This ultimate guide to digital marketing for life sciences is a guest entry by Patrick Wareing, a freelance marketing consultant and life science content writer on Kolabtree.
Since graduating with a masters degree in chemistry almost a decade ago, I have spent time working as an analytical and formulation chemist, but most recently, have also spent time working in the digital marketing industry.
Different businesses have different goals, which is why it is important to help explain the benefits and drawbacks of certain aspects of digital marketing.
Importantly, many businesses that are looking for help on Kolabtree, do so because they value the input of freelancers that have real experience and expertise from scientific industries.
In this article, I am going to outline why digital marketing is something that life science companies need to consider, the benefits of this strategy and how they can go about getting started with expert freelancers on Kolabtree.
Table of Contents
Why Do Life Science Companies Need Digital Marketing?
Businesses in the life science industry are not really that different from almost any other industry.
Digital marketing has many benefits – outlined in the next section – for a business, but has become vital since the start of the pandemic. No longer can we rely on in-person meetings or networking to raise brand awareness or close business deals, instead we rely on digital marketing to do this for us.
One crucial aspect of digital marketing is content marketing. In fact, Hubspot estimates that 70% of marketers are investing in content marketing.
Creating written content for life science businesses is difficult without scientific expertise and knowledge. That’s why more businesses are looking for general life science content writers, or specialist biotech or medical writers for example.
However, life science digital marketing is more than just scientific content writing, yet there are many benefits that it can bring.
The Benefits of Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy
There are numerous benefits to having a digital marketing strategy, most of which will have significant positive impacts on your business.
Improving Brand Visibility & PR
Regardless of the different types of a content marketing strategy you implement, a successful digital marketing strategy should improve the online visibility of your brand.
This means a wider audience starts to become aware of brand name and what your business does, whether it be via social media, search engines, video or audio content.
Branding isn’t always about reaching a wider audience however. Branding helps to demonstrate trust with an audience, with 81% of consumers saying they need to trust a brand before buying from them.
Although they might not interact with your business, brand awareness has been shown to influence brand equity and consumer behaviour.
Increased Brand Loyalty
It is rare to find a life science business that doesn’t have any competitors that they have to consider when it comes to reaching an audience and sales prospects.
Improving brand visibility and awareness, as per my last point, can help keep your business front of mind to the audience(s) that matter when they need you most.
Even if these audiences don’t need you right now, being present and active online can be a subtle reminder that your business exists when they need you. Here’s a perfect example of a post from cyanide management platform – Cyanoguard:
And the importance of brand loyalty should not be underestimated. In fact, Bain & Company state that a 5% increase in customer retention correlates with a 25% increase in profit.
Lead generation is defined as the process of acquiring customer interest or an initial enquiry, from an inbound marketing approach.
For typical lead generation enquiries, a potential customer will seek out a solution to their initial problem, and request more information in exchange for some personal details.
One way for businesses to do this is by producing a ‘lead magnet’. A lead magnet is typically a resource, such as an ebook, whitepaper or other free downloadable asset, that users can access when they leave some further contact information – usually an email address.
Many businesses operate their digital marketing in the hope that every piece of content or marketing will result in lead generation. However, this isn’t necessarily the right approach to your digital marketing, but a focused strategy should consider the fact you need to generate leads for your business.
Using digital marketing to generate leads has the advantage of continuously working for you; allowing your content and online presence to passively generate leads every hour of the day!
Ultimately, the end goal of undertaking dedicated digital marketing is to generate revenue for your life science business and one step further to generating leads, is converting them into sales.
The reality is though, that not all leads end up as sales. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you make the most of these leads for the future. This can be possible via additional targeting, or adding to email follow up for example.
A great way to ensure that prospects and customers don’t get lost or left out, is to consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to do the hard work for you.
A CRM tool such as Hubspot or Dubsado allows you to keep track of your MQLs (marketing qualified lead) and SQLs (sales qualified lead), with the following benefits for your marketing campaigns:
CRM tools are great for autonomizing your everyday tasks of lead management. Whether that is setting up workflows or automating reporting, you will save time by properly utilizing a CRM.
CRM tools turn your leads and customers into a database that make it easy to filter through multiple entries at ease. With advanced targeting, you can set parameters that you know are more likely to result in paying customers and target them effectively.
It is likely that leads are generated through multiple channels, or via different services of interests. Rather than sending out one email campaign to any lead that has ever signed up, you can use tagging and segmentation to ensure that leads only get further communication based on the reason they signed up.
Taking segmentation one step further leads to personalization. A well managed CRM will tell you information regarding and past interactions, website URLs that have been visited and data regarding other interactions. Using this data to personalize communications and messaging can be powerful for generating sales, and even automated!
Compared to traditional advertising or offline marketing, digital marketing is a relatively low cost investment.
This is because many of the assets you create for a digital marketing campaign – such as blog content, emails campaign and social media posts – only require the cost of human hours to produce.
Because it is possible to re-use content across multiple channels and platforms, one well crafted piece of content can be used multiple times.
And even if you start to consider the price of software or tools to help with digital marketing, with so many options available on the market, it is likely that you can find tools at a price point that works for you! Check out some of the examples below:
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool from Google that allows you to track and measure the effectiveness of your organic search and SEO performance. Connect it to your website to find what keywords people are using to find your website, and the best performing URLs on your site.
Canva is a freemium online graphic design software tool. The tool is easy to use, and is versatile enough to let you create anything from company logos, to presentation slides, posters, or social media posts.
Buffer is a social media tool that allows you to plan and schedule posts for different social media platforms ahead of time. Not only is Buffer incredibly useful for planning for the future, it also gives you a range of analytics and a clear dashboard tool to help you determine what is and isn’t working.
Mailchimp is one of the leading email and automation platforms, with a suite of tools. Whilst Mailchimp initially started out as an email marketing platform, it now offers additional tools such as audience management and creative tools.
Easy to Measure Success
The wealth of tools available to digital marketing professionals make it incredibly easy to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns. Free website analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools allow you to track how many people visit your website and where they are coming from.
Regardless whether your business is calculating success in terms of engagements, website visits, leads, or cost-per-acquisition (CPA), proper implementation of these tools allow you track and monitor your best channels for you to double-down on in the future.
With the ability to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and the low cost of implementation, it is common to see high ROI for digital marketing activities.
However, it is not so simple to say that one marketing channel will have a better ROI than another. Instead, this will vary from business to business.
What is important is that you test multiple content strategies and figure out what works best for your business.
Examples of Different Content Marketing Strategies
Now that I’ve covered some of the benefits and advantages of digital marketing strategies, it is time to cover the different types of content marketing you can start utilizing.
There are many different types of digital marketing to consider as part of your overall strategy.
It is likely that you will want to use and implement multiple channels that are best suited to your brand’s goals and objectives. Digital marketing is also a flexible enough channel that you can quickly adapt your strategy to focus on what works best, and discard the strategies that don’t.
Below are some of the digital marketing channels that you should consider implementing.
When most people think of content marketing, they think of blog content. In fact, this article is an example of a blog in action.
Blog content is a popular method of content marketing, due to the versatility it offers in creating content for any audience.
Blogs are also a really good way of targeting keywords for SEO (more on that shortly) and creating content for a range of audience intents, i.e., informational, commercial or transactional.
Blogs are also considered by many to be text only, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Whether you are using video to be used within blogs, or as standalone content (vlogs), video content can engage users in a way that written text can’t.
It also gives you the possibility to share content on additional platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo for example, and has the flexibility to be shared on social media too!
Different social media channels come and go. But regardless of the success (or failure) of these channels, what remains is an audience that is looking to remain socially engaged.
Social media channels are perfect to utilise existing audiences to find and reach the audience you desire. It is also a perfect opportunity to engage in two-way communication with your audience, rather than continuously broadcasting to your audience.
Having a website should be considered the digital equivalent of a shop front. It allows you to demonstrate a brand persona and tell your visitors what you can do for them.
But having a website that looks good is no use without copy to inform, engage and persuade your audience.
As customers now spend more time connecting with life science businesses online than ever before, ensuring that you have well-written website content is critical for success.
Good website copy is not only good for users, but also for search engines, and can have a drastic impact on your SEO and how well your website ranks for keywords related to your business.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the process in which a website is optimised to improve the quantity and quality of traffic from search engines and is a form of inbound marketing. SEO is a popular strategy in digital marketing, as it focuses on generating ‘free’ traffic from search engines, opposed to paid advertising, where traffic is ‘purchased’.
Although there are many factors that influence SEO performance, one of the biggest factors that contribute to success is the content that is present across the website.
This means ensuring that website copy – previously mentioned – is well written and structured. Supplementing website copy with additional content such as blog posts (like this one) can help generate your target audience to your website.
There are many benefits to SEO, but one of the drawbacks is that high performance can take a long time to achieve.
One way to overcome this, is to use paid advertising, sometimes referred to as PPC, to help boost your campaigns.
With paid advertising, you can get your business seen on search engine results pages (SERPs), albeit with a fee. By optimizing your paid advertising so that your customer cost per acquisition (CPA) is less than their LTV (lifetime value), will ensure a positive ROI on paid advertising.
Webinars are a popular method of content marketing for businesses due to their versatility, whilst upholding a professional appearance. Although I’ve already mentioned videos, webinars are slightly different in that they are usually hosted by a member of your team, or filmed as a presentation.
Webinars are also perfect content types to use as lead generation and to convert into other content types, such as blog posts, social media snippets, or even podcasts.
Over the last few years, podcasts have seen a resurgence in popularity. Many users find podcasts as an ideal opportunity to consume content on the go, or whilst they are busy doing something else.
Podcasts are a great way of creating content by interviewing guests from your industry, customers or other advocates that may help increase the audience reach for your business.
Whitepapers are a popular marketing strategy for life sciences, especially for businesses that like to present content in a similar way to any scientific paper or publication.
They are also excellent lead generation tools; after all, how many times have you been asked to leave your email address to receive a pdf version of a whitepaper?
As a life science business, this gives you the opportunity to qualify new leads, and assign segmentation and targeting using a CRM tool, as mentioned earlier in this post.
With correct segmentation and targeting, it is then possible to create specific email campaigns and landing pages directly for this customer segment. Not only does this allow you to create campaigns that are incredibly focused on your ideal customer, it also allows you to understand which campaigns convert at the highest rate!
Use whitepapers to share high quality scientific information correctly AND generate leads at the same time.
Newsletters are a great way of keeping connected with past customers and new leads to ensure your brand is front of mind. It also allows you to be specific in the messaging you send to different audiences, making sure they receive content that is relevant and useful to them.
The versatility of newsletters means that you can send any content you want; informational, promotional or commercial, to meet your business needs.
What Expertise Can I Find on Kolabtree?
Whilst it is possible to find general marketers that can provide services for the above, using freelancers that have industry and specialist experience will ensure that you are marketing accurately and factually to your scientific audience.
Kolabtree has a range of freelance scientists available for hire across a wide range of subjects and skills.
Simply open a project, or invite Kolabtree’s experts to get started and complete your next scientific project.
Time to Get Started With Your Scientific Digital Marketing Strategy?
If you are considering venturing into digital marketing for your life science business, there is no better time to get started. Adapting to recent global changes in how business interacts with society is crucial to remaining competitive and relevant in the scientific community.
As outlined in the article, there are many advantages to having a digital marketing strategy, all of which can help benefit your business for the better.
However, there are lots of different components that make up a successful life science marketing strategy. Working out what channels work and don’t work is challenging, and requires proper planning and strategizing to correctly implement.
Utilizing experts that have proven marketing skills for life science businesses allow you to create a high quality strategy quickly, without the overheads and cost of a full time employee.
Once you can see for yourself how effective a life science digital marketing strategy can be, you will just wish you got started sooner!