How to adapt to this new industry?
The health sector is under the spotlight in China. With polution problems and multiple product scandals concerning their quality, Chinese take even more care of their health. Public hospitals are sparking off a controversy and private health sector is becoming more and more important due to foreign investments.
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To put all the chances on their side, Chinese decided to turn towards the Internet to search for information. The sector represents:
- One fifth of searches on Baidu
- 10% of discussions on social networks
- 80% of Internet users have already searched for health information
- A third use it to evaluate and choose their doctor
- 60% admit that it affected their decision on how to treat their disease
- 50% turn to a doctor for a second opinion after the research
- 30% decided to consult or not after this research
More and more people are therefore seeking for information on the Web to make their own diagnosis. This is a very important phenomenon because health is the second most discussed and consulted subject on the Internet. Nevertheless, it is recommended to be careful when you are seeking this kind of information on the Internet. Indeed, social networks, blogs and forums are teeming with comments and advice, but the vast majority is completely wrong. It is difficult to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong and the valuable content is flooded under a ton of websites that talk about the same subject.
The E-Patient or « Empowerment Patient »
Chinese consumers already use the Internet to shop, order food and even choosing his next holidays destination. Is it really different to continue to use this tool to treat and take care of his health?
The digital health sector is not yet regulated. So there are a lot of stakeholders and no large group or platforms have taken over the industry for the moment. The milieu is strongly influenced by blogs and forums, key opinion leaders (KOL), patient or professional associations and specialised press.
If before, hospitals and pharmaceutical groups had no reputation trouble thanks to their relationship with the press, their ambassador and regular visitors, times are changing. The new communication model that Internet offers allows consumers to make a decision based on the virtual community’s experience rather than based on their feelings or the influence of their environment.
information within anyone’s reach begins to worry professionals. Until now, capital and communication’s ressources where focused on medical check-up (more than 50% of the budget) and digital represented less than 1%. To adapt to this new trend, a reallocation has to be done.
Get establish into the e-health field
It is better to use an informative and not a commercial tone when you sell your services or medicine. It is a health promotion that you do so stay neutral and do not hesitate to bring your expertise to build your reputation. Your assistance can be transferred to e-patients through storytelling, educational serious games or on collaborative platforms. Today, consumers are looking for brand’s visibility and transparency. To build trust, you can build your own platform and allow interaction between doctors, pharmacists and patients. It is by conveying an image of quality that you will gradually convert these buyers.
But first you must ensure that your business, medicine and services are easily accessible by the Chinese virtual community. To do this, you must be present on Baidu which is the first Chinese search engine (80% of market share). However, this is not an easy task to be well ranked on this search engine and yet, it is essential.
Your website must be hosted in the country and written in Mandarin. Baidu standards and algorithm relatively differ from those of Google. To get used to its dissimilarities, you can use our services. We will help you build your site, add quality content but also help you in your SEO and SEM campaign. This will allow you to optimize your position on Baidu and get into the first pages of search according to your keywords, increase your visibility and target your customers.
Get publicity and articles in specialized press is also essential if you want to make a name for yourself in the community and around Chinese people. It has the gift to reassure Chinese and certify your services. Ads and online publicity are also a communication channel that should not be overlooked but which is far from sensational.
The place where we advise you to be present is on social networks. 92% of netizens are using this channel. Key Opinion Leader (KOL) are very active and they are particularly listened by Chinese. Weibo, wechat but also specialized forums are the favorite places of these accounts. You will see many users discuss and share their recent experiences in hospitals with doctors. Forums are also chosen when Chinese have a specific question concerning their symptom.
Create a health platform (as recommended above) is also a way to control directly informations and have some power of conviction. However, the real challenge will be to make this process a link between online and offline activities. This system will have to ensure the information flows and frame discussions. For this, the intervention of community managers seems inevitable.