March 13, 2023

Unlocking the Power of Clinical Trial Recruitment: 6 Key Considerations for Building Effective Trial Websites


Unlocking the Power of Clinical Trial Recruitment: 6 Key Considerations for Building Effective Trial Websites

Clinical trials have become an essential component of drug development, but the success of a trial hinges on a pharmaceutical company’s ability to recruit the right volunteers.

How can you make people aware that clinical trials are going on in their areas? How can you make sure qualified individuals have the information they need to become actual volunteers, or clinical trial participants?

For that, pharmaceutical companies rely on clinical trial websites.

A clinical trial website is a dedicated online platform designed to provide information about a particular trial and to recruit participants who meet the eligibility criteria. These websites typically include information about the trial’s purpose, methodology, eligibility criteria, and the benefits and risks of participating. They may also include details about the trial’s location, timeline, and compensation for participants.

Clinical trial websites are a key component of recruitment for many trials, since they allow researchers to reach a wider audience of potential participants than traditional recruitment methods, like printed ads or flyers. By using search engine optimization and other advanced digital marketing techniques, pharmaceutical marketing agencies can design clinical trial websites that attract individuals who are actively seeking information about a medical condition and may be interested in participating in a specific trial.

Clinical trial websites can also streamline the recruitment process by allowing individuals to submit their contact information and answer basic eligibility questions online. Pre-screening potential participants helps pharmaceutical companies reduce the time and resources needed for recruitment.

With so many clinical trial websites competing for attention and the battle for top search engine placement growing fierce, how can pharmaceutical brands ensure their trial sites stand out and attract the right volunteers?

Overcoming Challenges in Trial Recruitment

Clinical trials are an indispensable aspect of the pharmaceutical industry that allows companies to test new drugs and treatments for various medical conditions. However, conducting clinical trials is a complex process that demands significant resources, including time, money, and expertise.

One crucial element of conducting clinical trials is participant recruitment, which can be challenging as it involves finding individuals who meet specific eligibility criteria and are willing to participate in a study. In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have increasingly turned to standalone websites and landing pages to recruit participants for clinical trials.

According to a survey conducted by Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, patient recruitment and retention are the biggest challenges in clinical trials, with 37% of clinical trials failing to meet their enrollment targets. The same survey found that the use of online platforms, including social media and patient communities, has become increasingly popular for recruiting clinical trial participants, with 90% of study sponsors and CROs (Contract Research Organizations) using online methods for patient recruitment.

Building a website for a clinical trial is an essential task for any pharmaceutical marketer — but it’s not always simple or straightforward, and there are several things pharmaceutical companies must consider when developing these types of sites.

Here are six key factors to keep in mind when building a website for a clinical trial:

Compliance with Regulations

Pharmaceutical companies must adhere to various regulations when conducting clinical trials, including those related to participant recruitment. Websites used for clinical trial recruitment must comply with all relevant regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which regulates the handling of protected health information. This includes any information that can be used to identify an individual, such as their name, address, date of birth, and medical history.

Additionally, clinical trial websites must be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if a drug manufacturer is recruiting participants in the European Union. The GDPR regulates the handling of personal data and requires companies to obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting and processing their data. Websites used for clinical trial recruitment must clearly explain the purposes for which data is being collected and processed and provide individuals with the option to opt-out of data collection and processing.

Pharmaceutical companies must ensure that their websites are compliant with HIPAA and GDPR regulations, as well as adhere to ethical principles related to participant recruitment and informed consent. Failure to comply with any of these regulations or ethical guidelines may result in significant legal and financial consequences, as well as damage to the pharmaceutical company’s reputation.

User Experience

Clinical trials are really about patients, and websites used to recruit trial participants should reflect this. A website’s design and content should speak directly to the participant, addressing their needs and concerns in a human way.

When building a website for clinical trial recruitment, it’s crucial to consider the overall user experience. Websites must be user-friendly, accessible, and easy to navigate. Whenever possible, they should be written in a way that includes patient-friendly language and avoids technical jargon that might be confusing or intimidating.Participants should be able to find the information they need quickly and easily. Websites should also be optimized for mobile devices, since many people today access the internet on their smartphones and tablets.

Generally speaking, people respond more positively to visuals than to text alone, so it’s important to incorporate images, videos, and other multimedia into any design on a clinical trial website. These visual aspects can help to convey complex information in a more engaging and accessible way, making it easier for participants to understand what a trial involves.

Clear and Accurate Information

Any clinical trial website must provide clear and accurate information about the trial, including eligibility criteria, study objectives, procedures, and potential risks and benefits. This information should be presented in plain language that is easy to understand.

Participating in a clinical trial can be a daunting prospect. Providing detailed information about the trial helps participants make informed decisions about whether to participate.

Pharmaceutical companies should also consider offering online support groups or forums where participants can connect with others in the trial, along with online resources like FAQs and glossaries to help potential participants understand any unfamiliar terminology.


A clinical trial website should have clear calls-to-action that encourage potential participants to take the next steps, such as filling out a screening form or contacting the study team. Calls-to-action should be prominent, easy to find, and should clearly indicate the next step.


It’s important to ensure that any clinical trial website is accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Websites published by pharmaceutical companies must be accessible to all potential volunteers. This means providing alternative text for images and videos and ensuring that websites can be navigated using assistive technologies such as screen readers.

By making websites that are accessible to everyone, pharma brands can ensure that all participants are able to fully engage with the trial and its requirements.

Tracking and Analysis

Pharmaceutical companies should track and analyze website activity to gain insights into the effectiveness of their recruitment efforts. This data can then be used to optimize a website and improve recruitment efforts over time.

Metrics such as website traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of a website and the overall recruitment strategy.

We know that building standalone websites for clinical trials is essential for recruitment, but we also know that developing a website from scratch is a challenging process. Pharmaceutical companies must consider compliance with regulations, user experience, clear and accurate information, calls-to-action, accessibility, and even tracking and analysis when developing these websites.

Digital agencies like EsperienzaRx specialize in working with pharmaceutical companies to create brand assets and develop engaging online strategies that connect drug manufacturers with trial participants, patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers. To learn more about the services that EsperienzaRx provides, click here.

As a full-service digital marketing agency, EsperienzaRx knows the importance all the pieces of a brand’s digital ecosystem working together