The Perfect Form? How to Use the Two-Step to Drive More Pharma Web Site Conversions

When acquiring leads via paid search, marketers often fixate on the “instant” conversion. Driving visitors to a landing page that hosts a registration form is a common SEM strategy for many specialized drug adherence and disease awareness programs, and for healthcare in general.  Typically, the lead data is captured in an online form that lives on the landing page.  But is that always the best approach?  Having worked in many landing page conversion environments across healthcare categories, our answer is – no, not always.

Most health information seekers using search engines expect immediate gratification when it comes to the results of their query, and rightfully so.  Even if the landing page hosts the “perfect form”, presented with a clear value proposition and best-practice design, a patient or caregiver is unlikely to complete it until their immediate informational needs are met.  In some cases, the “perfect form” for very specific types of queries may call for an immediate, one-step conversion, but more often, people like to browse, research and spend a little more time considering their choices.

Before delving further into the “optimal experience”, let’s review a few of the most effective ways the conversion objectives of a pharmaceutical web site can work to support your marketing goals:


4 Best-Practice Website Conversion Objectives for Pharma & Healthcare:

  1. Patient or caregiver registration into a drug adherence support or disease awareness program
  2. HCP engagement to raise awareness of a drug MOA, efficacy claim or other key differentiator
  3. Directly connecting visitors with content that “answers” top search queries within a given disease state category or treatment (“symptoms of X”, “diagnosing Y”, side effects of “Z”, etc).
  4. Communicating core brand advantages

It is important to consider all of these objectives since sometimes data capture alone informs landing page design, sacrificing secondary objectives that are equally important.  In most cases, the majority of landing page visitors will not convert, so it is important to deliver something of value to a wider set of prospects.  This is where a two-step conversion approach can make a word of difference.  Think of the “two-step” as a dance between partners, with Step 1 being about partner A (the consumer) and Step 2 being about partner B (the marketer)…


How Two-Step Conversion Works:

In a two-step conversion process, Step 1 is all about the consumer’s query.  The key here is for the marketer to deliver a landing page that offers something unique, compelling and directly relevant to the search query, like a video, file download, coupon, co-pay card or other gift that requires providing one’s email address (or other form of contact information) in exchange.

The landing page for Step 1 must be simple and focused on an exchange of relevant content for an opt-in, highlighting the value offered to the visitor. Make sure the opt-in data capture and submit button on the landing page are above the “fold”.  Because you are giving away something of value to the visitor, you shouldn’t need a very long copy block to maximize your Step 1 conversion rate.  This rate should be high if your offering resonates with the visitor.  For example, suppose the search query was “drug X side effects”.  The high-value conversion on the landing page might be a patient video featuring helpful tips about managing the drug’s side effects.

Serving up the “payoff” in Step 1, directly fulfilling the user’s query, makes Step 2, the marketer’s request, infinitely easier.  All that remains is to make the connection between the two.  Suppose your goal is registration in an adherence support program for a prescription drug.  The patient searching for “drug X side effects” is now fully engaged, having seen your video fulfilling her specific information need.  Now you have established a bond of trust as a helpful source of information, making your adherence program enrollment opportunity much more compelling.

The key is to step back from linear thinking and approach your goal from the perspective of your site visitors. If you have a great brand, then your greatest opportunity for conversion comes when you fully engage your audience first.

Brett Landry