patients are more present than ever online and they are demanding to be more in control of their health outcomes. On the other end, physicians use digital media to stay informed about the latest scientific publications and connect with their peers.

At the forefront of any pharma company’s digital presence is a clearly defined strategy. Here are some of the ways to set a digital pharma marketing strategy and how it can benefit pharma companies, patients and physicians all at once.

Start with having a strategy in the first place

Here’s an interesting catch 22 – most companies base their digital pharma marketing strategy based on the current market and competitors. However, as there are not that many pharma companies venturing into digital, there’s no one to base your efforts on. Add the standard regulatory issues to the mix, and it’s a very difficult position to be in. In order to devise a digital strategy, you need to get creative and seek inspiration in industries outside of pharma.

Even for those companies ready to jump into digital, their biggest challenge was setting an overall marketing strategy. Additionally, it proved to be difficult to convince in-house staff that the return on investment for digital would be meaningful. Here are some cornerstones of an effective digital pharma marketing strategy.


For the majority of HCPs today, email is still the preferred channel of communication. However, if your idea of email marketing entails personally writing down hundreds of emails every time you need to connect with your HCPs, you may need to upgrade your knowledge. Here are the aspects of email marketing to focus on:

–        Design

While physicians are more attracted to hard figures and clinical data, it never hurts to have an email that looks great. Make the design simple but elegant, and don’t forget to add a call to action to every email. If you don’t have a CTA set up, each email is a missed opportunity. Include an image or two but do not go overboard as some servers might label your emails as spam.

–        Have a strong subject line

The number one thing that HCPs and patients land their eyes on is the email subject line. In fact, the vast majority will read nothing but the subject line and use it to decide whether they need to open the email at all. The subject line should be engaging and thought-provoking. At the same time, it should be kept brief – under 70 characters. The fewer, the better, as mobile users prefer shorter subject lines. Speaking of mobile…

–        Write mobile-optimized emails

Once you send out an email, it won’t look the same on all devices. The differences will be the biggest between desktop and mobile versions of the same email. If you’re preparing an important newsletter for physicians, you need to ensure that it looks good across different devices.

Many email marketing tools have a built-in preview of the email on desktop, mobile, and other device types – and you should make good use of it. Finally, you should always send a test email to yourself before blasting your HCP list. You will see if it looks good on your mobile, and you may even spot some typos or errors.

–        Think of the readers

Before you even start writing your email, think about the following – what do your readers want to see? What are HCPs interested in the most? Provide information on the latest advances in treatment, improvements to patient outcomes, new and relevant scientific data, information on clinical trials

Many pharma companies think of email as an addition to their traditional outbound marketing strategies and flood physicians’ emails with product promotions. However, this does more harm than good, and you will quickly see your email lists getting smaller by the day.

–        Take care of timing

The time when you send out your emails can make a vast difference in how many physicians open and read them. For example, lots of HCPs open and read most emails in the afternoon, as they are swamped with work in the morning. Some catch up on their emails on Saturday mornings, while others prefer Monday mornings to start off their work week. There is no one good answer, but luckily there doesn’t have to be. You can split test your sending times and see what works the best for you and the HCPs on your mailing lists.

SEO for pharma

One of the most abused buzzwords in digital marketing is SEO or search engine optimization. It relates to optimizing your website structure and text in order to ensure that your company ranks high in search engines for a given keyword, for example, over-the-counter medicine.

SEO for pharma stats

SEO is an incredibly powerful tactic, but as it’s fairly difficult to prove its ROI and effectiveness, many pharma companies stay away from SEO as a digital marketing strategy. However, here’s what you can do to improve your SEO efforts immediately.

–        Create quality content

Before getting into the technical details of SEO, the cornerstone of a good optimization strategy is creating meaningful and valuable content. Once again, pay attention that these should not be materials promoting your company’s brands. The kind of content that makes a connection with HCPs through content that provides value and establishes trust.

Lay out the latest advances in improving treatments for patients. Show how your newest clinical studies were able to improve specific patient outcomes.

–        Use appropriate keywords

Writing because you simply feel like it is a great way to let your creative side come to shine, but it won’t bring in any new visitors to your pharma website. Instead of writing randomly, your content should be structured around specific keywords to get the most visitors and attention.

For example, “HCP“ may not be that great of a keyword to go after, and you should write articles optimized for “physician“ instead. Don’t worry, you don’t have to guess which keywords to write for, as tools such as SEMRush can help you out.

Create a digital pharma strategy of your own

Getting your pharma company online and up to date with the latest digital marketing strategy is no easy feat. If you think you need a helping hand with getting this kind of work done – don’t stress, as we can help you out. At BlueNovius, we can create your digital pharma marketing strategy from scratch and help you increase your share of voice. Reach out to us today to get started!

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