We’re working on digital marketing strategy for a biotech startup, one of several we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Of course, every organization is different in its goals, needs, resources, and opportunities. Still, I’m seeing again some special things about digital marketing for biotech startups.
Certainly, a strong online presence is essential for startups. Since regulations limit opportunities to reach investors (in spite of some recent legal changes), biotech startups need to have high visibility and good websites to send interested people to. They can benefit from the support of communities that expect to benefit from their future products, and the internet is the best place to meet influencers in those communities. What’s more, the small, busy teams that characterize biotech startups need the level playing field the internet offers to smaller companies, compared with the more costly options for reaching investors, potential partners, and eventual end users.
Challenges in digital marketing for biotech startups
Even though the web is the strongest place for most biotech startups to make their case, there are some special challenges involved.
Chances are good that you have a fluid business model, and will be making plenty of changes along the way. That makes it hard to give a firm, clear message of what you have to offer and how readers can get it.
One excellent approach is to focus on the benefits of your eventual product or the long-term benefits of your work. If your process will get new drugs to market faster, streamline genomics projects, or make a difference to sufferers from a disease, you’ve got a good story to tell. That’s particularly important during the early years when you don’t yet have a product to sell.
While you’re discovering your path to success, you need a website that will keep up with you. That means you have to have a good CMS. WordPress is certainly our choice, both for its ease and because it has a super supportive community. If you have another favorite, make sure that you have access to experts. You probably don’t have time to work through frustrating delays in getting changes made at your website.
That also means that, no matter what CMS you choose, you should make sure that your website is built to accommodate change.
You may want to talk to more than one audience with one website. The site we’re working on right now, for example, wants to appeal to three different audiences:
- Potential investors, who may not understand all the science and won’t find highly technical jargon-filled explanations compelling
- Potential pharmaceutical partners who will want plenty of detail on the science
- Potential end users, including influencers and the people who can provide evidence that the eventual product will sell
The vocabulary, images, and even topics for content appealing to these three groups will be different. Construct your website with that in mind, and take advantage of different kinds of links and social media to drive the right kind of traffic to the right pages.
Throughout the healthcare space, it’s essential to follow the rules. This, along with the special knowledge required to understand and communicate your information, means that it can be hard to outsource your content, from your basic web pages to your social media. With the time crunches you probably face, that means you should look for a company with experience in your field to help you. It makes sense to find people with expertise in digital marketing to complement your expertise in your field. You also need people who can make complex information clear to people outside the field.
If you decide to do it yourself, make sure that you get input from people in your target market. What is clear to you may not be clear to people outside your field. If those are the people who will make your company profitable, you need to talk to them. Balancing regulations while telling your story in a compelling way may be a challenge.