Life science marketing often involves an abundance of technical information. This is often for good reason – scientists are inquisitive and want to know what they are potentially buying. What amazes me is how often, in the whirlwind of technical information, lists of benefits, and descriptions of products, life science marketers fail to use effective calls to action. Alarmingly frequently, life science marketing materials contain a complete lack of any call to action whatsoever. There have been brochures, product pages on company websites, and a host of other materials where I get to the end and think “so if I’m a customer, how do I go about buying this or making an inquiry?”.
There is no excuse to not have a strong call to action in your marketing materials, be them print, web, or other. Calls to action to not detract from the content of the message, they don’t have to be distracting, and they are incredibly easy to use. Simply think at what point(s) a potential customer would want to place an inquiry or make a purchase and provide them simple, straightforward directions for doing so. If you want them to call to make an inquiry, tell them to call in order to do so. If you’d like them to fill out an online form, provide a link or put the form in a sidebar, etc. If they can purchase online, put an “add to cart” button on your site or direct them to your e-commerce page.
When you get your marketing message in front of potential customers and you have their attention, you have successfully completed one of the most difficult tasks in life science marketing. Don’t waste that opportunity by failing to lead them to the next step in the sale or inquiry process. Continue the engagement by using calls to action which inform them how to continue to the next step in the purchase process and encourage them to do so.
Life scientists are busy people. Between bench work, meetings, writing, presentations, seminars, and everything else they may have to do in their day, their time is limited. As such, they appreciate (knowingly or not) situations where the purchasing of products that they need is easy, fast, and simple. While the ease of the purchasing process is usually not so important as to change the mind of someone who has decided on purchasing a given piece of lab equipment, antibody, reagent, or other bioscience product, it can easily sway the undecided buyer one way or the other. By identifying and lowering or removing the barriers to purchasing your laboratory products or services, you can sway those undecided minds in your life science company’s favor.
This is a bit of an oversimplification, but for brevity’s sake we can break down the sales process, from the eyes of the customer, into three steps:
- Finding your product / service
- Obtaining the desired information
- Acting on the desire to purchase
The first step is arguably the most important. It should go without saying that unless scientists can find your product, they are not going to buy it. Getting found is a multi-faceted issue that has no single solution, but rather many different potential solutions that can be used in combination based on your company’s situation. Having distributors list your products in catalogs, traditional marketing campaigns via print advertising in scientific journals, banner advertising on relevant websites, e-mail campaigns, search engine marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, word of mouth marketing, and utilizing in-house sales teams are all options with different benefits and drawbacks and a unique mix of any of these may be appropriate for your company and product (note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive). Identify how you can maximize your exposure in a cost-effective manner and implement those solutions so your life science products are easily found.
No matter how a customer finds your product or service, you always need to make sure you provide them with the desired information to get them interested in buying. As a general rule, more information is better so long as it is well-organized, relevant, and positive. Use this information to keep them engaged the entire time they browse it. Any time a researcher wants more information about your product but doesn’t find it is an opportunity for them to walk away or look for different products, so even if in formats not well suited to containing large amounts of information, the location of additional information should be given and this information should be as easily accessed as possible. A key component to this, since it will almost inevitably contain the most information about your products or services, is having a website with all the necessary product information laid out in an easily navigable way. (you can learn more about streamlining your website for additional sales here)
Lastly, the ability to act on the desire to purchase should be a fast, simple, and easy process (or at least as much is plausible given the nature of the product or service). For example, if your product does not require a quote-driven sales process, e-commerce allows your customers to order quickly and easily. Online forms for quote requests or demonstration requests are similarly low barriers to action. Where possible, free samples are a great way to get your products in front of the customer. If the customer needs to contact your company, let them do it in the manner that they prefer to, be it e-mail, phone, a simple contact form, etc. to ensure that they are comfortable establishing the necessary communication to further the sales process.
Scientists, lab managers, purchasers, and procurement agents all prefer simple and streamlined sales processes, and reducing the barriers to purchasing your bioscience product can be an easy way to increase your conversion. While the ease of the purchasing process is most often not important enough to the customer to change a purchasing decision altogether, it can easily sway the undecided buyer one way or the other. By streamlining your sales process, you can tilt those undecided buyers in your favor and increase your life science sales.
It’s the season where all retailers start to think about how to spike their sales as much as possible, and while there is a lot of marketing information and tactics which are generally inapplicable to companies selling products to the life science research market, there are certainly some things to be gleaned from the marketing fervor of the holidays as well. One that struck me was highlighted in an article posted today on the website of the E-Commerce Times. Before I say anything else PLEASE remember that this article is written with the target audience of retailers who are marketing to the average consumer making personal purchases – this is not who we are, not who we sell to, and a lot of the advise in there is not good for our purposes. What is good for our purposes, however, is the general idea of remarketing and how it can empower your marketing campaigns.
What is remarketing?
Remarketing is displaying targeted advertising messages to prospective customers who have already shown interest in whatever it is that you’re selling by viewing or responding to initial marketing efforts. For example, if you have a customer on your website who looks at product X, that indicates the customer is interested in X, so sending that particular individual a marketing message focused on product X would have a far higher conversion than either sending an unfocused marketing message to that customer or sending a marketing message to people who have not previously expressed interest in the product. A remarketing effort does not have to center on your website, however, but could be based around an e-mail campaign, online advertising, or even a well thought out print marketing campaign. In other words, remarketing is a fairly flexible tool that provides a far higher return on investment than traditional marketing, although it still requires that some form traditional marketing precede it.
Don’t just take my word for it, though – according to a study from comScore, remarketing yielded over 1046% more online searches for a product and 726% more website visitation within 4 weeks of exposure to remarketing, as compared to not utilizing remarketing. While they didn’t provide data on how the massively increased search and views figures relate to conversion, we can see from these figures that that the customer who has been remarketed to expresses far more interest in the product or brand than the customer which has not been remarketed to, and this increased level of interest is certain to lead to a dramatically improved conversion.
How are you utilizing remarketing? Is remarketing part of your marketing strategy? If not, how will you fit in this highly effective form of advertising?
One last thing while I have your attention – BioBM is offering 10% off all consulting and outsourcing contracts quoted before the end of 2010! Contact us now to take advantage of this one-time offer!
[one_half]Small or start-up businesses are rarely sitting on stockpiles of cash reserves. Quite the opposite, cash is usually a bit tight, so if you are running a small life science company you probably want to take every opportunity you can to improve your cash position. What you may not have thought of is leveraging the weak US dollar to generate short-term revenues and grow your cash-on-hand.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar’s value against a basket of nine other currencies, is down over 11 points from its 52-week high of 88.71 in June. Put simply, that means that if your goods are priced in US dollars, they will be a lot cheaper to customers and distributors in other countries who use currencies that have comparatively appreciated. For example, the dollar is down about 15% vs. from it’s highs against the euro and the Japanese yen, and is down about 10% from the highs against the Brazilian Real and the British pound. Your dollar-denominated products are now 15% cheaper to customers in the Eurozone than they were just four months ago! That’s a substantial discount, and one that you can flaunt to your customers and distributors in these areas and others whose currencies have similarly appreciated against the dollar.
How do you take advantage of this? Simple! Send marketing messages specifically targeting customers in a particular region and bring up the favorable exchange rate. Call your distributors and encourage them to buy now since restocking on your products is now cheaper. Don’t drag your feet, either, since the dollar may begin to re-appreciate in the near future. If you are in need of short-term revenues or an improved cash position, highlight your newly cheap products to your international customers and distributors now![/one_half]