What E-Commerce Teaches Us About Effective Patient Recruitment

An estimated 8 in 10 Americans shop online. E-commerce retailers sell just about anything you need—from groceries to houses. (No, seriously, you can buy a house here.) An increasing number of people from every age category are making online shopping their new normal because e-commerce companies understand that decision-making is a multi-step process. But we’re in the business of patient recruitment and not consumer advertising, right? What do Amazon and eBay have to do with clinical research and drug trial advancement?

Well, a lot, actually. If billion dollar companies have mastered the art of making the online experience as effective as possible, there are lessons to be learned for the patient recruitment industry:.

Prioritizing user experience

Many e-commerce companies put a high priority on the user experience of their online store. The simpler it is to browse, and the fewer clicks it takes to find what you’re looking for, the more likely someone will make a purchase—or in our case, fill out an online screening survey and take the first steps towards enrolling in a clinical trial. The rule in e-commerce is that customers should only have to make two clicks, one on an ad and the other on the add-to-cart button. In a recent study, this two-step sales process increased conversion by as much as 178.9%.

In addition, online retailers were very quick to adopt the “mobile-first” trend that has now become industry standard. Why? There are over 310 million smartphone users in America. That’s 92% of the country. (In fact, you might even be reading this article on your smartphone!) By ensuring that all steps in the recruitment process are optimized for smartphone devices, you’re creating patient-centric marketing, and that’s going to drive higher engagement.

Meeting patients where they are across the internet

Your patients are on the internet and they’re browsing several different channels all in the same visit—starting with a quick Google search, which leads them to a YouTube video they want to watch, which reminds them of someone they want to send a Facebook message to, which leads them to an Amazon ad for something they’ve been waiting to go on sale, before they settle in to read a CBS News article they bookmarked earlier that day. That’s roughly 30 minutes online, but in that time they’ve run the gamut across the internet.

E-commerce companies know that their target audience isn’t congregating in just one place and diversifying their marketing across several channels. Patient recruitment companies should be doing the same—reaching potential participants on social media, search engine marketing, pre-roll video ads, and more.

The Rule of 7 is well known in marketing, which says that someone needs to be exposed to your message at least seven times before they notice it or take action. Recruitment on several different channels increases the likelihood that participants will not only see your outreach, but engage with it.

Moving at the speed of life

Imagine ordering something online and not receiving a confirmation email immediately after. You’d think something went wrong and that your purchase didn’t go through. You’d be frustrated. You’d be refreshing your inbox every 30 seconds to make sure everything’s alright.

That’s how patients feel when our follow-up communication is inconsistent and infrequent. Recruitment providers should aim for zero surprises as the standard, and every step of the journey should prepare a patient for what’s coming next.

Communication should be on the patients’ terms, which usually means texting, emailing, and then calling—in that order. Adopting an omni-channel messaging approach ensures that patients are reachable no matter their preferred communication style.

1nHealth: Patient recruitment for a modern world

Patient recruitment is about finding the right patients for the right clinical trials. Some of our best practices come from taking note of how other companies are doing that well, even if they’re not in the patient recruitment space.

If you need help filling your clinical trial, take a look at our experiences and see how we can help. Click here to connect with us today.

1nHealth on LinkedIn

Check us out using the icon above or get in touch with our  VP of Business Development Steve Wimmer if you want to learn how 1nHealth can help save your deadlines.