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When pharma marketers approach me for formulating their digital marketing strategy, they’re always inquisitive about this new “unconventional” digital approach that’s both– cost-effective and efficient.
I always get questions, like, “How much impact would SEO have on my brand’s marketing?” or “How would SEO help in increasing those sales figures? ”, or “Is SEO as effective as the conventional word-of-mouth approach?”
Well, I will not elaborate the answers, because I’m sure that by the time you finish reading this, you’ll have the answers by yourself. I’ll explain the concept of SEO, how it’s changing the digital landscape for the pharma industry, and how you can put the right foot forward.
But…. first things first.
What is SEO?
“SEO is an optimization technique used by websites to increase their visibility in search engine result pages. “
That’s how it’s defined. But, then, let me explain it in a better way.
Think of Internet as a collection of web addresses and search engines as the directory. Whenever a user wants to look up a piece of information, he would take out the directory and look to find out which web addresses hold the needed piece of information.
Now, your address may hold a lot of useful information, but until and unless the directory indexes that piece of information, the user won’t know it.
The technique of allowing search engines to index the right information from your website is known as Search Engine Optimization.
How Effective is SEO?
Well, you would be surprised. Just think of this. Google processes 40,000 search queries every second, which means 3.5 billion searches per day.
By effectively optimizing for search engines, you’re making yourself discoverable to a wide plethora of audience, and leveraging the power of one of the most ubiquitous modes of digital marketing.
Want some realistic and measurable benefits of SEO for number crunching? Well, here’s what an effective SEO strategy can do for your pharma branding:
Increase your Website’s Reach
With the help of an effective SEO strategy, you would be able to leverage the power of a billion searches to reach a much wider audience.
For instance, newly emerging pharma brands can now create an articulated brand image through effective search optimization techniques.
They don’t need to send sales reps from one clinic to another to inform the medical professionals about their brand. Instead, they can use effective SEO strategies to gain instant attention of health-care professionals and patients.
Instead, they can send the sales reps only when the healthcare professional wants to see them. SEO facilitates a pull-marketing strategy that opens up ways of enhancing the discoverability of your brand without getting too aggressive.
Unlike aggressive online marketing which is impression driven, SEO is customer-driven. It’s a huge opportunity for pharma marketers to catch up on, since by being customer-centric, you can optimize your sales and build your brand image faster.
Wondering how search engines allow pharma brands to achieve customer eccentricity?
Well, search engines rank websites based on a lot of factors, although an important one is user responsiveness. If a piece of content was useful to a lot of users, Google assumes that it’s valuable and it automatically increases its page rank.
Moreover, Google also calibrates search results to suit individual preferences, which means it understands the reading habits of individuals, and delivers content that the user finds relevant and engaging.
This is a huge opportunity for you as a pharma marketer, since you can now conduct well-directed digital campaigns to maximize conversions by reaching the right plethora of audience.
To understand this better, let’s assume that your brand chooses to market antioxidant capsules through online advertising channels. Now you may end up getting huge amount of traffic using aggressive digital marketing techniques like advertising, but the conversion ratio would be rather low.
Because, although your website received a huge amount of traffic, the percentage of visitors actually interested in your product was pretty small. Simply put, it’s aggressive or push marketing.
SEO, however, works differently. With effective search engine optimization techniques, you actually allow the right amount of users to find you–or– in other words you “pull” right audience towards you.
The number of visitors you receive through pull marketing may be lesser when compared to the push marketing approach, but you’ll get a higher conversion ratio with pull marketing strategies. The reason being simple: you’re customer-driven.
Better site navigability and user-friendliness
The good thing about having an organized structure is that it reduces chaos and allows you to interpret things easily and quickly. In the process of optimizing for search engines, we’re actually breathing structure into websites.
Effective search engine optimization techniques improve site navigation and streamline the content that matters the most. By enabling a rich user experience, we are now enabling them to find what they want quickly and efficiently.
This helps achieve customer retention– one of the biggest challenges of digital pharma marketing.
Better ROI than ad campaigns
Many pharma marketers ask me – if online advertising is a quick and easy way to get traction online, then, why not use it ? Why waste time in formulating a quick SEO strategy when you can get the results right away?
Well, that’s one way of looking at things. Surely, the ad-campaigns are result-oriented, but their impact is also short-lived. In my years of experience with digital marketing in pharma, I can confidently say that as far as online campaigning is concerned, only one strategy works– consistency.
Organic listings are absolutely free. Agreed, the traction they provide is minuscule compared to ad-campaigns, but they provide consistent results, and that’s what counts.
In other words, if you implement a sound SEO strategy that ranks your website in the top results, you don’t need to invest a lot in ad-campaigns.
Trust is what drives businesses. Trust is what makes people believe that your product would live up to its promises, not because they fully understand it, but because they have confidence in your propositions.
Search engines help you achieve that.
People trust listings on Google. When a health-care professional searches for some information that’s hosted by your website and it comes on the front page of Google, he knows that you’re credible.
The same thing goes with patients.
When a patient looks up for information about your pill and finds it instantly in the top searches, he/she knows that your pharmaceutical brand is trustworthy.
On the flip-side, if your target audience cannot get the right information about you on the front page of Google, they might get skeptical about you. This is one of the strongest reasons I recommend SEO to every brand– it helps you build your brand image.
From the pharma perspective, search engine optimization is tricky, since you have to abide by a lot of regulations to make sure you don’t over-sell your product. But that should not stop you from leveraging the power of searches.
After all, top pharma brands around the world are leveraging its power to create engaging and personalized interactions with their target audience.
I hope you liked reading my blog post. If you need any assistance on how you can make digital marketing work for your pharma brand, you can put in your thoughts in the comments section below.
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