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Big Brands Going Online: Growth Story of Aimil Pharmaceuticals

AIMIL has been extensively engaged in manufacturing and sale of Generic & Proprietary categories of Quality Ayurvedic Products of herbo-mineral origin. From a very modest beginning with a turnover of Rs.10 Millions in 1985, the company has made long strides in emerging as one of the leading companies in Ayurvedic (herbo-mineral) medicines and is registering a continuous growth.

Currently, a company with over 400 Cr of Annual Revenue in 2016, going online was something which can’t be missed and certainly not at this stage. With an online market Annual Revenue Potential of over 200Cr as projected by us in the year 2017, it was time to drive sales online in conjunction with the already thriving offline business.

While working as the Co-Founder for a Digital Marketing Agency, DigitalFry, we got Aimil Pharmaceutical’s digital mandate.

With over 27 Ayurvedic Products being manufactured, one of them being BGR34, an ayurvedic Medicine for diabetes, the company was highly sceptical of getting orders online since the age group that was to be targetted was 35-65 in particular and there was certainly a high correlation between diabetic patients and aversion to online shopping.

The online marketing started with the objective of taking one channel and focusing primarily on that and gradually expanding the reach of the campaigns as well as the channels. With a lot of social platforms at hand, we chose the most ubiquitous of all, “Facebook”. With a good part of our Target Audience residing on the platform, we were hopeful to get a good presence online but not this fast!

With the month-on-month growth of over 400% in the initial months, we never expected Facebook to be so generous. Part of the success story is also attributed to the offline brand presence which smoothened the online promotions.

Since no marketing is successful without a good product in hand, we laid down 2 short term objectives, one was to suggest effective medicines and the other was to deliver a seamless website experience for the website visitors. Since the website was based on Shopify so not much could be altered but with the help of a few e-commerce extensions, the website was easily navigational and effectively operational.

Running ADs

As easy as it was to find the affinities on facebook for diabetic patients, it was as difficult to run the ads as the ads were getting disapproved many times due to advertising policy violations or absence of an Online Pharmacy certification which disapproved our product feeds, ads and custom audiences. Since Aimil used to sell ayurvedic medicines online and the restrictions were primarily for very harmful drugs (especially allopathic medicines), we tried convincing the account managers for Facebook and Google to give us a green chit but after nagging for a long time, we set up proxy campaigns for dynamic remarketing to counter feed disapprovals and used more subtle versions of ads to get them approved with generic texts.

The next challenge was to customise the product pages to stimulate conversions and after research, we found a Shopify booster theme which made use of typical e-commerce tricks to stimulate conversions. A Few very evident changes to the website included a timer for sale, an upsell banner and notification banners to increase sales. After few days of minor changes to the theme, we rolled out this version of the website. Now after the next 2 weeks of the new version, the conversion rates surged.

Playing on Videos

Since BGR 34 was developed by CSIR (a government institution for medical research) we had a video of Mr Narendra Modi informing people of the benefits of the research done and the benefits of BGR 34. Since Mr Narendra Modi had a huge fan following it was bound to go viral and get good reach. To act as a cheery on the cake, we customised the ad text for regional languages to get more effective viewership. 

 

 

We successfully achieved ad relevancy of more than 8 in most cases and in product page remarketing campaigns, we even achieved a relevancy score of 10.

Within 1 month of successfully setting up campaigns, in the month of March 2017, we obtained a revenue of ~4Lacs from Online marketing with a ROI of ~3x.

Beyond BGR-34

Since BGR 34 already was very known to people, the real challenge was to increase the sales for other medicines as well. One such product was Lukoskin which was a medicine for Leucoderma or Vitiligo. Since Leucoderma was a skin disease and had a social stigma attached to it, we knew it will be very difficult to reach out to these people through conventional social media strategies. Upon further research, we found that these leucodermic patients being few in numbers had closed and concise groups which were very difficult to tap.

The primary focus of the campaign was to create awareness about leucoderma and to remove the associated misunderstandings on the disease and the patients. The campaign was launched and we saw a humungous increase in a number of queries on the Lukoskin page and people came up and had discussions about Leucoderma. Aimil Leucoderma Specialist Doctor, Dr Nitika Kohli was the chief evangelist for the campaign and was a part of a show on leucoderma.

 

 

We successfully achieved ad relevancy of more than 8 in most cases and in product page remarketing campaigns, we even achieved a relevancy score of 10.

Within 1 month of successfully setting up campaigns, in the month of March 2017, we obtained a revenue of ~4Lacs from Online marketing with a ROI of ~3x.

Beyond BGR-34

Since BGR 34 already was very known to people, the real challenge was to increase the sales for other medicines as well. One such product was Lukoskin which was a medicine for Leucoderma or Vitiligo. Since Leucoderma was a skin disease and had a social stigma attached to it, we knew it will be very difficult to reach out to these people through conventional social media strategies. Upon further research, we found that these leucodermic patients being few in numbers had closed and concise groups which were very difficult to tap.

The primary focus of the campaign was to create awareness about leucoderma and to remove the associated misunderstandings on the disease and the patients. The campaign was launched and we saw a humungous increase in a number of queries on the Lukoskin page and people came up and had discussions about Leucoderma. Aimil Leucoderma Specialist Doctor, Dr Nitika Kohli was the chief evangelist for the campaign and was a part of a show on leucoderma.

 

A series of similar videos were used to create awareness about the disease and to increase the footfall on the offline leucoderma camps organised by Aimil Pharmaceuticals.

Projections

Today Aimil Pharmaceuticals is an established brand in terms of online presence and market share in the pharmaceuticals industry. Selling medicines online allows the customers to directly chat with the specialist team at Aimil and buy the products easily, it also brings in a lot of operational and cost efficiencies for the company. Aimil Pharmaceuticals expects a sale of 1.25 Cr annual thus growing over 300% annually by the end of March 2018. This will translate into about 4% share of the ayurvedic medicines market in India. But the story does not just end in India, Aimil recently launched in Europe and Europe market size for ayurvedic medicines being manifolds as compared to India, we expect the growth story to continue for long.