The Web Marketing Association’s annual WebAwards for 2014 will be given out in September, and one of the categories we’re most excited about is best pharmaceutical website. Pharma has been a latecomer to the world of online marketing, as stringent regulations have made companies skittish about entering the digital world. However, the WebAwards are a great time to showcase how digital marketing can increase pharma’s ROI.
The Web Marketing Association is a a group of leaders and creators of digital marketing companies, who have been putting on the WebAwards for 17 years. The Awards are given out based on the categories of Design, Innovation, Content, Technology, Interactivity, Copywriting, and Ease of Use. For pharmaceutical companies doing these things well, there are rewards beyond the laudations of their peers: 100 million adults in the US, or 85% of American internet users, search the web for healthcare information.
We’ve looked at the winners from previous years, and there are lessons to be learned from what they have in common. Here’s what 3 of the best pharmaceutical company websites do right:
1. WebAward’s 2013 Winner: Quintiles
Last year’s victor, Quintiles, did enough things right to edge out its competitors in the pharmaceutical industry. A logo carries a lot of weight, since it’s one of their first points of contact with a prospective customer. Quintiles’ logo is a Q stylized to look like a simple red circle, and everything else compliments their logo. The company’s site is a masterclass in maintaining a unified brand image.
When a visitor first lands on their site, the page has a prominent but unobtrusive red tint to echo the logo. The background image looks like a cell, which is both visually appealing and evocative of the biotech, health, and pharmaceutical industries. The image and text change, as they’re part of a brief slideshow that cycles through three more of Quintiles’ strengths.
As the slideshow shifts through images, the background images change too. The background images draw a very appealing visual distinction against the red navigation bar at the top of the page and the red type that emphasizes key words in the text. The visual design is understated but exceptionally well done, and the site is easy to navigate in ways similar to those of other winning sites.
Lesson: Work With a Unified Theme in Mind
2. WebAward’s 2012 Winner: iBGStar
A good rule for laying out a website is that your visitor should be able to visit any page from your homepage. Though this is challenging when dealing with a field as complex as pharma, if your site is easily navigable—less like a maze, more like a menu—it’ll be a success.
People dealing with the medical world already have a lot on their plate as far as information goes. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and a cluttered, hard-to-navigate page will frustrate and drive away potential clients. iBGStar, the 2012 winner, has a simple and intuitive way to keep visitors oriented: it has a “You Are Here” at the top of the page to help visitors figure out which section of the website they are currently on.
iBGStar’s homepage is relatively simple, with a large image, navigation tabs along the left and at the top, and some product, legal, and contact information at the bottom. The left navigation field has tabs about the product, and the tabs at the top go to external links. The external links direct prospective customers to online communities and related products available from the parent company. The page’s navigation is intuitive and uncluttered, making the making the process effective, rather than overwhelming.
By combining breadth, depth, and accessibility the way it does, iBGStar does navigation right.
Lesson: Make Your Site Easy to Navigate from the Homepage
3. WebAward’s 2011 Winner: McKesson
As you scroll down, one of the most prominent parts of McKesson’s website is a section that asks for your role in order to better direct you. The site offers “Pharmacy Leader,” “Supply Chain Leader,” and “Executive Leader,” options, but most importantly, it looks like a website that deals with industry leaders.
McKesson conveys authority. Its website is clean, simple to navigate, and very attractive. First, its blue-and-orange motif takes advantage of the most visually compelling pair of complementary colors. Navigation is accomplished by scrolling vertically, and options reveal themselves as the business tells their story with high-production videos and simple images.
Everything about the way the site unfolds—its vertical scrolling, its visual appeal, its simple-to-follow message—replicates the aspects of design that make parallax scrolling and infographics so popular. This isn’t effective just because it’s trendy, but because it allows the site to tell its story. McKesson communicates its authority like a narrative.
Lesson: Make Your Site Clean and Attractive
These are three lessons you can apply to take a lead in the world of online pharmaceutical marketing. The industry is behind, but at Spinx we’ve been hard at work helping medical industry companies like Med Talk. Med Talk was conceived and founded by a medical group looking for a way to simplify communications and scheduling. It’s a robust health care services application, which includes a complete internal messaging system. The app allows a medical group to effectively and securely communicate amongst themselves, as well as schedule and manage the many work shifts and doctors they require on call each day. A mobile version of the application allows doctors in the group to easily check their schedule and make changes to it when necessary, directly from their smart phone. What successful techniques has your company utilized to get ahead of the competition?
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