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A Doctor’s Buying Journey: Forget Print, it’s Time to go Digital for Healthcare Marketing

by | Feb 18, 2014 | healthcare marketing | 0 comments

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marketing-doctors

Who will find this information helpful?

If your business sells to hospitals, or if doctors are your target market, then I’m sure you will find this blog post most interesting as I discuss a doctor’s buying journey. I have examined a recent Google survey which interviewed over 500 physicians to understand how they do research and buy online.

We will also take a look at how you can reach these doctors to help them with their research and buying decisions.

The growth of digital

When doctors are making clinical decisions they are spending twice as much time using online resources compared to print. The reason doctors are turning to the internet for their research is because they have a lot more patients these days and a lot less time to do their research.

There are a lot more treatment options available to patients, greater expectations and much more admin required, which is becoming a big burden. There has also been a big shift to e-resources meaning doctors can get the information they need instantly.

The mass adoption of EMR, e-precribing, streamline practices and much more patient collaboration have all been contributing to the way doctors research and buy online.

The devices they use to do research is also interesting as 99% of doctors use desktops computers, 84% use smartphones and 54% tablets, this means if you website does not display well on mobile devices you could be turning your customers way.

According to this research 62% will leave a website if it is not mobile optimised.

Like I mentioned earlier, doctors spend twice as much time using digital channels to help them with their clinical decisions than print. The sites they are looking at are:

  • Google
  • Professional websites
  • Drug references
  • Mobile apps

One recipient of the survey shone a little more light on the reasons why they preferred to do their research this way:

  • Much more choice
  • Easier
  • No need to have books in front of you
  • You can find info quickly on an iPhone
  • Can easily give the patient information there and then
  • Explain things to patients easier

Does their age matter?

Some might say that the reason for the switch to digital is an age thing. I was having a conversation with my mother-in-law just the other day and she thinks it is the younger generation that embrace digital, whereas the old generation still like to do the research offline.

I think this may be true for some people but it seems not so much for doctors; 80% of the under 45s and over 55s use their smartphone to do research.

However, under 45s do spend almost double the time online researching compared to their older counterparts. Not surprisngly, both use search engines every day, in fact around 80% said that search engines played a big role in their research. On average they conducted 6 searches on Google each day and 94% of them return.

What their daily activities look like:

doctors-daily-activities

What kind of things are they looking for?

In terms of healthcare marketing, 32% of their time was spent looking for names of particular medical devices. This is great news if you sell medical equipment, you should start getting your sales questions into blog posts now to help these doctors make their buying decisions.

If you trade in pharmaceuticals you will be pleased to learn that 17% of their time was was spent looking for pharmaceutical brands and 50% looking for specific drug names.

When it came to mobile searches only 34% preferred to use a mobile app, the rest preferring to use mobile websites via browsers, in fact 62% said they would leave if the website was not mobile friendly.

Video also played a very important part in their research as they spend six hours a week watching videos, half of which were for professional reasons compared to the 8 hours they spend watching T.V.

Over 85% of the doctors who watched video took some kind of action, some of these actions were:

  •          Requested a product sample
  •          Went to a pharmaceutical website
  •          Shared info with a colleague

videos-watched2

Take-aways

If you are in the business of selling to doctors then you need to use search as your main way to reach them. Inbound marketing is an excellent way to put you right in front of the people who buy your products.

Leverage the power of video by creating helpful videos which show your product being used and also tips on how to use these products. With over 80% of doctors performing actions after watching a video, you want these videos to be yours.

You also need to be reaching them on the go, 80% used their smartphone and 67% said they would leave a website if it wasn’t mobile friendly. It was also reported that they were only sent to a mobile friendly website 41% of the time.

So if you make your website responsive, ensuring it works on all devices, this will put you ahead of 59% of the websites out there.

For more in-depth guidance on how to successfully carry out inbound marketing strategies for your healthcare business, click here to learn about our free ebook: Digital Healthcare Marketing in a Nutshell”.

Now it’s your turn

What are the biggest challenges you face in getting your product infront of doctors when doing your healthcare marketing? Let me know in the comments below.

Source: over 500 doctors surveyed

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