A blog exploring pharmaceutical relationship marketing, emarketing and innovation with a focus on rare disorders.
The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

best practices Archive

Time for a Digital Marketing Reality Check

Posted by | 12:10pm on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 | No Comments
SEM Reality Check

Here’s the scenario:  you spend months writing content for a new product or service launch; you develop display, PPC, and Facebook ads; you get your supervisor’s approval and legal sign-off; and are finally ready to launch all the great content and paid media driving to the content.

Are you truly ready to launch everything?  Has everything been QA’d?   Are you sure?  Even if you have proofread all your copy, tested all your click-thru links, and ensured everything looks okay.  It’s important to sit back and determine “if it makes sense.”

For example, you may have heard of the QR code that was launched on a billboard in a subway where there is no mobile service.  The billboard may have been reviewed and proofed for spelling errors, but did anyone sit back and do a “reality check” to ensure that it “made sense”  before going live with a billboard that has a call to action that isn’t conducive to the placement of the actual ad?

When it is time to QA you website, paid media, or any of your interactive marketing efforts here are 5 easy to overlook yet incredibly important things you won’t want to forget:

1. If you are launching a new webpage/site, have you verified your meta description tag?  I don’t think I need to go into the importance of the description tag when it comes to what is displayed for your company on the Google organic search results page (or any other search engine).   But it has importance beyond just the search results page.  Here’s a real example that happened just the other day.

I posted a link to Facebook for an event.  The default copy and image under the link were “sniffed” out or auto populated from the landing page my link led to.  Please note these can often be manually changed.  But I noticed something odd about the copy.  It was referencing an event from 3 years ago vs. the landing page which referenced the current event taking place in just a few days.  So instead of just changing the copy, I went to the landing page to try to ascertain the issue.  The copy looked correct on the page, so my next step was to view the page source code.  That was when I noticed the problem in the meta description tag.

My assumption is that the landing/event registration page had been reused year over year from event to event.   However, even though the content on the page had been updated, no one had taken the time to review the html code and update the meta description tag to reflect the current event and year.  This is something that is very easy to miss and just as easy to fix.  Plus this could have more far-reaching effects than just the content associated with a link on Facebook.  Inaccurate copy on your page can lead to a lower “quality site” per Google and this can materially affect your organic ranking.  See The Softer Side of Panda for more information about how Google determines if your website is a “quality site.”

2.  Test, test, test your links…in emails, on your websites, and in all your click-thru links in all your paid media.   I can’t stress this enough…having a great ad is useless if the link to your landing page is not correct.  This is analogous to having an infomercial on TV and displaying an 800 number that “someone” forgot to activate.  Or sending out a direct mail piece with the call to action being an 800 number only to find out the phone number isn’t correct.    A great ad (in any medium) is just a picture if the call to action leads to a dead end.

Here’s another real example from a few weeks ago.  I was doing some research online and came across a banner ad that I found interesting enough to click on.  Yes, people still click on those if the targeting is accurate and the message is relevant.  However by clicking-thru, I was led to a “webpage is not available” error message.


Reality Check Banner Ad Fail


Even if the link was checked before the ad went live, it is still possible that due to manual intervention the link was entered into Adwords incorrectly (for example).  It’s a best practice to recheck your links after the ad goes live.  It is a relatively easy update to fix a click-thru link error, and it’s better to catch it right after the ad goes live (at the latest) vs. wasting your marketing budget on clicks that don’t lead to your landing page effectively and causes a poor user experience

3.  The jury is out regarding the importance of multi-part mime emails (i.e., sending out a text and html version of an email and letting the email client determine which one to display).  However, many email service providers (ESPs) take care of this automatically.  But not all.  This is important to at least understand (and potentially test) when trying to provide the best experience possible to someone receiving an email from your company.  The reason this is deemed important is that some people may change their email client’s settings to only accept text based emails.  Plus (more so in the past) some email applications or devices did not “accept” html based email.  When  multi-part email functionality is available , ESPs essentially “sniff” out an email client’s capabilities and an individual’s settings to determine which version of your email should be delivered.  But you need two versions for this to work effectively.  Just be thankful it’s only two versions.  Back in the “old days”, AOL used to have its own “light” version that wasn’t the same as html or as text.  So you needed to create 3 versions of every email.  This is incredibly easy to overlook.  In fact, for ESPs that automatically create a text version of your email, it’s important to review it to ensure your html version was accurately converted to text. Is it still necessary to  create a text based version  of your email?  Is the time it takes to create the email “worth it”?  This answer is probably dependent on your target audience and may be worth testing.  If no one opens a text email, it may not be worth the time it takes to develop it.

4.  Do the images on your website have intuitive, meaningful names or are the files something like 123456.jpg?  Do the images have alt tags?  This is very behind the scenes and therefore extremely easy to overlook when QA’ing a website.  Plus this doesn’t affect the way a website looks or even the speed in which the page loads.  But the file name does materially affect the SEO of your website.  Image file names that are intuitive and meaningful to your target will be indexed and searchable within Google.   These indexed images can appear on the search results page towards the top of the page therefore giving you more real estate on the results page and more opportunities for someone to click-thru to your website.

Image alt tags currently don’t affect SEO, but they are important from a user experience standpoint.  Those tags are displayed when someone has images turned off on their browser.  As a result, you want the alt tags to be descriptive of the image, so the person knows what he/she is missing.  Plus if someone is visually impaired, that person may have a device that reads the content of the page including the alt tags.  This means the tag should be relevant and descriptive, not just loaded with keywords.

5.  The final example goes back to the QR code situation mentioned earlier.  It’s crucial to always sit back and do a “gut” or reality check.  Does it make sense to launch a QR code on a billboard underground where there is no reception?  Does it make sense to add music in the background of your website that automatically plays when someone accesses your website?  Does that lead to a good user experience?   Does it make sense to add pop-ups to your website to try to “encourage” visitors to take a certain path on your website?  Or are pop-ups too intrusive and ultimately lead to a poor user experience?  Does adding flash to your website result in a positive user experience?  Is it even viewable on all device types?  Mobile, for example.  The answers may depend on your target audience, but it’s important to consider the relevancy and user experience before launching anything.  And if need be and you are able, test before a full scale launch.  But regardless, pay close attention to your data on the back-end as it will probably help inform the need for future updates.


Patient-Powered Collaboration: ALD Connect Launches a Doctor-Patient Webinar Series

As part of our ongoing focus on multi-stakeholder collaboration in the rare disease space, we are highlighting successful and unique…

Tags: , , ,


How Should Pharma Navigate the Landscape of Compassionate Use?

For companies that operate in the rare disease space, compassionate use policies are critical. Rare disease patients and caregivers are…

Tags: , ,

Facebook Changes CPC Calculation

More Facebook Ad Changes

Facebook is doing even more streamlining. In addition to the recent changes to Facebook pages to look more like personal…

Tags: , ,

Google logo

The Softer Side of Google Panda

Having a website with great search rankings is like having a great golf swing. If you want to stay at…

Tags: ,

In Need of Diagnosis: Help for Challenging Cases

As part of our series on diagnosis, I recently had the opportunity to interview Rebecca Hollingsworth, Administrator of In Need…

Tags: , , , ,


Ten Steps You Can Take If You Are Seeking A Diagnosis

According to the Shire Rare Disease Impact Report, a survey of 1000 rare stakeholders, it takes, on average, more than…

Tags: , , , , , ,

New Resources That Will Help Speed Diagnosis of Rare Diseases

The rare community has made huge strides in the 30 years that have elapsed since the Orphan Drug Act was…

Tags: , , , ,

question mark

Diagnosis Is A Cause Everyone Can Get Behind

One of the most moving moments (and there were many of them) at Global Genes’ recent patient advocacy summit was…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Guidelines for Movement Marketing

Movement marketing is a great way to empower patients by rallying them around a cause and motivating them to take…

Tags: , , ,


Say Hello to Doctor Digital Omnivore

In a recent post, How Caregivers are Different Than Other Health Seekers, we noted that caregivers are more likely to…

Tags: , , ,

Reaching Rare Disease Communities

Every once in awhile you stumble on a phrase that perfectly captures one of your  principles – something you’ve been…

Tags: , , , , , ,

links in a chain

Seven Tips for How To Work Best With Multiple Agencies

These days pharmaceutical brand teams are working with multiple agencies at any given time, including but not limited to PR,…


The Importance of Training to Partner Effectively With Pharma Regulatory Teams

At a recent conference, Alan Bergstrom, Senior Director of Commercial Regulatory Affairs at Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. announced a new regulatory…


How Pharma Can Talk With Patients

I was pleased to lead a panel discussion on this topic at the Centric Ultra Orphan Conference in St. Louis…


The Digital Behaviors of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Two recent studies provide insight into the digital behaviors of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). Most pharma marketers…


Genzyme’s New Rare Disease Advocacy Website

The rare disease patient advocacy team at Genzyme recently launched a rare disease advocacy website, Genzyme Rare Community, that includes…


Pharma Social Media Case Studies

Last week I spoke at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Social Media for Pharma conference in New York City. “The pharma…


Time to Mobilize Your Resources?

If you’ve been watching the growth in smartphone adoption and wondering whether or not you should be considering mobile in…

Tags: ,

Five Tips for Successful Patient Outreach

As patients increasingly drive their own medical care, the value of direct, two-way conversation between biopharma and patients also increases.  When…


Ideas to Support Health Behavior Change

Many rare disease therapies are injections or infusions which require a serious commitment on the part of the patients and…


What an Orchestra Can Teach Pharma Leaders

I started off yesterday morning sitting next to the violin section of a symphony orchestra that was playing classical music….



The Importance of Setting Expectations: Pharma on Facebook

I was on the AstraZeneca Careers Facebook page – not looking for a job – but for some examples of…


Show Me the Data!

Tonya Harrington, Business Manager at Siren Interactive, contributes this post: Data analysis is vital to the success and longevity of…


Stop, maybe?

The Power of a Singular Message

Heidi Schoeneck, Executive Creative Director at Siren Interactive, contributes this essay: Stop. It’s a simple word, but I think too…


Online Reputation Management Part 4 – Preparation

This is the final part of a four-part series about online reputation management. On Tuesday, I discussed the importance of…



Online Reputation Management Part 3 - Questcor

We are in the midst of a four-part series about online reputation management. On Tuesday, I discussed the importance of…


Online Reputation Management Part 1 – Defending Your Brand

Business is changing a lot due to the online channel. There is no doubt that your customers are empowered by…



Chronic Disease Battle Requires Better Tools

Benjamin Brewer, M.D. had some interesting observations this morning in the WSJ forum The Doctor’s Office. Managing chronic diseases between…


Fractionization of Design

Books took over 500 years to develop a universally understood interface. The first feature length movies were basically filmed stage…


Siren Interactive
  • Siren Interactive
  • Rare Disease Relationship Marketing Experts
  • 626 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 100
  • Chicago, IL 60661
  • 312.204.6700
  • 866.502.6714 (Toll Free)
  • www.sireninteractive.com