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When is a New Website Worth the Cost for Life Sciences and Manufacturing Companies

By August 11, 2016Medical Marketing

We work with a lot of companies in the life sciences and manufacturing industries–medical manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, environmental consultants, steel manufacturers, machining equipment manufacturers, and the like. These are what a lot of people consider old world, boring industries. Some companies seem to project that image intentionally, with websites and collateral that look like they were conceived in the 1960s. The problem isn’t really with how these websites look. The problem is how these websites perform. They are not optimized for search and they are not optimized for mobile use. Both are big deals.

Old Web

Is this what your website looks like?

You need to optimize for search. Many resist updating their websites for search. “Our customers don’t shop online,” they say. I hate to say it, but they are wrong, at least partly wrong. Sure, someone looking to buy a million dollar laser to manufacture implantable medical devices doesn’t “click to buy” online. But study after study shows that nearly every consumer and business buyer researches products and companies online well before contacting a potential supplier.

Research also indicates that what buyers find online influences which suppliers they will eventually contact. According to Google, “We know that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process.” Websites that are not optimized for search will not be found.

Engagement Chart

Where do you engage customers in their search?

The second objection we get is about mobile. “Our customers don’t use their phones to shop.” The first problem with this objection is that most don’t know whether this is true because they don’t have any kind of analytics on their sites that could replace opinions with facts. There may well be lots of people accessing their site from mobile devices. The second problem with this objection is that mobile search is already bigger than desktop search and is growing faster. Back to the facts. Google found that “42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. Of those, there has been an impressive 91% growth in use over the past two years throughout the entire path (instead of just at the initial stages of research).”

Still not convinced? “B2B researchers are not just using mobile when they are out and about, but rather wherever they are. In fact, 49% of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work. They’re comparing prices, reading about products, comparing feature sets, and contacting retailers.”

People search online because they like it. The experience has been vastly improved by devices with better displays and faster processors, and because smart companies are designing websites to deliver a great mobile experience.

So is it worth the cost of upgrading a website that is not search-optimized or mobile-optimized? Absolutely. We worked with a medical device manufacturer to update an old site to a new one, optimized existing pages for search, installed a new mobile-friendly WordPress theme, placed calls to action and landing pages with forms for lead generation, and analytics to measure key performance indicators. The entire project took about three months and cost $36,000, including some fixed costs like WordPress themes and email tools to automate lead follow-up, qualification, and nurturing.

Three months later the company’s web traffic had nearly doubled and they were getting more than 200 leads per month delivered straight to their inside sales manager.

Visitor Chart

Traffic post website update

Lead Gen

Leads generated post website update

An architectural steel manufacturer updated their website to be search and mobile friendly at about the same cost and time frame. About a month after it launched, they were contacted by one of the world’s largest brands to design and build a parking structure at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. It was the biggest deal in the steel maker’s history. The deal was in the tens of millions of dollars.

Were these new websites worth the cost? Both would say, emphatically, yes. The reality is that no matter what industry or business you are in, people are looking for you, and they’re looking online. The numbers are clear–89 percent are researching B2B purchases online. Your competitors are likely working hard to engage people as they search. If you are not, you’re likely missing 89 percent of the opportunities that are out there.

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