27 Tips for Using Digital Marketing to Grow Your Medical Device Business
Medical device manufacturers and suppliers face unique challenges in the 21st century, particularly when it comes to reaching a broader audience outside of Ireland. Couple the distinctive challenges of the medical device sector with the fact that you operate a B2B company, rather than a B2C company, and things become yet more challenging. There is good news, though.
Digital marketing tools and platforms can enable you to expand your reach, engage with potential clients throughout Ireland, the EU, the US, and in other markets, and grow your business. Of course, it can be difficult to determine just what digital marketing techniques and tactics you should employ. What works for B2C companies is often not as effective for B2B businesses. Add in the fact that your audience is made up of highly educated CEOs, business owners, and decision-makers, and things become more complicated.
In this guide, we’ll explore 27 tips to help you make the most out of digital marketing to grow your medical device business.
- Publish Valuable Reports: One of the most important considerations when it comes to building a successful medical device business is to publish content of value to your customers. In particular, reports and white papers provide your audience with the means to gain insight into device specifics and use cases and connect those with their own organisation or patient needs. However, it’s vital that you make the content you publish as valuable as possible. It needs to clearly communicate the device’s benefits, how it helps patients overcome challenges and hurdles, and the ways that it helps improve health outcomes.
- Blog about Development: You mightn’t immediately recognise it, but a powerful tool at your disposal is the development experience. By blogging about the development process, challenges, hurdles, and ‘ah-ha!’ moments associated with the device, you can educate your audience, while also providing a more personal face for your business. Blog posts are unique in that they allow businesses to take on the persona of a single person. As such, your organisation becomes more human, and easier to relate to, while the post itself helps to capture the attention of your audience.
- Deliver Video Content: Few digital marketing mediums offer the same value as video content. You can use video in any number of ways, but in a B2B setting, it is best used as an educational tool to inform potential companies about the capabilities and benefits of the medical device in question. Video content can and should be incorporated into other areas of digital marketing, as well, such as social media marketing and email marketing.
- Make Your Content Shareable: Locking your content down might seem like a good idea. After all, you need to protect your company’s intellectual property, right? Actually, that’s the wrong decision. Make your content shareable – provide links to social media platforms to allow your readers/viewers to share by text, by messenger app, and in other ways. A single share can greatly amplify your reach, getting your content in front of other prospective buyers. Again, making your content shareable is something that can be done in almost any digital format. Include links in an email message, encourage your social media followers to re-post, and include sharing icons with blog posts to help spread your content far and wide.
- Ensure Your Content Is Reputable: While the Internet has given everyone access to a huge amount of information while allowing everyone with digital access to share their opinion, too often, these opinions are often untrustworthy, uninformed, or outright misleading. Make sure that your content is reputable and trustworthy. How do you do this? Because B2B purchasers and executives put more faith in information that comes from professional associations and industry groups, incorporate relevant data from these sources and then cite them appropriately. It’s all about building trust with your audience and ensuring that you look reputable and trustworthy.
- Create a Mailing List: Content marketing is much simpler to accomplish successfully when you can guarantee that your audience is actually receiving what you create. The easiest way to do this is by creating an opt-in mailing list that allows people to subscribe for updates, to download reports and research, access e-books, and more. This also allows you to market directly to those individuals through the email address they provide during the sign-up process. However, you need to go a bit further here and actually divide up your list into relevant sections to better market to individual needs.}
- Use Case Studies: While reports and research offer a lot of value, case studies can also provide your readers (and potential customers) with benefits. In fact, they provide a direct look at the challenges faced by a particular patient or group of patients and their doctors, the strategy taken to address those challenges, and the results that were achieved by using your medical device(s). Case studies can be offered as email list sign-up incentives on your website, as downloadable content, and in numerous other ways.
- Go Native: Chances are good that you’ll be marketing your device(s) in nations where English is not the first language. Native content writing ensures that you’re able to get your message across to your audience in a language that they understand without any miscommunication or loss of meaning that can occur when writing in another language or using a translation programme. Depending on the content type and location, it can even reach beyond decision-makers and purchasers, and reach patients themselves.
- Don’t Make It Self-Serving: Whether we’re discussing blog posts, reports, case studies, or a different type of content entirely, you cannot afford to make it appear self-serving. It should be accurate, informative, and impartial. Otherwise, you risk making your content look like an advertisement, which eliminates most of the trust your recipients would otherwise place in the information.
Social Media Platforms
- Choose the Right Platform: Social media is a critical tool for medical device manufacturers and suppliers, but not all platforms are created equal. Your choice here will play a significant role in your success, or the lack thereof. For instance, LinkedIn is an excellent choice for B2B needs, while Twitter is more focused on news and updates. Instagram is really only beneficial if you have a product that can be marketed through images, and even then, your B2B reach will be limited. Finally, Facebook offers myriad marketing opportunities, and can be as useful for B2B needs as for B2C organisations. Determine where your time and marketing budget are best allocated.
- Connect the Content Dots: Your social media accounts should include more than just periodic posts and product highlights. You should use these channels to connect the dots with your content marketing strategy. Share snippets, quotes, and statistics or other relevant information from your reports, e-books, and other content. Link to those products and make sure that your audience is aware that A) it exists and B) where it can be found. From blog posts to case studies, sharing your content is one of the most essential steps.
- Encourage Audience Engagement: As a medical device supplier, you are uniquely positioned in the world of social media to create audience engagement with your posts. Your audience will include not only decision-makers, CEOs, purchasers, and the like, but also device development experts, medical specialists, and even consumers. By asking for feedback and thoughts, and then actively engaging with those who respond, you can foster a wider conversation that builds your brand and better positions your organisation within the overall industry and in the minds of your audience members.
- Advertise Your Products: B2B companies are not under all of the constraints that apply to B2C firms when it comes to social media marketing. One of those is that you can and should advertise your products in addition to promoting the informative, educational content that you have created. There is nothing wrong with the occasional ad, and Facebook, for example, makes it easy to do within the organisation’s ad management capabilities.
- Encourage Favourable Review Sharing on Social: Online reviews are hugely important, not just for consumers, but for businesses as well. If a business customer leaves a positive review, make sure to share that content through social channels. Yes, it’s a little bit like patting yourself on the back, but it can be an invaluable boost to your success. It’s even more important to encourage your customers to leave reviews, ratings, and feedback on social channels. Again, Facebook has made this simpler to do than many competing networks.
- Ask Questions: Your audience is valuable for more than the potential sale that each organisation represents. They also embody a world of knowledge – start the conversation by asking questions, and then encourage others to chime in with what they think or know. This is about more than just creating buzz. Highly active posts show up in the timelines of more people, so it’s also about creating visibility and bringing additional viewers to your page.
- Use Buyer Personas on Social Media: If you’ve been doing your due diligence, you’ve already built buyer personas for other aspects of your marketing. However, those should carry over to your social media marketing activities. Create posts that resonate with different personas to ensure that you’re maximising your reach and engagement. In many cases, you’ll find that characteristics or qualities that you have already assigned to a particular persona will carry directly over into social media marketing tools, including things like demographics, geographic location, and more.
- Target, Target, Target: It’s important that you understand that you cannot use the same ad copy with everyone in your wider audience. Each segment has different needs, expectations, requirements, and motivations. Use tools like Facebook’s Ad Manager to narrow the focus for each of your ads so that you’re reaching a highly specific subset of your wider audience. This ensures that you get the most traction from the ad, reduces your spending, and drives more value.
- Reach out to Physicians, Surgeons, and Other Medical Professionals: While you might not sell directly to medical professionals, they are part of your wider audience. Demand from physicians, surgeons, and others, will influence the decisions of medical organisations. By reaching out to these professionals through social media, you make them aware that your device exists, and have the opportunity to begin educating them about how it works and what benefits it can offer their patients.
- Create Compelling Subject Lines: Your first, and often only chance to engage recipients is the subject line of the email. Make sure that your subject lines are engaging, evocative, even humorous or curiosity-inciting. Do not make them seem spammy, overtly sales-oriented, or click bait-like. A good subject line will be all that’s necessary to get the recipient to open the email and read your content.
- Be Personal: No one likes receiving impersonal emails, even when dealing with B2B marketing. Chances are good that if you’re sending a company an email about your medical device, you can probably find the name of the person who will be reading the message. Take the time to personalise the message. That applies doubly if you already have some sort of relationship with the organisation.
- Write for Mobile Devices: The shift to mobile is not just affecting the world of consumers, it’s also affecting the business world. Today, there’s more than a 50% chance that your email will be displayed on some sort of mobile device, so make sure that your content is formatted for a smaller screen. What does that mean? Use short, concise sentences. Avoid cluttering the email up with too many images. Get directly to your value proposition without a lot of hemming and hawing.
- Link Out: Your email message is a chance to do more than make the point implicit in your subject line. It’s also an opportunity to drive traffic to a wide range of digital destinations. Make sure that you use this chance effectively. Link out to your website, to blog posts, to opt-in pages so that your recipient can download information and reports, to your social media channels so they can connect with you there, and to other online destinations. Use a combination of embedded links in relevant anchor text, as well as direct links, such as in your signature. Not only are these additional chances to build traffic, but they can also add to the relevance and trustworthiness of your content and even offer additional value.
- Use Calls to Action: Your email message is more than just a foot in the virtual door. It should drive action. The recipient should read the email and then contact you for more information, sign up for a list, check out your educational content, or take another action. The best way to ensure that your email actually drives your recipient to act is to use relevant calls to action throughout. These should tie into the purpose of the email in the first place and give clear instructions about what you want them to do.
- Use a Real ‘From’ Address: How much trust do you put in an email from email@example.com? For most people the answer is ‘very little’. If the “from” address of your email is not a real person, you automatically increase the chances that the recipient will delete the message without opening it. This is doubly true in today’s world, where business recipients are on increasing alert for phishing emails and other threats. By using a ,from’ address that includes your name (or at least the name of some who actually works for the company), you increase trust and help show that the email is genuine.
- Use Email Workflows to Your Advantage: An email workflow is nothing more than a message that is automatically triggered after the recipient takes a specific action. For instance, suppose someone watches a training video about your medical device, how it works, and how it is used for patients. In order to view the video, the person must first provide their email address. Once they finish the video, the first email in a sequence is triggered to walk them through the next desired step in the process, usually culminating with an order.
- Make an Ask with Your Workflows: With the final email in a workflow sequence, you should make an ask. It could be setting up an appointment to speak with a sales rep. It could be signing up for a product demonstration. It could be virtually anything – make the ask part of the final email when you have built trust with the recipient throughout the workflow process. The previous messages will have built goodwill and positioned your organisation as one of authority in the medical device industry, and the ask will take things to the next logical step.
- Segment Your Email List: Want to increase open rates and boost traction? Segment your email marketing list so that you can focus on each segment and provide content that is relevant for where they are within the overall sales funnel. Remember, there’s no longer a one-size-fits-all or even fits-most approach here. It’s imperative that you not only personalise the header of your message to the recipient, but also other elements. Segmentation allows you to do just that.
Three bonus tips to help you harness the capabilities of digital marketing for your medical device business.
- Interactive Tools: Medical device manufacturers and suppliers are in a unique position to create and deliver interactive tools that help prospects better understand their product offering, how it works, and the benefits it can deliver. This goes well beyond reports. Interactive content such as live chats, online webinars, and the like can provide greater traction by offering more value to your audience. Emerging trends in this area include augmented reality and virtual reality, with an ever-expanding range of tools that can be created.
- Go Beyond Photos: Pictures are great. However, they’re pretty limited, particularly when it comes to helping a prospect understand your medical device(s) work. Instead, ramp up your efforts through 3D models, videos of the device in operation, computer-designed graphics that explore not just the exterior, but how everything comes together to create the device. Think exploded views that show parts and points of interaction, for instance. A small investment in graphic design or animation can yield big results.
- Tutorials and Assisted Learning Modules: One of the challenges that physicians face when it comes to medical devices is learning how they work, how they are installed or applied, and more. Creating tutorials and assisted learning modules delivers a significant amount of value, reduces the learning curve, and immediately positions your firm as an authority in the minds of those who complete the modules/tutorials. By making these self-led, you also help your audience members save time and provide the ability to learn for those who might not be able to attend webinars or presentations.
Build your reputation and sales
For medical device manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland, digital tools offer the means to grow your business, particularly by positioning your organisation as an authority and delivering more value than competitors. The tips above can help to build your reputation and sales within Ireland, but also position you for success on the global stage and drive demand for your devices within other nations.
Of course, it can be difficult to run a successful medical device company and foster a thriving digital footprint. If you are struggling here, we invite you to get in touch with us to learn more about our services and our ability to help you achieve success. Call us on 01 808 1301 or visit us at www.emarkable.ie.