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The importance of audience profiling when building a medical website

Audience profiling is one of the key aspects to consider before building a medical website, but it is a stage which is often neglected. If anything, audience profiling is even more important for medical and healthcare digital marketing projects than other business sectors, as it helps to determine the target market and what regulatory factors will need to be taken into consideration as part of the development approach. To illustrate this point, it is useful to compare two examples – one from outside the medical industry and one from within.

For our outside example, let’s imagine a manufacturer of high quality chef’s knives want to set up a website for its products. The company wants to target catering professionals, but given the popularity of cooking with the public in general, will also want to target home cooks who may enjoy using a superior standard of equipment. Although the slant on some of the website’s content may vary a little, in general most of the web pages would interest both groups.

Targeting patients vs healthcare professionals

Let’s now imagine a second example within the medical & pharmaceuticals industry – a manufacturer of a new drug for diabetics. The company wants to target drug buyers either within hospitals or individual GP practices, but it also wants to raise awareness of its product among those with diabetes. These markets require very different approaches. The doctors and pharmacists want technical information, supply details and prices. The patients want information on how the drug can help them, and a far more empathetic tone. In this case, it is highly unlikely that the requirement of the two target groups could be met on the same website and, in all likelihood, two very different websites would have to be established. Furthermore, if the drug is a prescription only medicine (POM) then the website will need to factor in ABPI compliance to ensure that the website conforms to the regulations that govern the marketing of POMs.

Audience profiling is vital at the very start of the process of developing a medical website, as it will affect almost all the subsequent decisions. Having a clear idea of the target audience helps significantly in identifying which keywords are likely to get the most relevant traffic. The site design itself will be heavily influenced by the intended audience, as will the majority of the content and the tone of voice in which it is written.