If you have a website, it goes without saying that you want people to come and visit it.
Whether you are running your own science blog or responsible for running a business website, you want visitors who are interested with your content and will stay around long enough to read and engage with it.
If you are a managing a life science business website, the ultimate goal is for visitors to come to your website, engage with your content and end up paying for products or services.
This is known as inbound marketing.
In this blog post, I am going to discuss the four main stages of an inbound scientific marketing strategy that will give you the information needed to go ahead and consider this for your own business.
Life Science Inbound Marketing: The 4 Stages
Although this post will talk about inbound marketing as a four stage strategy, it can easily be adapted to your own business needs.
The concept is simple; let potential customers find your content for themselves, engage with it, leave their contact details for additional content and eventually convince them to purchase from you.
This is shown clearly in the below diagram:
Now you can see how this simple process works, let me go into detail:
The first step of any successful inbound marketing is allowing visitors to find your content.
With an outbound marketing strategy, such as adverts or cold calling, you approach your potential customers first. However, with an inbound marketing strategy, you wait for potential customers – aka scientists – to find you.
Remember, scientists are researchers. They like to find information for themselves
Scientists won’t just suddenly come and find you, you need to provide valuable content in the right places. One of the successful strategies that you can use to do this, is content marketing.
By producing high quality information such as blog posts, webinars, whitepapers, etc, you are likely to produce content that is useful to scientists. Content creation in conjunction with knowledge of life science SEO will considerably increase your chances of being found online.
Don’t just wait for visitors to come through search engines however; if you have social media accounts, make sure to share content on your own account as well as public and private groups or pages.
Once you’ve convinced people to visit your website, you need to convert them.
Visitors will only arrive – and stay – if the content you’ve written to attract them is good enough.
But once you’ve got interested visitors, you want to ask them if they would like to receive more or additional content to what they have already consumed.
This can be something simple as requesting contact information to sign up for an email newsletter, download a whitepaper or access a demo or trial of a service you provide.
There are many ways you can proposition a request for contact details; include a simple ‘sign-up’ banner, use a popup, insert a contact form, use a CTA (call to action) or even through an automated chat bot!
However you do it, it is important that you are not too zealous in your request for private contact information. Ensure that it is clear what you are offering in return for contact details, how you will protect their data and whether any third party companies also have access to the information.
Once you gained scientists trust enough that they are willing to give you their information, you need to continue providing useful content.
This doesn’t mean bombarding them with every resource you have, or sending sales pitches, but nurturing your new lead so that you can continue to build trust and expertise.
If you have requested an email address, ensure that they get emails with new content on a regular basis.
But don’t just send them any old content, try and send content similar to what they engaged with prior to signing up.
This might be simple if you have a fairly small website with only a few products or services. But if you offer lots of different products or services, this will make it a bit more complicated.
Using a CRM (customer relationship management) will not only help with automating your outreach to your new leads, but track interactions and allow you to provide a customised engagement approach. After all, you are wanting to build a positive relationship so results in income to your business!
If you’ve got to this step in your science inbound marketing strategy, you will have created content for scientists to find you, engaged with them further and now converted them to a paying customer.
But, just because you’ve made the sale, doesn’t mean the marketing strategy is over.
Arguably, these customers are your most important; with continued marketing they should continue to buy. By remaining in constant contact with your customers, providing support and additional resources – related to the products or services they have purchased previously.
But you shouldn’t just continue to sell and sell to these existing customers, but use them as a valuable resource. Ask if they are willing to spend some of their time completing a post-purchase survey or quick questionnaire. See what they liked, what they think needing improving and let this information shape your marketing strategy going forward.
If you continue to treat your customers as VIPs, rather than any other scientist in your marketing funnel, they are much more likely to act as brand advocates. The word of mouth, or peer-to-peer marketing that existing customers can do for your brand is more than anything you can pay for.
This doesn’t have to be difficult; continue to stay in touch with your customers without being too pushy for another sale. Ensure that they get preferential treatment and first choice. For example, offer them vouchers or money off, give them something free, whatever you do, make sure it is worthwhile!
Inbound marketing is a long term strategy that allows for a generally passive marketing strategy. However, just because you set it up, doesn’t mean you can leave it forever. Marketing strategies and consumer intent continually change, so an inbound marketing strategy should be adapted to meet these changes.
Remember that scientists like to do their own research. Help them out by letting them do their own research, but ensuring you provide them with the best quality resources they want and are looking for – don’t make them feel like they are being directly sold to!
To be successful with marketing to scientists, you need to identify who your potential customers are and produce relevant content to match. Once you can convince scientists to hand over their details, ensure that they are continually exposed to your marketing, providing value rather than sales pitches!
Too many brands will receive a consumer’s details and spam them with, generic or irrelevant marketing. Adding no value to the customer and in stead making them less likely to interact with your brand!
Finally, remember that inbound marketing is part of a wider digital marketing strategy. You are likely to receive a good percentage of visitors from inbound marketing, but you should not rely on this channel alone.