Biotech companies, like other companies that target technical professionals, have a challenge before them Scientists, engineers, and other members of STEM professions do not typically respond well to traditional marketing efforts. So how does an organization reach these professionals? Adopting some of the newer strategies that were born out of digital marketing are good ways to reach this target group. Of the various strategies available, content marketing is the best aligns with the personas of scientists, technologists, and engineers.
In this article, we’ll examine what content marketing’s strengths are, how they address the needs of a STEM-based audience, and what specific tactics can be used to attract the right audience.
Content Marketing Generates Traffic
Catching the attention of an audience of STEM professional is challenging. Word-of-mouth and relationship marketing is effective, but not scalable. Also, take advantage of relationships can have a negative effect on this audience. The hard sell with scientists and technologists can send them in the other direction.
What’s needed in the biotech space is for the target audience to be able to quickly and easily find you. One of the most effective ways of doing that is by being highly visible on search engines, like Google. In fact, Google themselves found that companies are approximately 57% down the path to purchase before they ever take an action on your website. Most of that distance is covered thanks to search.
While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy is outside of the scope of this article, suffice it to say that content marketing can help boost your search engine position and support your other keyword-based efforts. Search engines are the go-to answer when your target audience is searching for a product or solution.
While Google keeps their search algorithms and ranking strategies close to the chest, there are a few activities that we know influence where your web pages land in a search. One of those is the frequency of content updates. Sites that are updated more often receive better positioning in search rankings.
One tactic that biotech companies can use is blog posts. These are, by definition, updated regularly, boosting SEO results through both keyword usage and website updates. Plus, blog posts serve other purposes as well, such as helping establish your company’s expertise, as discussed below.
Builds Trust with Your Audience
It’s nearly impossible to build trust through a traditional outreach process with STEM professionals, where benefits and differentiators are simply spelled out to the client, and trust is granted before proof is provided. STEM professionals don’t work that way. They will grant their trust – and many times, their loyalty – if and when they are sure it’s deserved.
Content marketing provides the right levers to pull at the right times during the sales cycle to allow that trust to build at a speed determined by the prospect. One of the tenants of content marketing is to provide value and education with few to no strings attached. In other words, while highly valuable content may at most be behind a lead generation form on a site, there should still be enough information in front of a lead gen form to convince the prospect it’s worth trading their information for your content.
This is done by sharing knowledge and insights free of charge and unfettered by restrictions, like exchanging an email for content. Using a tactic like blog posts, as mentioned above, is a start toward trust-building and establishing your team’s expertise. Sharing interesting and valuable content on social media, without constantly posting sales messages, is another way to build trust.
This is not to say that your most valuable content shouldn’t be traded for contact information. But much of that content is accessed by prospects further down the marketing funnel, ones that are ready to consider your company as a potential solution. Content on the backside of a lead gen form should help to seal the deal and provide the information needed for STEM professionals to evaluate you against your competitors. These assets can be whitepapers, case studies, and data sheets.
Another strategy you should consider when looking to gain your target audience’s trust is by providing easy comparisons between you and similar products. Acting like your competition doesn’t exist won’t inspire a belief in your ability to deliver a robust solution. Instead, be clear about how you measure up against other products and services allows these buyers sense that you are being upfront with them, pulling back the curtains, and ensuring that they know what your product can do before they even pick up a phone.
Speaking to STEM professionals throughout the sales cycle requires a new way to look at marketing messaging. Where traditionally business people expected marketing efforts to include cold calls, hard pitches, and pushy sales teams, technologists, engineers, scientists, and the like have vastly different needs. Trust and competency must be established before a conversation can even begin. To do that, organizations must provide content that makes them easy to find and clearly establishes their knowledge set, expertise, and value early on. Following the modern principles of content marketing makes establishing messaging for this audience much more effective.