Thought I’d share the benefit of my experience in the NHS/healthcare e-commerce & web 2.0 with the following quick & dirty guide to promoting your healthcare product using web 2.0 tools:
Say your product currently already has a product site which has tons of great information about the product. Without too much time/effort the information could be lifted for pages to sit on a new blog. Product information would included along with independent sources such as the Mayo Clinic to ensure all medical issues and good practice is covered to help establish the blog’s credibility.
The marketing aim of this customer-centric blog would be to engage customers into giving reviews of the product, a well-documented highly trusted source of product information for customers. Your existing product video on YouTube would be embedded on a blog post, with a link from the current YouTube comments section to the blog. The idea would be for the UK-centric blog to have a mixture of customer video testimonials, and expert content on the proper use of your product. The RSS feeds off this blog could then be syndicated to websites and blogs to help bring in traffic and raise page rank.
Key is the fact that customers can post questions and queries in the comments, and see them answered by a moderator. They would also be encourage to post their own testimonial videos, pending approval of course.
This blog would then include the clear opportunity to social bookmark pieces to Digg, Stumble, and Twitter from each post, which would help SMO for the site.
To track conversations use Twitter search engine and pick up the RSS feed, to keep an eye on relevant key word terms and collect these in your RSS aggregator. This would also collect Google blog/news/Technorati conversations. These would then feed blogs to target as appropriate for link swops/rss syndication/comments/forum discussion involvement. You might also establish a twitter account such as twitter.com/myproduct to also take part in discussions with customers too, and invite them to the blog and Facebook Group via this route.
More importantly there would be a clear banner link through to a Facebook Group branded as per the blog, which would also include much of the same content as the blog (you can use the api which allows blog post to be posted automatically into Facebook for example).
The Facebook Group would nicely serve as a parallel marketing arm, seeded with group members, who in turn on joining would auto-alert their friends to the group’s benefits. Initially this would involve a search for existing UK Facebook Groups currently focusing on your product, and an appeal to their members to join. The Facebook Group would also include a clear banner link back to the blog. Facebook works via linking through profiles to make network marketing success, blogs work through conversations. This neatly divides the two arms of the campaign, though obviously there is cross-over.
I would start looking to see what’s listed as links for your healthcare product on a key public site such as NHS Choices, and therefore likely to be gaining significant traffic. Clearly those sites with discussion forums are most useful.
As stated above very quickly other blog & sites would be identified for involvement in discussion.
Plus a PPC/online advertising strategy could be considered for Facebook and Google Adwords based on identified ‘hotspots’ for likely customers. To back this up there’s this remark from Headshift’s Cybersoc from the new media event in Dubai via Twitter: “The guy from Microsoft advertising seems to be recommending advertising on Facebook. Odd. Probably true though.” On the other side of the debate check this out, though it does say Facebook CPM is cheaper than Google, there’s a reason for that: essentially that Google users are on a specific search page for a search-related reason, whereas for Facebook the prime reason is visiting a friend:
“Facebook impressions run 13 to 16 cents CPM. For comparison, our clients in aggregate pay $10 eCPM on Google, and $6 eCPM on Yahoo. The fact FB can’t command higher CPMs speaks volumes to how advertisers value those impressions.” Also see Bryant Urstadt’s Tech Review piece (Social Networking Is Not a Business*) from which this insight is taken from on the challenge of turning a profit from social network sites.
In the longer term would look to contact patients support societies to ensure factual info on your product plus web links are included in their ‘patient pack’.