Inbound marketing – you’ve heard of it, you know what it is… but is it for you?
The pharmaceutical and life science industry is ripe for inbound. It's not like the banking and finance sector where there is little new day-to-day. Your sector is all about change, initiative, progress, advancement and development – from drug development breakthroughs to advances in formulation to medical device design initiatives, your sector never stands still.
The theory of inbound is simple. Identify your audience segments by creating personas and then create good content, regularly and often for those personas. Promote it, and as strangers come to this content, you feed them with more quality solution-based content.
As your audience engages with you they end up as warm sales leads, accepting they have a problem, understanding that you have the solution and wanting to engage with you about that solution.
Will it work for your organisation? Here is a checklist of points to look over to make a quick assessment.
IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE
Do you know your audience? Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers that help marketers visualise the ideal customer we're trying to attract. Having a deep understanding of your buyer personas is a fundamental factor within inbound marketing campaigns to ensure the content you are looking produce is relevant.
CONTENT CREATION IS KEY
Do you, or can you, create regular, consistent, good quality content? Do you have the resource internally to create this, not just once but over and over? Can you deliver the big-ticket items like webinars, write and create e-books, as well as blogs and social media posts? It’s a big ask, but it's essential. This point is the most important if the answer to this is no, inbound isn't for you because content marketing plays an integral role in attracting leads.
ARE YOU HAPPY PRODUCING INDEPENDENT CONTENT?
The content must come across as useful, non-salesy information based content – or it simply won't work. Don’t have it solely written by the marketing or sales department. Instead, ask the lab or technical team to produce it or the core of the content. Do you have these people in your organisation? Do they have the bandwidth to do this, not just for one month, but from here on in on a regular basis?
CAN YOU PROMOTE THE CONTENT?
Do you have well-populated social media channels? Are your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook following as high as they could be? Getting the content in posts and status updates is the first point of syndication. If your twitter following is 35 people, it's not going to get the traction that it would if you had 3,000 followers. Invest time in growing your following before embarking on inbound.
Do you have a newsletter and email lists you can leverage? Do you have other opted-in lists you can reach? I'm sure the answer to all these is "yes course we have, any marketing manager worth their salt will have these ticked off" but it's worth saying to get the most out of inbound you need the best use of your own followers and subscribers
ARE YOU PREPARED TO INVEST TIME INTO THE SEO?
A crucial factor in inbound is SEO. Do you have the time, resource, understanding and knowledge to work SEO effectively? It's crucial you do, or that you work with an agency who can. SEO will bring in new leads that have never engaged with you in the past. But it's time-consuming, sometimes frustrating and laborious work. Best advice: get an agency to do it for you, but don’t ignore it, it's business-critical for inbound to work.
ARE YOU HAPPY TO WAIT FOR RESULTS?
Inbound takes time. Lots of time. It can take anything up to a year to put in place and to start seeing regular results coming through the bottom of the funnel. Be prepared to put the time in, and to be able to manage the expectations of those above you who want and demand results there and then. If it’s a quick win new product launch you are looking at, inbound is not for you.
ARE YOU PREPARED TO INVEST IN AUTOMATION SOFTWARE?
There are several really good marketing automation software out there, Elogua, Marketo, HubSpot, they will all work for you, but they require investment. Investment in the cost, and then investment in the time to train you and your team up on the software. There is no getting around this. An agency can take the workload off you, however, you will still need the software license, so be prepared for this.
If the answer to these questions are "YES!", well then, I’ll place a wager that inbound is for you, and will work brilliantly.
Explore options with the software companies and the agencies that do this for a living before writing in or out is my best advice, but do look at inbound. It’s new, taking it up now will mean you are in the top 5% of companies who are adopting this method of lead generation. Be one, two and three steps ahead of your competitors!