In the post-pandemic climate, there has been a sort of “forced evolution” for marketers within the life sciences sector. There is renewed focus on being able to effectively reach various audience segments, whether it is potential patient populations, HCPs, caregivers, or payers. The overall goal should move to being able to gain a much stronger level of engagement and get to a segment of one.
Effective digital marketing within the life sciences vertical must account for additional levels of complexity than those that exist for other verticals. There are many considerations that marketers face, including extremely niche audiences, additional levels of regulations, and limited access to platforms. But, as always, there are fundamental elements that can help increase performance from your marketing efforts. These include:
- Having a thorough understanding of your audience
- Setting clear and actionable goals
- Letting the data drive your decisions
- Ensuring that your content can be found by everyone
- Creating an omnichannel strategy
- Becoming a great storyteller
1. Understand Your Audience
With most marketing or advertising, you need to know who your audience is and, most importantly, understand the questions or problems that they are trying to solve for. Even more important are the ways in which you can better understand the various segments within this field, whether those are patient populations, HCPS, caregivers, payers, etc. You want to know them inside and out and what their concerns are. Avoid making overarching assumptions about your audience. Marketers often think they know their audience based off their own experience, when in reality they turn out to be much different.
A logical place to start is ensuring a deep understanding of what questions your audience is seeking to answer, as well as understanding where they are at in their online user journey. For instance, a potential patient who is very early on in their research for clinical trials will have much more general questions. These patients might be researching items like, “What clinical trials are there for degenerative disc diseases?” whereas patients who are much further along in their journey might be looking to answer questions like, “What trials can I qualify for if I have pain in more than one disc?” It is critical to connect with each of these patients, but you must be a resource for their specific needs at that moment in time.
2. Understand Your Goals
Now that you’ve gotten a better understanding of who your audience is, it’s even more important to make sure your goals align. Having a good game plan is key in any type of audience building and relations. If you aren’t consistent with your goals, it will decrease your credibility to your audience.
As with understanding the audience, you should have specific goals for each audience segment according to where they are in their online journey. For example, if you are trying to build awareness for your clinical trials with specific HCPs, you might track higher level metrics like impressions, views, etc. Conversely, if you are trying to enroll a specific number of randomized patients in the same trial, you are likely tracking lower journey metrics like website visits, form fills, bounce rate, etc.
Be sure to know how to not only reach your audience but also go that extra mile to reach an underserved group. That’s the beauty of digital marketing; we can effectively do this and target each audience appropriately.
3. Make Data-Driven Decisions
By now, you have undoubtedly heard of the death of the third-party cookie. If not, you can learn more about it here. While this has proven to be a challenge for many organizations, it is also an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. Losing cookies forces all of us to fully embrace the first-party data that we have access to, including our own analytics, email lists, CMS, and other data about our earned and owned traffic.
Understand which channels and platforms you NEED to be in active in, as well as your overall performance. Digital media is constantly changing; it was only last year that Instagram offered the analytics feature to any business account. Fortunately, it’s easy to carry out experiments, because posting something like a tweet or a photo on Instagram takes a matter of seconds. You may ask, “Why are you bringing up Instagram?” It’s because there are enhancements and updates to technology taking place all the time. If you stay on top of these types of features, you can drive more quality traffic to your site by insisting on things like A/B testing.
4. Use an Omnichannel Approach to Build Trust with Audiences
The user journey, as we know, is different for all, which means it’s important to know when to properly engage and cross the digital and offline spaces. You can do this through an omnichannel approach. Omnichannel marketing is the integration and cooperation of the various channel’s organizations use to interact with consumers, with the goal of creating a consistent brand experience.
One challenge that comes with omnichannel approaches is maintaining accuracy. You want to make sure your messaging and image align throughout all your channels, otherwise you may lose that credibility you are working to build with your audience. Any channel that touches your audience should remain consistent from there on out, otherwise you will lose their attention.
5. Maintain Accessibility
If there is one thing you can take away from this blog, it’s that you need to make sure your content and website are 100% accessible to all audiences. There is nothing worse than a confusing experience when someone goes to your page. You can lose that person almost immediately, and you don’t want something as simple as that to be the reason they don’t see all the great services you offer.
This is especially important in life sciences, because we are trying to reach people who might already have an impairment and need help—so you want to make sure your content and website provide whatever is necessary to work with your audience. For example, include visuals for people with trouble hearing and listening options for those who are visually impaired.
6. Use Effective Storytelling to Build Your Brand
With accessibility comes experience. You want to create content that is worth sharing, effectively telling your story and giving your caregivers or HCPs the best understanding of your brand that you can. You want to create not only good content but also content that streams for each audience segment, understanding that content needs to be created with specific personas in mind. There may even be an instance where your content crosses all of your segments, but what’s key is funnelling it down enough to actually be effective and not just shoving generic topics out there.
The key to creating compelling content is being able to answer your audiences’ questions before they have the opportunity to ask them. Not only do you want to provide your story in the best way you can, but also you want to stand tall as a thought leader and resource in the space. Then, you know how you can help both your audience and the industry as a whole with your services, and you understand how to educate the members of your audience who are not familiar with the space.
One way you can do this is by using multiple mediums to tell a story, including:
Video is a powerful tool for storytelling; internet users spent an average of six hours and 48 minutes per week watching videos in 2019, and 54% of audiences want to see more video from a brand they support.
With all this said, you want to create easy, digestible content. Think about the content you have come across that resonated with you and focus on those attributes when creating your own content.
7. Ensure Your Content Is Mobile Friendly
How often do you check to see if your website looks accurate on a mobile device? Maybe your blog is shifted to the right with your images completely blown up. These are the small things that make up your appearance and matter when it comes to building and developing new relationships with your audience. Notably, 56% of all online consumers in the United States have searched for local businesses on a mobile device. This only proves our point that you must make sure your content is accurate on mobile.
Here are some things to check when creating a more mobile-friendly experience:
- Page loads quickly
- Images are clear
- Ratio is relative to format
- Proper video time and size for mobile viewing
- Titles fit the screen appropriately
- Images and videos are optimized to help with loading speed
With all this in mind, make sure to test your mobile site regularly. Mobile sites are often overlooked, but it has been proven to be the spot where people start. Also, do a Core Web Vitals report to see how your UX is performing.
If you would like to discuss your digital strategies and how we can help you optimize your content for your audience, contact us here.