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Using a Website to Engage

Life science internet marketing solutions from BioBM ConsultingA website can be an exceptionally powerful tool. It is, in essence, a block of clay – massively flexible and limited only by your creativity. For life science companies this flexibility can and should be leveraged as a key component of your internet marketing. When a scientist or other potential customer is on your website you have their attention, at least when they first arrive. Don’t squander that opportunity. Engage the customer, impress them, and you’ll be far more likely to generate a lead or create a sale. But how can a life science company go about doing that? Well, there are a few things we have to do before you get there…

Step 1: Know why people are going to your website. I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating: Make friends with Google Analytics. Knowing where people are entering from, what search terms they are using, and how they are navigating your website can greatly help figure out why people are going to your site.

Step 2: Lead them to the information they want. We talked about this in a similar context before, so feel free to read our post “From Site to Sale” for more info on that.

Step 3: Make that information engaging! Is your technology complex? Use some interactive flash or a well-illustrated animation to show consumers why your technology is superior. Would customers want to know how to use your product? Make a demonstration video. Don’t just state your advantages – show them. Nothing is worse than a run-on page of text or a lack of information. Remember: showing is always more powerful than telling.

By escaping the paradigm of only having text and images on your website and using engaging media in meaningful and appropriate ways, you can not only improve customer engagement but also present information in ways that make it easier to understand for customers. Combine that with navigation that directs customers to relevant information and leads them into the sales process, and you’ll have a website that is a genuine sales machine.

"Who wouldn’t want to drive more sales or inquiries from their website? The issue is always “how”? BioBM has the answers. If you want to send your conversions through the roof, contact us and we’ll show you how we can design a website that will drive revenues and provide a great, measurable ROI, or simply improve your current website to the same result. If you’re not sure where and how you can improve, feel free to request a free site review and we’ll help you identify areas for improvement and discuss potential remedies."

Comment on Webinars

I saw a post on one of the LinkedIn groups I’m a member of for a webinar that was of interest to me. Long story short: it was terrible. So you don’t make the same mistakes that this company did when you’re creating life science webinars, I thought I’d share a quick tip.

Remember that a webinar (or an in-person seminar for that matter) is a form of content marketing. The lure is the promise of information that is valuable to the user. In order for your webinar to be a success, you must deliver on that promise. The content that you provide needs to address the reason that people are attending your webinar – the topic of the webinar in the first place. If your title and abstract don’t match the presentation, you’re going to hurt your reputation, not help your marketing effort.

Also, you need to balance the amount of content with the marketing message as is appropriate for your webinar. It is possible to have a webinar strictly about a product or service, and there’s nothing wrong with that and such webinars can have value to individuals who are seeking more information about such products and services, but if that is going to be the focal point you need to be up front about it. If you’re creating a webinar on “best practices in high-throughput nucleic acid purification”, for example, attendees are going to expect to learn something of value about high-throughput nucleic acid purification. If you make too much of a marketing pitch and don’t provide enough valuable information on the topic, you’re going to hurt your reputation, not help your marketing effort.

Life science webinars can be useful tools to gather an audience and positively project your brand image and services, but you have to do it correctly. Align the webinar with the desires of the audience to create value and you’ll find success.

"Want to create high-impact webinars? Not satisfied with the quality of your marketing efforts or marketing materials? BioBM Consulting creates high-impact life science marketing campaigns for life science clients that drive sales and improve ROI. To start attracting and influencing more potential customers, call us today. We’re life scientists just like your customers, and boy do we love marketing."

Use Google Alerts

I’m guessing most companies do, but I’ve ran into a few that aren’t so I feel the need to say it here: use Google Alerts. For any small company, life science companies included, Google Alerts is an easy and free way of monitoring what is said about your company online. You can set up alerts for mentions of your company, your products, anything. Also, it’s an easy way to keep track of your competition – you can set up Google Alerts for mentions of their company, brands, and products as well.

If you’re involved in marketing or PR for your life science company you definitely be receiving Google Alerts. For small life science companies, executives probably should as well. For people in sales or business development it’s good to keep track of what is being said about your product and the product positioning of competitors. For support or applications scientists, it could be a good way to keep up with people posting methods or problems with your products on forums or anywhere on the internet.

Google Alerts takes almost no time to set up, alerts can be received “as-it-happens”, daily, or weekly and via e-mail or RSS. And did I mention that it’s free?

Misconceptions About SMM

There are a lot of misconceptions about social media marketing out there. I was recently reminded of it by a tweet from a company which will remain nameless. This company provides market reports and market research services for life science companies, and I find most of their reports to be quite compelling so I don’t want this one misstep to reflect too negatively on them. When marketing for their most recent report, they tweeted:

anonymous tweet

Scientists report using LinkedIn to find vendor-sponsored info more than every other social media platform–combined


This exhibits something of a misconception about how social media marketing works and is the same misconception that many life science companies have about SMM. Put simply: scientists will very rarely use social media to “find” vendor information or product information. If a scientist is thinking about looking for a product, they know that twitter, facebook, linkedin, youtube, etc., are not the best places to look. Not to say that social media marketing isn’t valuable, but you need to understand it’s purpose and how your target market is going to use it. Social media is used for engagement, for brand positioning, and for active presentation of information to customers, not simply as a repository for information which you can expect users to seek out (as a catalogue or a website could be). Because of this consumer behavior, asking “what social media platforms do you use to look for vendor information” is inducing an answer to the wrong question.

Poorly executed social media marketing will at best be a waste of time and money, and at worst can hurt your life science company’s brand. In order for your SMM efforts to be sucessful, you need to understand your customers and their use of social media networks.

Presenting your Marketing

With online leads, speed is a key factor in conversion.Life science marketing is an interesting thing. It is most often supported by a wide breadth of technical information, and scientists often want a lot of information, but at the same time most of the “standard” rules of marketing still apply. This dichotomy is often at odds with itself, and scientific marketers will frequently end up with marketing messages that are unorganized, contain too little information, contain too much information, or fail to effectively lead customers into the sales process. While it is true that this failure is often at least partially due to marketing functions being performed by marketers who do not sufficiently understand scientists or scientists who are not sufficiently well trained in marketing, it can even more frequently be ascribed to another failure. Life science marketers have an inexplicable tendency to present their marketing messages in the way they think it should be provided as opposed to how their customers are likely to want it.

The solution to this problem is to combine the psychology of the target consumer with the limitations of the given marketing medium. Stop asking yourself what information is important for the customer to know – the answer will center around you and your opinions. Instead, ask what the customer will want to know. What fuels their purchasing decisions? What is the first piece of information that they are going to look for? What will the customers view as the most important differentiators or benefits? Once you answer these questions and other, similar questions you will start to have an understanding of what is likely to be important to the customer (of course, to have a complete understanding you will need to perform some marketing research). This is not to say that the customer will never have unknown unknowns, and there may be information that they would view as highly valuable that they are completely unaware of and should still be presented to them, but such information still has to be assessed from the perspective of customer-perceived value. Once we have an understanding of the customers needs and what is important to them, then we can start to construct a well-crafted marketing message.

Consider the medium by which which your marketing message will be communicated. Print, web, video, and other mediums each have different constraints and will may be viewed under different circumstances, and therefore the marketing message for any given medium should not be a carbon copy of another. While they will probably be similar, marketing messages should be tweaked to make optimal use of the specific medium. Will your marketing be presented to life scientists or will they be going to your marketing? How much of your viewers attention will you have? How much content can you fit and what kind of content is appropriate to the medium? The answers to these kind of questions should be used to refine the marketing message for any given medium in order to make it more effective.

Regardless of the medium, don’t forget to include a compelling call to action! When and where to place them is also something that deserves some degree of consideration. Many marketers automatically put the call to action at the end of the marketing message and leave it at that, but is that really the best place? For example, if most of the compelling content is near the beginning of the marketing message and the later content is mostly supporting information, the end may not be the best place for the call to action. Alternatively, perhaps two would be more appropriate.

Optimal presentation of a scientific marketing message is not a simple thing. It is a balancing act between providing sufficient information and being succinct while taking into account the psychology of the customer, the medium, and other factors which we have not yet discussed. Many small companies fall into the trap of “marketing like scientists” and turning marketing messages into information dumps, but doing so will never maximize results. By escaping that thought pattern and thinking critically about key marketing issues as well as scientific issues, only then can the ROI of life science marketing be maximized.

"If your life science marketing messages are not optimized to maximize lead generation, you could easily be losing 75% or more of your potential marketing returns. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. BioBM Consulting can help you design highly effective marketing materials that draw the customers into the sales process. If you would like to improve your marketing materials, boost sales, and watch your marketing ROI soar, contact BioBM today. Our skilled team of life science marketing consultants are here to help your company achieve greater success through improved marketing."

The Limitations of Referrals

Referral-based marketing works best in environments where there is open and fluid interaction between populations of customers, something that life science research environments lack.While less common in highly technical industries such as life science tools and services, it’s not wholly uncommon for entrepreneurs to “boot-strap” their start-up companies (try to start without external funding and race to become profitable before they run out of cash). Yet more common, even with outside investment, is under-capitalization. In either case, when small companies start to become low on cash, one of the first corners that often gets cut is marketing. Entrepreneurs sometimes think that word-of-mouth or referrals will be a sufficient marketing tactic to grow their business, but that is very rarely the case for life science products and services. Why is this the case? Customer interaction patterns. To illustrate my point, let me give an example of when referral-based marketing can be effective.

Take Twitter as an extreme example on one end. Twitter never advertised. They were established 100% on word-of-mouth marketing and over their short sub-5-year history have ballooned to over 200 million users and are now the ninth most popular site on the internet. You can top that off with an estimated valuation of $8 to $10 billion dollars. Why was twitter able to be so successful at harnessing the power of referrals / word-of-mouth marketing? There are two key factors. The first is that Twitter was something that people were excited about and talked about – obviously you can’t be successful at word-of-mouth marketing if you don’t create something that people want to talk about. That, however, is something that life science companies can replicate. The other factor, however, is something that life science companies cannot replicate, and that is customer interaction patterns. Anyone, anywhere could be a twitter user so long as they had a computer or a cell phone. This meant that in many markets everyone was a potential user, and connections between users and potential users could be drawn seamlessly. Interaction between the groups was very easy and close at hand.

Companies manufacturing life science tools do not have the advantage of everyone being a potential customer. Customers are usually grouped into discrete units with limited interaction – universities, research institutes, pharma / biotech company research centers. If a scientist at university X is very happy with your product, this scientist will tell others around him or her, but the pool of potential customers will often be limited to those within their institute since that is where the relevant connections involving frequent interaction stop. This is especially true in the more restricted-access and secretive environments of pharmaceutical and biotech laboratories.

You can analogize the situation to an infectious virus. If a virus can infect anyone, it will have an easy time spreading. If it can only infect a small subset of the population, however, and those populations are grouped together and quarantined from each other, the virus will have a very difficult time spreading. A similar quarantining happens to word-of-mouth marketing in the life sciences, so don’t rely solely on referrals to grow your market share. There are enough low-cost and effective ways of marketing to provide even cash-strapped bioscience startups high-ROI options to more proactively reach their target audiences.

"Is your company looking for effective, low-cost marketing methods? If so, talk to BioBM Consulting. Our expert life science marketing consultants will help you develop and execute high-efficiency strategies to successfully market your products to a scientific audience."

Encouraging Action

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.

"Is your marketing not as effective as you would like it to be? Would you like to simply and effectively improve your marketing ROI? If so, talk to BioBM. We can help you develop top-quality materials that are designed specifically to draw customers into the sale or inquiry process."

A Note on Off-Site Blogs

Going somewhat in step with our previous post on projecting expertise, I’ve noticed a recent trend of life science companies starting or sponsoring unbranded, off-site blogs. I have no problem with using such blogs as a marketing tool so long as the strategy for doing so is properly addressed. There are a lot of potential things that can be done wrong, strategically, and some key issues need to be considered before launching an unbranded off-site blog. Here are a handful:

    1. Scientists don’t like underhanded marketing. If you’re promoting your company or products and you aren’t forthcoming about self-promotion (for example, neglecting to mention that the blog is written by a company employee or that the blog is funded by your company), scientists will think you are trying to trick them and that will hurt your reputation.
    2. How will you target the desired audience? I’ve witnessed many of these blogs post information that doesn’t seem to have a well thought-out theme and end up being more general and less focused than the target audience. Remember the ultimate purpose: marketing.
    3. Set goals, and make sure they’re well-defined. What do you want to achieve? How will you measure success? If the blog isn’t meeting the required metrics, take it down and focus your resources somewhere more worthwhile.
    4. Have a valid reason for neither incorporating a blog on your main site, nor using your branding in a more prominent manner.


Off-site / unbranded life science blogs can be good marketing tools when used correctly, but all the rules of marketing still apply. Think strategically to make sure that you’re achieving your goals with such a blog.

"Have questions? We have answers. Contact us anytime if you’d like to discuss blogs or any other topic covering life science business or marketing."

Send the Right Message

Life science marketing research will boost your marketing ROI and ensure you target the right customers with the right messages.Life science marketing can be a difficult task, especially because scientists often don’t like to be marketed to. They are particularly adept at identifying marketing and ignoring it. With the limited chances your company may get to win over life scientists, you need to make sure you send the right messages to the right people using the right mediums. If your sales aren’t where you think they should be, throwing more money at the problem in the form of more marketing or advertising may not be the answer, especially if you have a good sized marketing budget already. Poor marketing ROI can be a symptom of many things – sending the wrong or sub-optimal marketing message, sending the message to the wrong audience, using the wrong medium to convey the marketing message, etc. In order to identify what the cause is you need to take a hard look at your marketing. You need to perform marketing research.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing research as “the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information–information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.” Simplified, marketing research is the tool that is used to determine the best way for marketing to be performed.

Life science marketing research can answer many questions. Some examples include: What is the best medium to market to a target audience? What is the best message that we should use, and / or what benefits of our life science research tool should we highlight? Are we marketing to our customers enough? Are we marketing to them too much? What can we do to improve our marketing ROI?

Marketing, at its most basic, seems easy. Convey the benefits to the customers and the customers will buy the product, correct? Not necessarily. It’s very easy, and often the case, for a company to have a different viewpoint than the customer or overlook something that is important to the customer. (Some of the most hilarious marketing message gaffes come from mistranslations and would have been readily and easily avoided if the companies spent anything on marketing research. If you’d like some hilarious examples you can read about some here.) Marketing research helps you be on the same page as your customers.

You probably wouldn’t make product development decisions based on a gut feeling, so why make marketing decisions based solely on instinct? If your company is concerned with making sure your marketing is optimized and you’re getting the most from your marketing dollars, then spending a few of those dollars on marketing research can go a long way for you and supercharge your marketing ROI.

"Does your company want to improve the return on your marketing investment? Want to make sure that you are reaching the correct customers in the right way and with the message that they will be most responsive to? <Life science marketing research solutions from BioBM consulting can help you do all that and more. We provide custom marketing research solutions that are right for your company, your needs, and your budget. Don’t waste time and money guessing if your marketing will be effective. Contact us today and start getting more from your marketing campaigns."

Lowering Barriers

Lower the barriers to purchasing your products and services to increase your life science sales.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:

  1. Finding your product / service
  2. Obtaining the desired information
  3. 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.

"Would you like to make it easier for life scientists across pharma, biotech, and academia to buy your products and / or services? Want to use a streamlined sales process to tilt undecided buyers towards purchasing your products? BioBM Consulting’s marketing and internet consultants can help you streamline your marketing and sales process. Talk to us and we’ll help you boost your conversion by identifying and lowering barriers to purchase."