The last time you or a loved one experienced abnormal pain or discomfort, what did you do? If you’re like most Americans, you likely turned to Google or WebMD. Now, rewind 10 or 20 years ago. Most medical events led to a phone call to a primary care physician, or scheduling an office visit.

The digital era has transformed the way patients and caregivers research symptoms and treatment options. It’s also transformed the way physicians gather information about treatment and/or medical device options for their patients.

Because of this, healthcare marketers must adapt the way they distribute educational content. Maybe a robust symptom checker isn’t in the cards for you, but you can use these tips to make the research stage of the Digital Patient Journey simple and effortless.

Don’t recreate the wheel

No matter your specialty, you and your team have a lot of knowledge about the conditions your company provides treatment and products for. The best way to make your expertise discoverable on the web is to publish it.

You probably have countless pamphlets, brochures and other traditional marketing materials. Whether it’s a flyer on the benefits of a medical device, or a booklet to help caregivers cope with the chronic illness of a loved one, this information is still relevant.

Repurpose it in the form of downloadable white papers, infographics or eBooks. And be sure to give the copy and imagery an update following SEO best practices to increase your website’s visibility in search engines and to help make your valuable insight easy to find in the search engine results pages.

Understand Their Needs

A common mistake among marketers is assuming they know exactly what their audience is looking for. Even if you’ve done research in the past, update your keyword and search engine marketing strategy. Use an online keyword research tool like Google Adwords Keyword Planner or Moz to discover the top search queries that are relevant to your product, device, or treatment. Also look at symptoms people might be searching, because searches typically aren’t branded at the research stage.

Bucket these terms and phrases under the corresponding treatments, products or therapeutic areas. Combine these highly relevant search terms with the existing demographic knowledge you already have documented on your personas. In doing this, you’ll be in a great position to better reach the people you are trying to help most.

Create, Create, Create

Now that your strategy has been refreshed, it’s time to get to work. Your website strategy can now be user-centric based on what you know your target audience is looking for.

For example, your homepage should feature doorways into deeper sections of your site based on your audience’s needs and wants. Maybe your products are the focus. If you’re a biotech company, your pipeline might be the focus. Or the science behind your research and development might be at the forefront. As you develop the strategy behind the design and development of your website, whatever you do – let the needs and wants of your audience drive these decisions.

Simply put, there isn’t a magical formula that will put you on the first page of Google. But with the correct mindset, you’ll see success in getting your message in front of the people who matter.

As you create content, page copy and resources that will live on your website, focus on quality, not necessarily quantity. Make sure every blog post, white paper, or eBook, is written with empathy and produced with the user (not technical algorithms) in mind. The best success you can have during this stage of the Digital Patient Journey, is to consistently produce content that is easily found, easily read, and easily shared.

By repurposing existing offline content, seeking to understand your users more intimately, and publishing new quality content, your web presence will entice and invite the people you seek to help.

Check out our portfolio for case studies on how we’ve created user-centric website for clients in the biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare industries.