I was talking to a senior executive at a medical device manufacturing company recently, and he was lamenting the fact that the leaders of his company have not engaged in any digital marketing to promote its services. “They think it doesn’t apply to our industry,” he said.
I hear that a lot. If you visit websites of companies in the life sciences industries, you’ll see the evidence right away. Old websites that are difficult to navigate, lack any way to contact the company, are unresponsive to mobile device displays, have news or blog postings that haven’t been updated in months or years–these are the signs that the company’s leadership and/or its marketing leadership are not investing in digital channels.
It’s too bad because they are losing traffic, leads, and sales to the competitors that are investing in digital marketing.
If you think that online search is limited to B2C consumer shopping, you’re wrong. Let’s look at the numbers. “We know that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process,” says a report by Google. “Research shows that those involved in the B2B buying process are already 57% of the way down the path to a decision before they’ll actually perform an action on your site.”
This echoes the numbers for all search. People research online about products and services long before they attempt to contact a supplier. If they aren’t finding you, you won’t make the short list of companies to contact. “On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site.”
What does this mean? It means that smart companies are publishing educational content that engages people as they research possible solutions to their business problems. They are looking for help and once they have a good idea of what options are available to them, they will contact specific companies. Will yours be one of them? Google’s recommendation: “Identify where you can be part of the conversation early on and throughout their searching.”
What should you do? The best place to start is with what you already have: your existing content. Make sure your web pages are optimized for the search terms people use in your industry. This is the first step in getting found online. The basics of digital marketing start with content: Optimizing web pages, creating offers that allow people to indicate what they are interested in learning more about (white papers, case studies), building a contact database that allows you to track how people are interacting with your company online, and to qualify leads. If you haven’t updated your website in years, update it to a mobile-friendly platform. Google downgrades sites that are not mobile-optimized.
Life sciences companies are subject to the same market dynamics as every other industry. Certainly, there are different channels, and different priorities, and different restrictions (especially with regard to regulations). According to Exl Events, a company that runs marketing conferences for life sciences companies, “Content marketing is one of the most effective tools life science professionals have in their arsenal.”
The fact is that digital marketing works exceptionally well in life sciences industries. Why? Because it rewards quality and authenticity, two characteristics commonly found in these businesses. People are looking for helpful information, not salesy promotion. This is the kind of content life science professional excel at producing. It’s also less competitive than other industries, as the searches for something like “implantable medical device manufacturing” are very few, relatively speaking, and the people engaging in this type of search are likely not doing so just for kicks and are valuable contacts.
The point is to get started if you haven’t yet, because every day that you don’t engage in digital marketing, you are likely falling further behind those that have. You don’t have to do it all at once, and it can actually be quite easy to get started.
To learn more check out our case study, “Inbound Marketing Helps Biotech Company Grow.”