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Tag : content marketing

Organize Your Content

Image credit: http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/display/18872702So you have a really good content marketing program up and running. You and / or your team are routinely publishing high-value content for your target scientists – blog posts, white papers, webinars, and maybe even podcasts and other forms. Your content is getting a lot of views out of the gate, and it’s helping to generate leads for your organization. Sounds great, right?

The problem is, for most organizations, the value that any particular piece of content provides diminishes rapidly over time. Content is most often organized chronologically, and even for the content that isn’t, pieces of content have a habit of fading from view over time for one reason or another. This is true even for content that doesn’t become outdated. Blog posts get buried in archives. Webinar recordings get taken down with site updates and never reused. Etc. Much of the long-term value and potential of this content is being lost. So what can we do about it?

The answer is simple: Get organized. Instead of the traditional content repositories where content goes to die, create repositories that act as genuine resources for your customers. In building a repository, not only will you continue to derive value from your content over a much longer time frame, but you’ll also provide more value to customers by enabling them to find more content which provides the information or experience they’re seeking.

Creating a Valuable Content Repository

When creating a content repository, start with taking an inventory of your content. Secondly, organize that content into topics, ensuing that the topics are customer-centric and not solely company-centric or product/service-centric. These first two steps are relatively simple. The last is far more complex: create a well-designed repository for your content. What does a repository need to be “well-designed?” It needs to:

  • Have intuitive navigation. If people can’t find what they’re looking for, the repository is useless.
  • Focus on a central theme. If, for instance, you have two business units that are fairly disparate, it may make sense to have two content repositories rather than one.
  • Encourage exploration. You know you have a good repository if users are organically immersing themselves in it to find multiple pieces of content which interest them.
  • Bring together disparate forms of content around similar topics. If a customer is interested in single-cell RNA-seq and you have a video, two blog posts, and a white paper about it, that customer should be able to find all of those pieces of content as easily as finding any one of them.


So much good content fails to meet its potential due to the simple fact that it effectively disappears over time. You spent valuable time, effort, and money creating great content, so organize your content to ensure that it can continue to provide value, to both your company and your customers, over a long time horizon. In doing so, you may just be creating a genuine resource for your customers as well.

"Effective content marketing requires a serious effort. Ensure that effort is one that your customers will reward you for. To create content – and content strategies – which will drive customers to you and provide superior value for your company, contact BioBM."

SEO Isn’t Dead, It’s Just Changed

SEO is still important in the life sciencesIt’s no secret that the SEO world has changed. Ever since Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm changes, and the subsequent updates to them, prior best practices fell apart. There’s no doubt about that. Things that were once highly effective tools of SEO, like link wheels, are no longer relevant. Because of the ever-decreasing ways in which a marketer can manipulate search engine ranks, there has been an increasing chorus of people proclaiming the “death” of SEO.

Some Self-Serving Claims

It’s been a long-running trend to proclaim the death of SEO. Here’s a nice little article from 2007 which lists other, older articles proclaiming the death of SEO. The claim that SEO is dead is not a new one.

These claims tend to come from two kinds of people: SEO-ers who’ve jumped ship and are trying to get people to follow them, or from people who work on elements of marketing that could be considered strategic alternatives to SEO. Once upon a time, a lot of these voices were from people doing search advertising. Now they’re mostly from content marketers.

Is content marketing important for SEO? Sure it is. Is it more important for SEO than it used to be? In most cases, yes. Is it a replacement for SEO? Not a chance.

The New Age of SEO

Let’s be clear on something: SEO is not dead. SEO will quite possibly never be dead so long as search engines as we know them remain widely used tools.

SEO has been an ever-changing field since the beginning. Remember “keyword jamming”? Remember those websites that were padded with “invisible” text at the bottom of the pages back in the 90s? Remember the link farms of the 2000s? … The most effective tactics have always changed as Google and other search engines have evolved, and I would be very surprised if that fact doesn’t remain true for a long time to come. The only thing about SEO that is infallibly true is the value of those highly coveted top organic search ranks.

The job of the SEOer has not changed. The SEOer is not suddenly a content marketer. The SEOer’s toolbox, however, has changed.

Many technical factors surrounding SEO are still important. Site performance is still very important and something that can be directly controlled. Clickthrough is still very important and is something which is readily influenced. Ensure that any page that you would want to use as a landing page has the appropriate metadata such that your site’s appearance in search results attracts searchers. Making use of Google Authorship and tagging content accordingly can have a profound effect, especially for companies which generate a lot of high-quality content. Additionally, SEOers need to ensure the website’s entry points should be controlled.

Keyword research is still important. The results of this keyword research are then fed to content development teams to help guide the content focus towards things that people are looking for. SEOers then need to ensure that the content is appropriately optimized, or that the content development teams know enough about SEO to create well-optimized content themselves.

Content marketing is very important for most organizations, but it’s still just one piece of SEO. Having an SEO strategy which focuses solely on content will put you at a strategic disadvantage versus those companies with a more holistic approach.

"Looking to improve your inbound marketing? BioBM’s marketing team doesn’t evangelize any aspect of marketing; we take a holistic approach to identify and execute on the areas of greatest potential impact for your life science organization. Want to learn more? Contact us today."

Content is for Your Customers

Your content isn't for you - it's for your customers.One of the biggest pitfalls of content creation – and by far the biggest content mistake by amateur life science marketers – is forgetting that your content isn’t just directed AT your target audience, but is FOR your target audience. Many content creators focus too heavily on what they want their customers to hear rather than sincerely addressing customers’ needs through content and, in doing so, providing customer value.

To illustrate the point, here are some types of content which I frequently see and which have the wrong focus:

  • Generic event-promoting blog posts (“We’ll be at the XYZ meeting in booth 2000!”)
  • “White papers” which don’t do anything but restate the value claims for a product or service.
  • Frequent social media posts about ongoing promotions.
  • Blog posts which are little more than product overviews.
  • Posting just about any overt promotional message to a LinkedIn group.


All of the above are company-centric or product-centric promotions. They do not properly address the customers’ needs. Even if a prospect has a potential but unrealized need for the product, these kinds of “content spam” will simply drive them away by trying to create an opportunity to purchase when most of your audience is likely not actively in a relevant buying journey. It’s the wrong message at the wrong time, and they’ll filter it out along with the mountains of other promotional content which they get bombarded with.

Instead of company-centric and product-centric messages, use your content channels to provide value-added, customer-centric content. Creating valuable customer-centric content, as well as matching each piece of content to the appropriate channels, requires three things:

  • Understanding what information your customers are looking for.
  • Understanding your customers’ preferences for consuming content.
  • Ensuring that your content distribution is properly targeted such that any given piece of content is provided to the most relevant audiences


To do these things effectively, you need to remove your own mindset from the equation. You need to stop thinking about your customers and start thinking like your customers. If you can effectively do that when you’re planning content, you’ll end up with content which is more valuable to your customers.

"Most life science companies are creating content, but in a world where more and more content is being generated, is your content valuable enough to rise above the clutter and get your audience’s attention? If you’re looking to improve the value of your content marketing efforts, turn to BioBM. Whether you need help defining content strategies or need someone to put words to paper, we can create high-quality content that earns you the respect – and the business – of your customers. Contact us today."

Content First, SEO Second

Put a premium on the quality of your content, and don't churn out low-value content for SEO.By now, any decent SEO-er knows that the old way of performing SEO – basically, manipulating ranks through inorganic backlinks – is worthless. Google caught on and killed it. As of Panda 4.0, there are extremely limited ways in which someone can fool the rankings system, and doing so will only hurt you in the long run. That being the case, more SEO experts are turning to content development to improve SEO. In a sense, this is good – content development is a legitimate way of trying to improve rankings. However, as SEO-ers start to think about content, we need to remember that the content itself needs to be prioritized above SEO at all times. In other words, life science marketers cannot let the quality of their content slip due to the desire to focus on SEO.

Remember that the purpose of using content for SEO is to have your content seen by your target audience. Your audience, when consuming that content, is going to judge you by its quality. If you’re churning out low-quality content for SEO purposes you may get a lot of eyeballs, but you’re going to be turning off your audience due to the low value of the content which they’re landing on. This can be especially damaging if the audience doesn’t have prior experience with your company. Instead of trying to develop content strictly for SEO, take the high-quality content that’s being developed as part of your content marketing strategy and optimize it!

There are a number of things that you can do to improve the SEO of your high-quality content. For example:

  • Think about how your audience would ask questions related to the topic at hand. Is there any particular phrasing that they would use? If so, try to incorporate that phrasing into your content to improve the match for relevant “long-tail” search terms.
  • Make appropriate use of heading tags.
  • Ensure your page titles and URLs are optimized and relevant. Some content management systems default to generic nomenclature for URLs and titles, using things like an arbitrary numbering system or the date instead of a rich description. Ensure your settings use the title of your content (or at least part of it) in the page title and URL.
  • Improve the clickthrough rate of digital content by using a descriptive meta description tag
  • Improve the CTR of your digital content even more by using Google Authorship and ensuring you have a good headshot in your linked Google+ account. This can have a huge impact – I’ve seen various case studies claiming that pages with authorship attribution and a headshot displayed in the search results see between 20% and 150% increases in clickthrough. Eye-tracking data is just as compelling: searchers will pay more attention to author-attributed pages than higher-ranking videos with larger images.


If necessity dictates that you need to create content strictly for SEO purposes, especially if it would fall outside the bounds of your content strategy, ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you don’t churn out junk content:

  • Does our target audience have a need to know about this topic?
  • Can we create content which would genuinely fill that knowledge gap?
  • Would our target audience expect us to provide this type of content? If not, would they find it odd that we are? … I think of this as the realtor / lawnmower conundrum. Your realtor, knowing that you just bought a house, would be in a great position to sell you a lawnmower. They even know what kind of lawn you have. However, you would likely be put off if your realtor tried to sell you a lawnmower.


While the tools at one’s disposal to positively affect search engine ranks are more limited than they used to be, SEO is still important. As SEO tactics take a more content-centric approach, it’s important you don’t churn out low-value content. Your content strategy should be focused on the content. Working SEO into your content strategy will have a far more positive long-term effect than trying to take to shape content around an SEO strategy.

"In their quest to determine who to give their business to, your customers are judging you every step of the way. Providing value to them through great content is a critical way to earn their trust and respect, giving your life science company an edge on the competition. If you are looking for superior content strategies which will create competitive advantage for your company, contact BioBM. We’ll ensure your company is providing value to your customers which pays you back in increased business. And we’ll make sure it gets seen while we’re at it."

Maximizing the Value of Content

Creating quality marketing content takes a lot of effort, so ensure you're deriving as much value from it as possible.Creating quality content takes a good deal of effort. When marketers endeavor to create marketing content, it is generally created for a particular purpose. That’s usually out of necessity – marketers identify a need for content then design the content to fill that specific need. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, to increase the returns on your hard work creating it, marketers should try to maximize the value derived from any piece of quality content. There are a number of ways to extract more value from your content, and here are a few ideas:

Think about different ways your audience might want to consume content. Just because you packaged a great idea into a compelling article or paper, for instance, doesn’t mean that everyone wants to read it. Perhaps you could package it into a short, instructional video. (Videos are more frequently engaged with than documents anyway.) Perhaps you could host a webinar when you’ll discuss the idea but also allow for Q&A with the audience. Or, if your paper is fairly long, perhaps you could cover some of the same content across a number of blog posts. By repackaging content, not only are you creating more opportunities for your audience to be presented with the underlying idea, but you’re accommodating more of your target audience’s preferred content consumption methods as well.

Don’t publicize it only once. Pushing your content more than once is perfectly okay, especially if you can safely assume that a large portion of the audience is not seeing any particular post and / or the method of promotion is non-intrusive. With social media, for instance, and especially with Twitter, most people only see a small percentage of what gets posted. If you post the same content a few times, chances are that few people will actually see the post more than once. In interruptive formats such as email, you can get more mileage from your content by using it in different ways. For instance, you might promote a piece of content in a newsletter, but also send it out as a follow-up in a drip campaign to leads who have shown interest in the topic. Or perhaps a topic that was a headline in one newsletter would be a footnote in a later newsletter on a similar topic.

Consider using media publishers to reach a larger audience. Publishers understand the value of content, and many welcome contributions to their publications. If you have content that would be relevant to certain publications, and those publishers have an audience which would be relevant for your company, then reach out to those publishers. Contact the editor and see if they would print your content. Many times they will, since this is a win-win scenario. They get free content and you get free publicity. Just note one thing: if you have already published your content elsewhere (for instance, in a white paper or your blog) then be sure to tell the editor that. Some publishers won’t accept content which has been published elsewhere, and failing to disclose that can ruin your relationship (or worse).

If you’re generating quality marketing content, you’re almost guaranteed to be putting lot of effort into it. See that your efforts are better-rewarded by getting more value from the every piece of quality content that you create.

"Looking to improve your content marketing practices? Contact BioBM. Our expert life science marketers will help you create high quality content and maximize its life span to deliver more brand value and more demand for your company."

Content Is Not Enough

Photograph by Michael Nichols for National GeographicVery few things are immune to the law of diminishing returns. Content marketing is certainly not one of them. As content marketing has surged in the life sciences over the past few years, we’ve seen a very predictable trend: it’s become less effective. Customers are swarmed with efforts to grab their attention with low-value, shallow content. Given their inherently limited time, they can only be the “customer” of so much content. As with anything, if you have increasing demands for a limited resource (in this case, the customers’ attention) the cost goes up.

That’s exactly what we see happening with content marketing. The cost of getting your target market’s attention is increasing. It requires richer, denser, higher-value content. As the cost of scientists’ attention continues to increase, we are coming to a point where content, as it is traditionally defined, is no longer enough.

Content itself is not enough. Even relatively high-value content.

As the ever-growing tidal wave of content amasses and the demand for scientists’ attention increases, companies must begin to look for new, unique ways of creating value. After all, the purpose of content is not simply to be read, but to demonstrate or provide value in a manner which is untethered to the actual usage of a product or service (we call this “product-unrelated value“). Companies must move from delivering solely content to creating and delivering resources.

So what’s the difference between content and resources? Theoretically, content can certainly be viewed as a resource and in many cases resources may take the form of content in one way or another. They are both broad terms and they do overlap, so it’s important to distinguish between the concepts. The key difference is that content can address any question. Resources specifically ask: what are the needs of our target audience and how can we address them in a way that creates value for our brand? In doing so, they circumvent the problem of limited attention by addressing customer needs that would need to be dealt with anyway.

One of our favorite examples is the numerous protocols found in the New England Biolabs catalog. We’ve heard this valuable, long-standing resource referred to as the “molecular biology bible” and it has led to a steady stream of requests for their catalog for many years. This would be an example of a resource in the form of content, but there could be many resources which are not content. For example, digital tools can be resources. Andrew Alliance, a manufacturer of an automated pipetting robot, provides free software which easily creates pipetting protocols which can be readily edited, saved, shared, and viewed in order to help reduce errors in both protocol design and actual pipetting. This provides product-unrelated value (it doesn’t require any purchase or use of an Andrew robot) in a way that is still relevant to them (pipetting / liquid handling). There are certainly other examples as well, but not all that many. Life science companies have, as a whole, not yet become creative with regards to the resources that they provide to scientists.

As more companies become content developers and more content competes for scientists’ limited time and attention, the standards for content become much higher. While high-value content can still be very effective, a shift in thinking is required for companies to provide high-value resources which circumvent the problem of limited attention. The companies which successfully do so will be greatly rewarded in brand value.

"Stuck in the old paradigms of content, where white papers, blog posts, social media, and other “traditional” content forms dominate? If you’re looking to break free in order to stand out from the noise and generate lasting brand value, contact BioBM. Our life science content marketing expertise goes beyond traditions and tired paradigms, to more creative approaches for resource development which will act as longstanding value-added assets for your brand by being powerful creators of value for your audiences."

Preferences for Content

Pay attention to your customers preferences for content consumption.We talk so much about content on a conceptual level that I thought it might be helpful to offer some more practical advice. Luckily for me, there’s a lot of knowledge out there to work with. In this post, we’ll look at two studies that surveyed B2B buyers on their preferences for content.

A study published by the CMO council this past summer asked a lot of useful questions. I’ve summarized some key insights below:

The 5 most trusted types of content:

  • Research reports or white papers from professional associations – 67%
  • Research reports or white papers from industry groups – 50%
  • Customer case studies – 48%
  • Reports and whitepapers from analysts – 44%
  • Independent product reviews – 40%

 

The 5 most valuable sources of content in purchasing decisions:

  • Professional associations and online communities – 47%
  • Industry groups – 46%
  • Online trade publications – 41%
  • Seminars and workshops – 41%
  • Trade shows – 35%

(These results hint at who can help you amplify your voice most effectively)

The 3 most valued characteristics of content:

  • Breadth and depth of information – 47%
  • Ease of access, understanding and readability – 44%
  • Originality of thinking and ideas – 39%

 

The 3 most disliked characteristics of content:

  • Too many requirements for download – 50%
  • Blatantly promotional and self-serving – 43%
  • Non-substantive / uninformed – 34%


The above data is largely self-explanatory so I’ll save a long-winded explanation.

Salesforce Pardot also had some interesting information in its “State of Demand Generation 2013” study, most notably on the legnth of content. They asked B2B buyers how long content should be and gave three choices: under 5 pages, over 5 pages, or as long as it takes to inform them. 70% stated that they prefer content to be under 5 pages and only 2% stated that they prefer content to be over 5 pages (the remaining 28% said “as long as it takes”). We generally advise to make your content as long as it takes, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend sacrificing quality for brevity, but given these results it may be worthwhile to re-evaluate long pieces of content to see if you could either be more concise or break the content up into multiple discrete units.

The Salesforce Pardot study also found that about 3 in 4 B2B buyers prefer different content at each stage of the research process. That’s not particularly surprising, considering that informational needs change over the course of the buying journey. However, it is a good reminder not to keep dangling the same piece of content in front of your prospects.

Take all of this data with a grain of salt, as every industry is different. However, the information can serve as general guidance in the creation and / or publishing of content.

"For small life science companies, great products often aren’t enough. No one will try your products if they don’t trust you, but if they don’t try your products you can’t demonstrate their value. Content solves that chicken-and-egg problem by demonstrating and sharing your company’s valuable knowledge and experience. If you need help creating content which will speed your market penetration, contact BioBM."

Can the Shallow Content

Don't create superficial content for life science audiences.We’re big advocates of content marketing, and we’re glad to see that content marketing is rapidly being adopted by life science companies. However, as content marketing becomes more popular, we’re seeing more companies creating content simply for the sake of creating content without much regards to strategy, customer, or value. While content marketing is highly valuable when done correctly, it can actually be detrimental if done carelessly.

To understand why, we need to step back and revisit the concept of a company’s brand and understand that the brand resides in the mind of the customer. It is the result of the customers’ cumulative experiences with the company. Everything the company does influences the brand, content included. A strong, positive brand elevates all of the company’s marketing and sales efforts. It improves the level of trust that your customers extend to you. It makes your communications more likely to be not only received by your audience, but digested. It can even make closing sales far easier. The opposite is also true – having a weak or negative brand makes virtually all marketing and sales endeavors that much more difficult.

Well-written content that is educational, helpful, or otherwise valuable to the audience reflects positively upon the company. Trivial, meaningless, or irrelevant content can reflect negatively. Even if superficial or poorly written content is helping you attract more eyes, if those eyes are not part of your target audience they are worthless. Even worse, if they are part of your target audience and are not impressed with your content, they could leave with a negative impression which hurts your company. Just because your target market is exposed to your brand doesn’t mean that it’s helping you. (Side note: This is also why no marketing analytics effort should place too much value on views.)

This is also why content should not be thought of one-dimensionally, especially if you’re making it publicly accessible. When you make content public, you’re losing some element of control over who views it and for what purpose. If you’re posting content for a particular purpose, it may be consumed by others who have a different purpose. To use a simple example, if you’re posting content for SEO, which by necessity is publicly accessible, you still need to address the needs of your audience. Similarly, if you’re disproportionately posting content which is relevant only to a particular segment of your audience, you may turn off other segments of your audience.

For most life science companies, content can enhance many areas of marketing and sales and should be central to the marketing effort. Content marketing needs to be taken seriously and be approached strategically. Haphazardly creating content which is of questionable value is not only a wasted effort, but it can actually hurt you.

"Does your content add value to your brand? Is it providing measurable value? If you’re looking to improve the quality of your content, create strategies for more effective use of content, or just have questions about how you can effectively implement content marketing in your organization, contact BioBM. We’ll help you develop and implement a highly effective content marketing program which drives value across multiple facets of your marketing and sales programs and adds value to your brand."

Case: Content at a Small CRO

Content is an important sales support tool.It feels like every week I see or learn something that reinforces just how valuable content is to life science companies. For instance, I was recently discussing some sales dilemmas with the founder of a young, small CRO. Let’s call him Greg. Greg’s CRO performs a well-differentiated and valuable research service. However, Greg was lamenting about the “commoditization” of contract research – how his firm can’t seem to compete on quality and all anyone cares about is price.

Knowing what his CRO does, I was a bit disturbed by this. There are such things as commodities, sure, but the whole reason commodities become commoditized is because there is no difference in quality. Even coal fetches different prices based on, among other things, how clean it burns. If someone can mine better coal and get a better price for it, surely his CRO should be able to get a better price for their superior service. … I dug deeper.

Greg used a current problem he was having to illustrate his larger problem. He had drafted a proposal for his contact at a pharma company. That person reviewed his proposal, along with a number of others, then handed it to his boss to make a decision. According to Greg, the boss would then just choose one of the cheap ones.

Now there are times when budgets are tight and price is simply the most important factor, but this was a recurring problem. So what was really the big problem?

Greg’s CRO is young and small. He has built a rapport with his contact. He has not, however, built a rapport with the decision maker, which he does not have access to. So the person making the decision only knows Greg’s CRO from the information that is available about them on their website and with a quick internet search. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but Greg’s CRO has no educational content. Unless the decision maker happens to know Greg or someone on his team, there is no reason for him to believe that they are capable of producing the higher-quality output they claim to be able to. Compared to the more established and lower cost CROs, selecting Greg’s CRO would be a high-risk endeavor!

To lower the perceived risk, and therefore increase the likelihood that their proposal is selected, Greg’s CRO needs to demonstrate their knowledge through content. Content can, at least to some extent, mitigate the inability to demonstrate knowledge through person-to-person content. It could help provide the confidence that may lack if Greg’s CRO cannot provide many reputable customer references. Instead of only knowing Greg’s CRO as a proposal, at least they would be able to build some degree of positive brand image.

Content is an extremely multifunctional marketing tool that can assist organizations in numerous ways. Content can aid in sales support, as with the case of this CRO, it can generate leads, it can help drive inbound search traffic, it can improve your brand. There’s so much that content can do, and it contributes to so many aspects of marketing, that content marketing should really be a default. Especially in knowledge-intensive sectors like contract research and life science tools, content should be a centerpiece of the marketing effort for most companies. Content marketing is simply too valuable, and valuable in too many situations, to ignore.

What do you think?

What would you do if you were Greg? Would you invest in content marketing? Would you take another approach? Join the discussion on LinkedIn and share your thoughts.

Marketing of Life Science Tools & Services

"Is content the centerpiece of your marketing effort? If it’s not, or if you’re not sure what you need to do to craft high-value, multifunctional content, contact us. We’ll put you on the path to more leads, improved conversion, and more effective overall marketing – with content at the center."

Leads 101: Part 1

Lead Generation in the Life Sciences.Everyone wants more sales. Everyone wants more demand. Sales can’t come from nowhere and demand has to be realized somehow, and the way we marketers help generate sales and realize demand is, largely, through generating leads. According to a recent Webmarketing123 study, the top objective and the top challenge for B2B marketers (or at least digital B2B marketers) is generating leads. Lead generation has even become more of a focus in content marketing – something which has traditionally been more of a branding activity than a demand generation activity. With how central leads are to most marketers’ missions, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on leads in the life sciences as well as go over some of the myriad information out there and what it means for our industry – for marketers of life science tools and services.

Lead Generation

Let’s start at the top! Lead generation first requires an understanding of how much a lead is worth. Unless you can estimate the value of a standard lead, you won’t be able to determine what is an appropriate amount to spend on generating each lead. Assuming that all leads are created equal (they’re not, but we’ll say so for sake of simplicity) you can approximate the value of a lead by calculating the net present value of your average customer and multiplying by your conversion rate. If this number is very small, you’ll likely want to minimize the cost of lead acquisition. On the other hand if this number is extremely large, it will likely be worth spending more per lead to generate more leads – at least to a point.

Regardless of the value of the customer, the buying journey will be the critical factor in determining how to generate leads for your product or service. Based on the informational needs of the customer during this journey, which can be gathered through market research and validated through testing and analytics, you should be able to create a content roadmap which informs the campaign architecture and directs content creation efforts in support of lead generation.

In most circumstances, lead generation in the life sciences should be supported heavily by scientific content with a low barrier; for example, a white paper that requires only an email address to download. This is especially true if you have any kind of marketing automation in place, since the cost of a nurture campaign for low-quality leads can be incredibly small. The reason content is so important is to establish trust and, thereby, reduce perceived risk. Scientists are trained to be skeptical and will not readily accept the claims in your marketing as fact. Content helps overcome this through educating the audience on your technology, demonstrating your expertise, etc. This provides more confidence that your products / services will fulfill their need, thereby reducing perceived risk and increasing perceived value (a less risky purchase is a more valuable one), making it more likely that a scientist will buy. Additionally, downloading a piece of content in exchange for a small amount of personal information is a far lower barrier than placing an inquiry about a product and thereby requesting a sales call. For all but low-value products, these baby steps towards purchase are often necessary.

Keep in mind that contact forms greatly effect lead generation as well. Each additional field in a contact form leads to approximately a 12.5% decrease in form submissions. Keep forms as short as possible and also make sure they’re accessible without being in the way. You want prospects to be able to contact you easily at any time without feeling that you’re trying to push them into contacting you.

Of course, content and contact forms are all components of inbound lead generation. Inbound methods are great if scientists are looking for what you are selling. If not, you probably need to get your hands dirty and go and create your own leads. This can be done at conferences, via cold calling / cold emailing, or with good old-fashioned advertising. If you’ll be trying to generate leads at conferences, or even just fill up your database with prospect for downstream marketing, remember that conferences are a numbers game and talk to as many people as you can. If you decide to cold call or cold email, remember to be forthright and to the point. If you’ll be advertising to pull in your audience, consider using a content hook rather than a hard call to action about a product to play to scientists’ curiosity.

Next week we’ll be discussing responding to leads, including some best practices which can can lead to massive increases in conversion.

"This post is the first in a three-part series. Next week we will discuss responding to leads. You’ll be able to find that post here: https://biobm.com/2013/11/leads-101-part-2. The third and final part of this Leads 101 series will be on lead scoring and lead nurture and will be posted in approximately two weeks here: https://biobm.com/2013/12/leads-101-part-3. If you have any questions about anything related to demand generation in the life sciences, we welcome you to contact us."