Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How do you market something which is free ?

HELP is a free consumer health library we have been running for over 10 years now. The website is at

While I am happy to fund the library ( which means we do not need any financial assistance), we do need help to increase awareness about the unique services HELP offers, so that more people will make use of our services. We do not have a marketing budget; and are having a difficult time marketing HELP.

Logically, one would expect this would be easy to do. We offer a unique service, which no one else offers; and because we help patients to talk to doctors and provide free Information Therapy, to empower patients to get the best medical care, one would expect people to be very happy to use our free services. We have no hidden agenda; are not looking for money; and are trying to improve the doctor patient relationship and to heal the sick Indian healthcare system by making sure patients are well - informed - all of which are laudable goals !

While the media does write occasional article about HELP, the fact still remains that we have not done a good job in marketing HELP, because not many people know about the services we offer.

Part of the problem is that because our services are free, they are not valued ! ( After all, if you get something for free, you don't think it's of any importance). I am quite certain that we do not want to charge for our services, because I believe patients need to have all the information they need and want, if they want to get the best medical care; and this is part of our mission.

We offer free online Ask the Librarian services as well, where we provide reliable authentic information to users by email, thus acting as infomediaries who are Information Therapy specialists.

I would like suggestions as to what we can do to market HELP ! We need help in marketing HELP !


  1. Have you considered doing health & wellness workshops at Corporates? You can tell them that this will help employee productivity and engagement.

    And this can help making the employees aware of HELP

  2. Anonymous12:32 AM

    dear Aniruddha,
    whenever I have searched for any Medical Problem,unfortunately your site has not come up in " search Result".We have sites from US,Mayo Clinic, webmed etc are always there.So best way to popularize your site is to get on these search Engines.---PK

  3. Hello Doc,
    Glad to have come across your blog, best wishes for your efforts.
    As member of the junta that uses net regularly, here is my .02$ worth:

    It seems counter intuitive that online resources would be valued less if avl for free.
    Wikipedia, Search Engines, personal blogs, amazon/ebay, and most other popular online content are avl free.
    May be free is the best way to go.

    Marketing and page ranking would help in getting more first time users.
    But,it probably takes something else to sustain hits and to develop a loyal fan base and increase popularity by word of mouth
    Wonder if you have given some thoughts to the design of your content.
    The layout, navigation across the links, use of videos/images, search bars etc.
    Might also be worth revisting what people would want and how they might use the site.

    Good luck.

  4. Dr Malpani:

    I found this through Atanu's blog. We met a couple of times when I used to work with Atanu and Rajesh in Netcore.

    Coming to you topic.

    I checked out your website. It's amazing. I did not realise that you had all this free content and books online for free.

    How did you even make this happen? Amazing stuff.

    You need to redesign you entire site. Get a new backend software like Drupal or something and get a company to get some SEO juice into the site.

    Get your blog popular too.

    If you are interested I am happy to work with you on this. I am no expert but can work with the right people to get the job done.



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