SEM, also known as pay-per-click, refers to text ads, or sponsored links that appear at the top or side of the search results.
Marketers can buy certain keywords or search terms that they think searchers will use. When users enter those terms in the
search box, the text ads appear on the search results page, linking users to a customized landing page on the marketer's Web
site. Ideally, when searchers reach the landing page, they should see content that's relevant to the search term they used.
A search engine's ordering of text ads is based on how much each advertiser has agreed to pay for a search term and, in some
cases, how often people actually click on the ads.
Increasing Web Performance
Pharma marketing managers will find value in both marketing techniques. While SEO places a site higher in the search results,
it can take three to six months before it will improve the site's ranking. SEM enables a marketing message to appear immediately,
affording marketers the ability to control the search terms that generate the text ads. They can also control where searchers
go since the link embedded in the ad, when clicked, leads directly to a pre-determined landing page. However, not all searchers
click on these ads.
Consumers Know Their Drugs
While it may come as a surprise, most consumers search for drugs by brand name, according to Compass Healthcare Communications,
which recently conducted a study reviewing how people search for drug information. The study, which included more than 75
pharma and biopharma brands, revealed that only five percent of those searching by brand names are healthcare providers; 92
percent are consumers.
From that consumer population:
50 percent are existing patients or caregivers of patients using the brand.
- An average 19 percent, or one in five, have an unfilled script in their hands.
- Ten percent are diagnosed but not currently on a product.
- Four percent use a competitive product.
Pharma marketers can leverage this information in the following ways:
Enhance loyalty among existing patients For patients who are already taking a product, this is an opportunity to respond to their queries and offer compliance programs
Close the patient "acquisition loop" The patient has spent a few minutes with a doctor, received a prescription, and wants to learn more before getting it filled.
Marketers can influence these script holders by ensuring that patients are directed to a landing page on the brand's Web site,
which highlights the specific information consumers seek. Branded pages can help reduce patients' anxiety about the script
and product's potential side effects. For marketers, product Web sites can serve as platforms for inviting patients to join
loyalty programs or to sign up to receive ongoing information about the brand.
Educate the diagnosed about their options Since these patients have yet to commit to a particular course of therapy, marketers can help them explore the options that
best suit their needs.
Turn on "switch" messaging In highly competitive product categories in which there are several treatment options, it is likely that searchers are investigating
alternative brands. This is an opportunity to provide head-to-head research results, and encourage patients—especially those
who are unhappy with their current medication—to ask their doctor about different treatment options, possibly resulting in
a switch to your company's brand.
Build trust with healthcare professionals While most healthcare professionals search for drugs by the generic name, some search by the brand. For launch brands or brands
with new indications, the Internet is the first place physicians go for the most recent information.