Inbound Marketing for Biotech: What You Need to Know

As a startup within the biotech industry, what are your priorities? If you're like most organizations in a similar situation, you're probably looking to grow by attracting both investors and potential customers (business or consumers).

The problem: what you do is not necessarily easy to explain. To someone not familiar with the field, understanding a life science company requires effort. Your marketing strategy faces the yeoman's challenge of not just promoting your brand, but having to explain what that brand is in the first place.

Any marketing philosophy you embrace has to be able to solve that problem. And that's precisely why inbound marketing can be so successful for biotech and health startups. Once you understand and implement the concept, you can use it as a catalyst for sustainable and scalable growth.

The Basics: Understanding Inbound Marketing for Biotech

Over the past few years, inbound marketing has moved from a buzzword to one of the most popular marketing approaches across industries. The basic concept relies on a content marketing philosophy. Rather than trying to 'push' messages to your audience with traditional, promotional content, you make them come to you with content that's actually interesting and relevant to their needs.

Inbound marketing, in other words, circumvents the increasing cynicism that has spread among audiences online. Ad blocking is at an all-time high, pointing toward your audience's annoyance with promotional messages. If you can build a strategy that actually leads to that audience seeking you out, you have gained valuable traffic that will convert.

Speaking of conversion: inbound marketing adds to a simple focus on content by building mechanisms into your strategy that make it easy for your audience to convert to leads. Through an automated lead nurturing strategy, you can increase these leads' chances of becoming customers. In other words, it's a comprehensive solution to increase brand awareness, build credibility, and grow your customer base.

Using Inbound Tactics to Grow Site Traffic

Read the above paragraph in isolation, and it may seem a bit unrealistic. Can inbound marketing really overhaul your entire marketing process to maximize your success?

The answer is yes - if you make the most out of the individual tactics associated with this type of strategy:

  • Blogging. By publishing regular blog posts, you can showcase your expertise in your field. Blogging results in 67% more leads generated through your website.
  • Long-form content marketing. You can gate long-form content such as webinars and whitepapers behind a sign-up form, directly impacting your lead generation. High-quality long-form content will also provide a significant boost in credibility.
  • Search engine optimization. Optimize your website for the right keywords, and your audience will find you more easily. Blogging can make a direct impact on your SEO.
  • Social media marketing. On social media, you can establish yourself as a go-to resource for members of your target audience. It also improves your site traffic and SEO efforts.
  • Conversion-driven web design. If you truly embrace inbound marketing, build your entire website around it. Streamline your navigation and include relevant CTAs to offer next steps and lead your visitors toward your gated content.
  • Email marketing. Once visitors turn into leads, don't forget about them. Instead, nurture them on their way through your sales funnel with regular, relevant email messages. Email marketing remains a powerful tool in the life sciences industry.

Differentiation Through Educational Focus

In examining the above tactics, you may have noticed a detail that makes this marketing philosophy uniquely suited to life science companies: a focus on educational content.

You know how difficult it can be to make sure your audience actually knows what you're doing, and how it will impact them. Through inbound marketing, you have a unique avenue to communicate that.

Consider all of the tactics designed to provide relevant content to your audience. Then, think about the opportunities they give you to educate your audience about your industry, and the benefits of your product.

In regular blog updates, you can let potential customers know about various advances within consumer-facing biotechnology. Social media is an ideal tool to clarify simple concepts and terms, while webinars and whitepapers work well to provide more comprehensive overviews of your industry.

The key is not to forget about your product completely. Instead, subtly weave its benefits into the content you provide, which increases your brand awareness without diminishing the educational value of your blog posts, social media updates, and long-form content.

Building Your Credibility in the Biotech Space

In any industry, building your credibility is crucial. Put simply, no one will pay attention to even great content if they don't believe or care about its source.

That truth is especially relevant in scientific and healthcare services, where marketers have to establish their authority before they can reliably use content to promote their services.

Through inbound marketing, your biotech startup can build that credibility over time. It's focused around the concept of thought leadership — using content to become trustworthy among your target audience.

Thought leadership drives both differentiation and credibility, establishing you as a voice in the industry that your audience wants to listen to.

The key, of course, as mentioned above, is high-value and relevant content. If you can publish blog posts, whitepapers, and more that clearly establishes your expertise in the field, you will begin to receive an attentive audience.

Then, you can slowly become more promotional and product-driven to nudge them toward becoming customers.

Determining the Potential ROI of Inbound Marketing

Determining ROI of Marketing Automation for Biotech

Inbound marketing works. Countless studies and statistics establish as much. But how relevant is it to the life sciences industry, and what type of ROI can you actually expect? While the exact answer depends on your unique situation, looking at relevant examples can give you an idea.

Take Conversant Bio, an institute focused on procuring tissue for pharmaceutical research. After embracing inbound marketing, the company was able to achieve a 3,558% ROI in just six months, thanks to a 250% increase in total leads and 7 times increase in marketing qualified leads over that timeframe.

VUV Analytics saw similar results. The company responsible for manufacturing the world’s first Vacuum Ultraviolet (VUV) gas chromatography detector increased its web traffic and leads by a factor of 2.5 in the first six months, with the majority of those leads coming in over the final 2 months of the experiment. Through an emphasis of thought leadership-driving content and marketing automation, VUV Analytics has vaulted toward success and has grown steadily ever since.

Not every inbound marketing success story will be that explosive. Typically, it takes between 6 and 12 months to see actual results of embracing the strategy. Building a reliable SEO strategy in particular takes time.

The Unique Fit of Biotech and Inbound Marketing

But its success potential is undeniable. In fact, inbound marketing can and should become a major part of your efforts to grow your biotech startup and establish yourself as a voice in the life sciences industry.

The fit between the philosophy and your industry is evident. Where you might struggle to communicate your value and differentiation factors to your audience, inbound marketing can help. In the meantime, it will also make sure you focus on the right metrics, and build your marketing strategy with conversion in mind.

The result is a successful, sustainable, and scalable marketing strategy. Embrace inbound marketing, and your business may just become the next case study of what it takes to shed your growing pains and grow into a force within the healthcare industry.