An A-Z Guide
Medical device manufacturers typically target a very niche audience with specific needs. The Baby Boomer population is aging and more Americans than ever suffer from chronic lifestyle and other diseases. Hospitals need new robotic equipment and other devices to continue providing exceptional care. Reaching these niche audiences in new and engaging ways is critical to long-term success.
As the need for more medical devices rises, so follows competition. Standing out in today’s cluttered marketplace is critical. The “new age” of marketing is here, and in some cases requires a pivot or change to the traditional marketing strategies of yore.
To help you build a rock solid medical device marketing strategy, we’ve compiled this comprehensive A to Z guide. It walks you through the essential components of a successful marketing strategy in the 21st century, explaining what is important (and why), along with actionable advice you can use right now to get results.
This guide will examine the following key components of successful medical device marketing:
Your Brand should be knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable.
Your Website should showcase your brand and your medical devices.
Landing Pages should help your website convert traffic into leads.
Your Blog generates traffic, builds trust, and demonstrates your thought leadership on areas of importance to your prospects.
Social Media makes your brand accessible to customers where they spend their time.
Email Marketing keeps you top of mind and gives more opportunities for you to provide value to your audience.
Online Advertising puts you front and center to showcase your products.
Offline Advertising takes advantage of tried and true paid media and PR.
Events provide an opportunity to expand your reach and add more leads to your digital funnel.
Distributors are powerful allies to drive revenue.
Budget Planning helps you maximize every dollar of your marketing investment.
The world of medical device marketing is an expansive one. Everything from tongue depressors and portable oxygen to pacemakers and lab equipment fall under this umbrella. Reaching the right prospects with the right message is critical to generating real results through your medical device marketing strategy.
Let’s dig into the key components of marketing medical devices in the 21st century that deserve your attention:
We often take for granted those ubiquitous brand names that are synonymous with their products. Kleenex, Xerox, Band-Aid. But think about that for just one second.
These brand names have become synonymous with their associated product categories.
That is the power of strong branding. The right brand message can elevate your company to the next level. Poor branding decisions can cause irreparable damage.
Your brand should exude knowledge, trust, and reliability. In the world of medicine, there isn’t room for failure. Every piece of marketing or messaging should consistently support your brand message, or risk confusing your customers (and sending them elsewhere).
A common branding mistake in any industry is to assume or define your brand by what your own stakeholders “think” it is or should be to customers.
In many ways, your brand isn’t defined by you, not in the way you might think. Instead, your brand is defined by your customers, and how you make them feel. Do you make them feel safe and secure? Protected? Inspired? Energized? How do you do that?
Why do people choose your company over your competitors? What truly makes you different? Once you’ve identified what makes you different, put that through the wringer to understand just how specifically you are different (and confirm that you really are, in fact, different from the competition — many companies, unfortunately, are not).
To answer these questions, consider creating brand personas that get to the heart of the situations and frustrations of your most common target customers. What makes their lives easier? What motivates them? Fully-realized brand personas can help you target your messaging and ensure your message resonates and drives action from your prospects.
When defining your brand messaging, honesty is essential (transparency is also becoming increasingly common as businesses seek to “humanize” their brands and appeal to a skeptical generation of millennials who are gradually ascending into decision-making roles).
The days of overly-formal, third person brand messaging are over. Speak to your customers. “You” [PROSPECT} are struggling with X, Y, and Z. “We” [MEDICAL DEVICE MANUFACTURER] can help.
Think about the visuals that will resonate with your audience and use those to represent your brand. If you’re a large, international company, those images may include your facilities, warehouse, and the actual medical devices you produce.
For smaller medical device manufacturers or those whose brands hinge on their people, visuals that include your employees and leaders themselves, and demonstrate the care and concern they have for your customers, can also serve an emotional wallop and endear prospects to your brand.
Logos are sometimes an afterthought for organizations. They can be expensive to develop with a seasoned professional, but they are worth it. The right logo becomes synonymous with your brand, and you can use it for years and years. Many (many) logos are forgettable and generic. A designer and strategist who specializes in logo development can help get to a logo that truly personifies your brand.
Do you remember the early- to mid-2000s when many company websites were just simple promotional brochures for their products or services? Those days are thankfully over.
Today’s websites are powerful inbound lead generation tools that serve as the central hub for all your online marketing efforts. Every marketing tactic you employ will serve to send traffic to your website. Then it’s the job of your website to convert that traffic into leads, or for eCommerce sites, sales.
Unlike in the “online brochure” days, your website should not just be a bullet list of technical details about your medical devices, but should share the right information about your products and your people to convert website visitors by:
Signing up for your email newsletter
Calling to schedule a consultation
Messaging with you in real-time with additional questions through live chat
In the case of eCommerce sites, actually make a purchase
Combined with a solid inbound marketing strategy, your website will generate more, better leads for your sales team to convert into sales.
It would be great to say that a website is like a well-made washing machine: Built to last for the next 10 to 20 years.
It would also be a lie.
Reality is that today’s websites have a shelf life of two to three years at best, and keeping your site up to date with the latest UX guidelines and behind-the-scenes development is critical.
Not only is up-to-date code critical to keep your website secure from hackers, today’s purchasers and decision makers are simply too demanding. They expect your site to impress them. If it’s difficult to find the information they need or looks out of date or old fashioned, they will assume your products are out of date and old fashioned too.
An old website can kill your brand.
As of Q3 2018, more than half of all website traffic is mobile traffic. That means potentially half the people visiting your website are doing it on an iPhone or Android device. That’s up from just over 30% in 2015.
Your website must be crafted for mobile audiences in order to convert. That typically means:
Mobile-optimized images that don’t take forever to load. Don’t leave potential customers hanging while all the images on your website load. Be sure to optimize images for mobile so that your site is lightning fast.
Short, action-oriented copy. Scrolling through long pages can be frustrating for mobile users and desktop/laptop users alike. When a prospective customer is vetting your company, they’re probably vetting at least one other company as well. Do you really think they want to read a novel on your site? Unless it is providing a ton of value (like this article!), keep the copy on your website short and impactful.
Strong calls to action. Let website visitors know what you want them to do next. Do you have an eBook or another resource that can solve a challenge that appears on a page of your site? Send traffic to it! Does it make sense for visitors to contact you directly with questions? Let them know how!
Landing pages are some of the most powerful pages on your website. They’re where the “magic” happens, and website traffic or visitors are converted into leads. Craft effective landing pages and those website visitors become leads you can nurture and ultimately convert into sales.
Landing pages serve a single purpose. Their content should be highly specific to that purpose. Don’t beat around the bush; show and tell visitors why they should take action and make it super simple for them to do so. Most landing pages serve one of the following purposes:
Sign up for your email newsletter or subscribe to your blog
Gain access to premium content like eBooks, checklists, whitepapers, videos, or interactive tools (think way beyond the typical blog post)
Ask a specific question on a particular product or service, or contact a member of your team for more information
Whitepapers, eBooks, reports, and other premium content demonstrate your expertise and illuminate the value you can provide to prospective clients or customers. Think about the content you read and consume. That provided value for you, right? It made your life easy in one way or another. You want to inspire those feelings in your prospects. Impress them so much with the content you give them for free (well, typically in exchange for their email address), they decide that your medical devices (in other words, the stuff they have to pay for!) must also be excellent.
In many ways, landing pages are the most simple pages on your website.
Here is the breakdown of essential elements on most landing pages:
Explain the “What” - What is it that you want me to do?
Detail the “Why” - How is this relevant or important to me, and why is it worthy of my email address?
A basic opt-in form requiring necessary information to gain access to the download.
Perhaps a bit more detail on your “why” and how your product is so compelling to prospective customers.
In lieu of a significant amount of written content, some successful landing pages include a short video that details the “why” instead.
To actually deliver the premium content you may be promoting on your landing page, you may have it redirect to a basic thank-you page after clicking “submit” on your opt-in form with a link to download. Or, you could set up your email provider to automatically send an email with the link once someone hits the “submit” button. Or do both!
Be sure to connect your opt-in forms to a well-organized email list so that you can send any follow up message and nurture the lead accordingly. This can make a significant impact on your ability to nurture that lead and ultimately convert it into a sale.
Typically, creating a landing page isn’t enough to gain an impressive number of new leads. Creating the landing page and premium content is often just the beginning. The next step is to actually get people to your shiny new landing pages.
To be clear, you are likely going to get some organic traffic to landing pages. This is especially true for “contact us” pages and pages where prospects can request more information about a product. If your website currently gets a significant amount of traffic or has an effective blog content strategy, you may also be getting some significant organic traffic to your landing pages.
But in the case of premium content especially, you’ll often need a promotion strategy. These are just a few of the ways to send traffic to your landing pages:
Social media posts
Paid social media ad campaigns
Paid online search campaigns (eg. Google)
At their most basic, blog posts are online articles that talk about specific topics. They are sometimes very broad in their topics (and can sometimes be quite long — think, this post), or can tackle a highly specific topic.
One of the most important things to note about blogs is that they need to always provide value.
When you provide value in your blog, it goes to work for you. Specifically, a well written and curated blog can:
Position your company (and your leadership or other employees) as an expert and leader in medical devices
Introduce your brand and products to new prospective customers
Keep your company top-of-mind with current or past customers
Drive more organic traffic to your website through search engine optimized content (SEO)
Think about your prospective customers. What challenges are they facing? How could your knowledge (or products) make their lives easier? What relevant information about your team or company would help paint a valuable portrait about your company and how you can help your prospective customers?
Today’s search engines are highly sophisticated at producing the most relevant results based on the user’s questions. With the prevalence of smart speakers and other devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo, online search is increasingly going “vocal” as well. If your content can answer the questions people type into their computers or ask their devices, you will likely get excellent results from your blog investment.
Let’s be blunt, writing blog posts does not equate to writing the next great American novel. Blog writing isn’t that kind of writing. But it does require a unique skill set to effectively craft blogs that drive organic traffic and help convert traffic into leads.
Many companies struggle to identify topics they should write about for their blog. In fact, the topics you should write about are likely all around you — particularly among your sales and customer service teams. Specifically, here are the types of topics you can tackle in your medical device blog:
Complaints or issues people have with various medical devices, and how to avoid them
For B2C medical device manufacturers, do-it-yourself home treatments to alleviate common medical ailments (think physical therapy-type stretches or exercises, or perhaps tips for better sleep, or keys to a sleep-supporting bedroom, etcetera)
Educate prospective customers on cutting-edge technologies in the field of your medical devices — what’s the latest in your industry (and how are you at the forefront)?
Share media coverage, important new hires and other company news to give a glimpse inside your organization and help humanize your brand
Keep thinking — what are common objections your sales team hears from prospects? What complaints or issues do customers share with your customer service team? That’s where to start!
Posting blogs a few times a year is unlikely to help drive leads for your business. That’s because Google tends to favor websites that are constantly producing new, valuable content. Their algorithm is becoming increasingly sophisticated at recognizing valuable content and promoting that content with high search results. So instead of randomly posting a few times a year, craft an editorial calendar and commit to blogging consistently at a certain pattern every month. Whether it’s one, two, four, or even more posts per month, stick to that plan, write and publish consistently. If your internal staff lacks the resources to produce high-quality content each month, it can be a time-saver and cost-saver to employ the services of a professional marketing agency to assist you.
Once you’ve published content, share it on your social media profiles (and not only on your company profiles — encourage your employees to share on their own profiles, particularly LinkedIn).
More than two billion people are active on Facebook. LinkedIn has more than 562 million users. Instagram? More than 800 million.
You can probably get the point here. You’re on social media. Your customers are on social media. So your brand should be engaging your customers and prospects on social media!
An effective social media strategy engages your customers and prospects, further provides value, and builds trust through interactions and sharing of content that is relevant, engaging and helpful.
In the early days of your inbound marketing efforts, social media can serve as a major driver of traffic to your website. It also has the potential to humanize your brand and build strong ties to prospects before they even visit your website.
Unsure what type of content to post to social media? Here’s a simple list to get you started:
Case studies of patients who have used your products (these can be especially potent if on video — but of course be mindful of HIPAA regulations)
Links to your blog or other content (including landing pages)
Information that answers questions you may get about your products (essentially making your FAQ “live”) — having a member of your team talk about the answer in a short video can be particularly impactful
Pictures or videos of your products, including new product releases
Surveys — social media has almost entirely killed the traditional cold call-based market research industry. Today’s social media users want to share feedback, so give them an outlet and well-written survey to share their input with you
Fun stories, kudos, or other messages about your employees (eg. volunteer work, work anniversaries) can help personify and humanize your brand
Ask questions to get people talking.
Let’s keep this simple: Don’t try to publish too many overt promotions of your company or products on social media and pass it off as “content.” Social media users are increasingly savvy. They understand that ads are part of using social media. But they do NOT like it when companies betray their trust by sneaking ads into their everyday feeds. If you want to run an ad, run an ad. But respect your followers enough to put ads only in their proper place. Focus on helpful, engaging content when posting to social media and your audience will thank you.
For many companies, particularly B2C, a certain degree of negative online feedback is an inevitability. People will leave you negative reviews on Facebook, Google, or elsewhere. That’s their right, and it is absolutely in your best interest to not try and defensively argue back. Ever. Nor is it appropriate to delete a post or comment that is critical of your brand, unless it is inflammatory, uses profanity, or attempts to attack someone personally. If you remove a simple comment or post that just happens to be critical, you should assume that people saw the post. If they subsequently notice that it’s gone, it will reflect poorly on your business. It could also result in retaliatory action from the person who posted it (which could unnecessarily escalate the situation).
Instead, see critical posts or comments as a good thing — an opportunity to win back a frustrated customer. Avoid getting into too much detail on social media, as it can result in a back and forth that is unnecessarily public. Instead, a simple response to the effect of:
[NAME], thank you for sharing your feedback. We’re sorry you had such a negative experience with our products. Please contact us at [PHONE] so that we can remedy this situation for you.
Feel free to change the message as you see fit; however, the basic length and gist of the message is clear. Show that you hear their feedback and value it, and that you want to turn around the experience. Most of the time, people are blowing off steam by posting on social media and they may not actually follow through by calling you. Regardless, you did the right thing, and anyone who stumbles upon that post will see that your company cares enough to address and try to fix problems for customers.
A social media strategy can help maximize your time and efforts on each platform. Think back to the personas we talked about earlier. Which platforms are most popular with these personas? Where are you most likely to reach and engage them?
Focus your efforts on those platforms that are most likely to engage your customers and prospective customers to make the biggest impact. For a B2B company, that place is likely LinkedIn (although some B2C companies can also have significant success on that platform). For B2C companies, that platform is most likely Facebook or Instagram. Particularly if your resources are limited, investing time and effort on those platforms that are most likely to generate ROI is worthwhile.
Once you’ve identified the platforms where you should focus your efforts, use an editorial calendar to ensure you’re crafting engaging content that is likely to resonate and drive action among your personas.
Don’t focus too much on gaining “likes.” It’s important to monitor social media metrics overall, but rather than focusing on likes and comments, pay closer attention to website traffic from social media platforms. This metric is much more indicative of your social media strategy’s success in creating leads.
Now that you’ve built a website that brings attention, blog content and social media strategies that drive organic traffic, and landing pages to convert that traffic into leads, it’s time to get to work.
Get ready to nurture those leads you’ve gathered.
Prospective customers who downloaded premium content felt that your company and the information you provide is worthwhile enough to welcome your emails in their inboxes. Prospects who visited your website for one reason or another and opted in directly to receive your emails are extremely interested. They saw that you had an email newsletter and felt confident that the value you would provide in that newsletter was worth sharing their email addresses.
Taking advantage of that trust and interest without spamming or perpetually selling to your subscribers can start converting those leads into sales.
Your emails will be competing with many others in the inbox for the attention of your subscribers. Here’s how to craft emails that stand out and engage:
Subject lines that are engaging or even clever without being cloying or spammy.
Clear, concise content that makes a point or offers value without turning off subscribers. More than half of all emails are read on mobile devices, so keep it short and sweet.
Relevant links to your website content, including blogs and other landing pages, can reinforce the value add and further build trust with your subscribers.
Specific calls to action help illuminate the “why” of your email — what do you want people to do after reading this message? Make it clear and easy to do.
Personalize emails by including recipients’ names and ensuring the “sender” of your corporate emails is an actual person.
Your regular email newsletter is a nice way to stay top of mind and continue providing value to subscribers. An even more powerful way to convert leads into sales can be through automated email workflows.
When a prospect downloads one of your premium content pieces, they are likely at a pinnacle of interest in your company. Your content or landing page piqued their curiosity enough to entice them to download. They’ve probably read or watched your content, and their overall sentiment toward your brand is positive.
Take advantage of that positive sentiment.
An email workflow includes timed delivery of strategic messages that are sent after someone downloads premium content. Often, the first email in a sequence is a thank you for downloading.
But the second through fourth or fifth emails (some workflows are longer, but generally a sequence of four or five emails can be impactful) are where you can really shine. Offer more, complementary value to the messaging in your premium content. Include strong calls to action to even more of your content that will make your prospects’ lives easier.
And in the final email of your sequence, including some sort of “ask.” Maybe it’s a phone call with one of your sales reps. Maybe it’s a discount code that’s good for the next 30 days only. Your previous emails will have provided consistent, strong value to your prospects for potentially a period of weeks. These prospects, whether consciously or not, will feel that they “owe” you. The conversion rate on an “ask” like this at the completion of an email workflow is often significantly better than the conversion rate on other traditional sales and marketing efforts. Adding email workflows to your lead generation efforts can lead to a very busy sales team!
Crafting an online presence and inbound marketing strategy that employs the tactics discussed above is an extremely powerful step toward generating more revenue for your business. Adding online advertising to the mix can take your results to the next level.
In addition to helping you stay top of mind with visitors to your website (see “retargeting ads” below), online advertising allows you to get your strongest messages in front of new prospects you may not have reached otherwise. Together with landing pages designed to convert, online advertising is one of the most powerful ways to generate leads.
Following are the most common forms of online advertising.
Search engine ads, oftentimes called pay-per-click ads (PPC). PPC ads are the ads you see at the head of search results on Google, Bing, or other search engines. These ads are purchased using keyword research to determine which keyword strings are likely to be searched by your ideal prospects. These ads can be especially powerful because they are designed to appear when your prospects are ready to take action and are searching for solutions.
Display ads. These ads are what were commonly known as “banner ads” for years — they’re the ads that appear at the top of web pages and include some sort of visual or graphic, along with very short copy. Sometimes they are square and in a sidebar, other times they’re a part of the website scroll or feed, or are positioned at the very top of the page. Display ads work by being a bit intrusive. You can’t miss them, and their goal is to nose their way into your online experience with a compelling-enough offer to drive you to act.
Social media ads. Ever wonder how social media sites can stay alive when they have hundreds of millions of users who don’t pay a thing? It’s all about the ad revenue! Sites like Facebook (most famously, or notoriously as the case may be) use your demographic and behavioral information to entice advertisers to promote their wares to their users. The simplest of social media ads will “boost” your company page’s content so that it’s displayed in front of more of your followers (data suggests that your Facebook posts will only reach about 2 to 5% of your followers organically). More sophisticated ads mimic the ability of — or even surpass — Google PPC or display ads. Videos, slideshows, and other forms of media make up some of the most creative and successful Facebook ads.
Mobile ads. Since people are spending so much time on their phones, it only makes sense that advertisers would devise ways to reach those users. Mobile ads are designed specifically for small screens, increasing the likelihood of your ads performing well.
Retargeting. What happens after someone leaves your website without opting in or buying anything? Well, typically...nothing. Unless you implement retargeting ads. These ads install code on your website that “tracks” users after they visit your site for a set period of time. Then, it will display ads for your company to these users to entice them to return to your site, opt into an offer, or make a purchase. They effectively keep you top of mind and reinforce your message to convert someone who “bounced” from your site into a lead.
Native advertising. Have you ever seen a “sponsored story” tag on popular websites? These stories are ads — basically an online version of the old “advertorials” you still see in magazines and newspapers today. Other forms of native advertising include paid “guest posts” or placement of sponsored infographics and content on other sites as a means of promoting your business.
But simply running ads isn’t enough to maximize your ROI. Keep these best practices in mind:
Focus on quality, not volume. Both Google and Facebook (as well as other social platforms) can target ads with pinpoint accuracy. Target people regardless of where they are in the sales cycle. Target people who have previously visited your website. Target only those who are close to making a purchasing decision. Whatever your specific goal for a particular ad campaign, it is likely Google or Facebook can help you achieve it. So rather than reaching the most people, make sure you’re putting in a lot of effort and focus into reaching the right people.
Master the essentials. In order to maximize ROI, your ad should focus on the following elements:
Keyword selection and tracking
Bidding prices and thresholds
Landing page strategy and creation (to convert ad clicks into leads)
Campaign management, including performance tracking and analysis
Pay attention to the right metrics. Analyzing the right metrics will help you maximize ROI and get the best possible results. Typically, the most important metrics include:
Cost per click
Number of conversions
Cost per conversion
Keep an eye out for high click through rates but low conversions. This could indicate your ad copy or placement is on track, but that something is amiss with your landing page and its ability to convert.
Online marketing is the best way to reach and engage your prospective customers today, and is being employed successfully by medical device manufacturers across the globe. But offline advertising still offers tremendous opportunity to reach your prospective customers as well.
Here are some key offline advertising tactics and how they could positively impact your medical device marketing strategy:
Although the newspaper industry is on the decline, print ads in newspapers across the country can be successful, particularly for B2C medical device manufacturers who are looking to reach an older audience.
Aside from that number one standby, niche magazines that reach your personas can be effective ways to reach prospective customers. For B2B medical device manufacturers, trade publications are another excellent resource.
Besides the ability to directly publish your ads, establishing relationships with print publications can also help benefit your organization through public relations. Depending on the size of the publication, you may get to know editors or writers and be consulted as an expert for articles, or even get to guest write articles for their publications down the road.
Depending on your specific business, billboards can be an excellent way to reach a large number of people in a cost-efficient way. And while the total dollar cost of a month-long billboard placement can seem high, when you compare the cost against the amount of impressions you get for it, it can oftentimes be a surprisingly good value.
Traditional media advertising, particularly television, requires a fairly substantial upfront investment. You’ll typically need to purchase a high frequency of ads over a long period of time.
Of course, most companies aren’t aiming for a million dollar 60-second commercial during the Super Bowl (though some people say that they’re still a great deal). There are other ways to advertise on television. Morning shows in select markets often offer segments where “experts” are brought in to answer questions or talk about their products. Locally-owned or cable networks typically have lower rates than the “big three” network stations in your area. Getting creative can maximize your budget and results when it comes to television.
Radio and television are very similar in that they both require a decent investment, high frequency, and long commitment to get results. Radio stands out in that it can be a cost-efficient, powerful way to use traditional media to reach B2B prospective customers, in addition to B2C.
At a local level, news channels and other “business-like” stations are a great choice for many B2B organizations. Muzak, Sirius XM, and other “canned” radio providers are also very common in offices and offer advertising opportunities for medical device manufacturers and other organizations.
Opportunity also exists to “buy” a placed interview on medically-themed radio shows, or even to buy a segment of time to host your “own” radio show. On local stations, these types of shows are hosted, produced, and guided by a radio veteran, with members of your team as “co-hosts” or “guests” answering questions from callers and talking about your products. Because it’s on a radio “show,” it can feel less like an ad and more like a teaching session, providing immense value for your potential customers and building a significant amount of trust and brand awareness.
Well-crafted direct mail is not dead. People used to complain about their physical mailbox overflowing with direct mail, but nowadays it’s their email inbox that is overflowing! Now that so many companies are focused on email marketing these days, it creates excellent opportunities to stand out in contrast through creative, thoughtful direct mail.
Do you remember how exciting it was to get a piece of mail when you were a kid? To some extent (well, aside from bills!) that excitement still exists. A targeted direct mail campaign to some of your high-level prospects can be extremely powerful. Even a mass campaign can be effective with strong creative.
Trade shows are an important part of your sales and marketing efforts and likely have been for quite some time. They’re the backbone of the medical device industry, as well as many others.
But have you thought about how trade shows and other events can be integrated into your digital marketing efforts? Rather than something to check off a list because “we’ve always had a table at that show,” trade shows can be a powerful source of new leads.
Maximizing the return on your trade show investment hinges on you collecting email addresses or other contact info from prospects. Here are some creative ways to make this happen:
Ask for email signups. Promote your email newsletter and the value you pack in there, then ask directly for people to sign up.
Promote premium content. If you have premium content created that is relevant to the theme, topic, or attendees at the trade show, promote it directly. You can even have a tablet or laptop at your table where people can sign up to get a copy of the premium content right there (TIP: Create a separate landing page with specific messaging for trade show attendees).
Offer a contest. EVERYONE loves a good contest. Give away something fun or valuable to really ramp up submissions. Promote your contest using the trade show hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to get more people over to your table. (Just about every conference and trade show today has its own hashtag. The event itself, speakers, vendors, and attendees will post and add that hashtag so that others at the event can find relevant content.)
Be sure to tag your signups so that you understand exactly who’s on that list and can follow up appropriately. As an example, perhaps you’re at a dermatology trade show — be sure to tag everyone who signs up at that trade show appropriately so you can separate them from, say, signups at a cardiology symposium, so you can tailor content specifically for them in the future.
How does your sales team typically follow up after a trade show? Rather than the templated “It was a pleasure meeting you” email with a straight sell that gets very little traction (because let’s face it, everyone is sending those boring sales emails), your medical device company can stand out and significantly ramp up ROI with a targeted follow up plan following trade shows. Here’s are just a few ways:
Use a custom email sequence to follow up, sharing highly relevant content to the topic or theme of the trade show (this could be blog content, video content, or premium content you’ve already created, or even a video or blog post by your team recapping the event), provide more and more value until the final message, which asks for the call or meeting.
Your sales team should send personalized LinkedIn connection requests to each person they met at the tradeshow. Then, engage with their content on LinkedIn, post your own content that is relevant to them (maybe even tagging those individuals when appropriate) and continue to nurture the connection through content and engagement.
Although you may see your distributors as a necessary cog in the wheel, they are a powerful customer in their own right. Your distributors have the ultimate, direct connection to many of your end user customers.
Just as you craft content on your blog, emails, and social media to help your end user customers, you should also craft specific content to help your distributors.
Part of your job is to help your distributors sell more product. You’re happy, they’re happy. And your end user customers are happy.
First, start with your distributors as if they were any other group of customer: create a persona that digs into their challenges, what makes their lives easier, what they hope to gain by selling your product, and more. Think about what frustrates them with other medical device manufacturers specifically. How can you stand out for doing the right things instead of the wrong things? How can you help them tackle those challenges through your digital marketing, building stronger relationships and making their lives easier to ultimately sell more product?
Once your persona is crafted (you may even have more than one distributor persona based on your specific distributors), it’s time to craft a separate content and distribution plan for them. What type of content will achieve your goal of making it easier for them to sell? What types of content will build more trust and affinity for your brand with distributors, thereby increasing their likelihood to promote your products over other medical device manufacturers?
After you’ve crafted a targeted content plan, it’s time to lay out how you’ll distribute that content to effectively reach and drive action among your distributors. If you haven’t already, setting up an email list or segment specifically for distributors is essential. This will allow you to consistently reach them with targeted, valuable content in their inboxes.
Your content and distribution plan will be completely separate from your plan for end user customers, but potentially equally as important.
It’s no secret: digital marketing and online advertising are expensive (as is traditional advertising). Ultimately, you have to spend money to make money. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw endless amounts of money at each tactic and assume (or worse, hope) it will result in a plethora of sales.
It just doesn’t work that way.
Savvy budgeting helps maximize your investment to get the best possible results. Rather than looking at your marketing budget as a “cost,” look at it as an investment. The content you produce for your blog is likely to result in more, qualified leads for YEARS. Investing in creating and promoting that content now will literally earn your business leads and sales for potentially a very long time.
Keeping that in mind, properly allocating your budget is a smart way to avoid spending more than is required for maximum results.
The short answer is...it depends. There are several factors that you should consider when deciding how much to spend on digital marketing and online advertising. A good place to start is by your company growth goals. What are you hoping to achieve? Then work backwards to determine what tactics and what spend are most likely to help you achieve them.
If you’re a brand-new company, your initial budget will most likely far outweigh your ongoing marketing budget. Consider the following elements that will likely be a part of your initial marketing implementation budget:
Branding strategy and development
Logo development and design
Website design, buildout, and content creation
Social media and marketing automation platform buildout
Once you have the foundational elements of a sound marketing strategy in place, your budget will then shift to focus primarily on ongoing strategic implementation of specific marketing campaigns and tactics (like many of those mentioned in the previous chapters above).
As your business grows and changes, your marketing will evolve as well. Setting a budget or even a strategy is an art and a science, and often requires a malleable approach. Understand that in a constantly-changing economy, your marketing needs and budget will evolve too.
As a general rule of thumb, ClearPivot recommends spending between 5% and 10% of your total company revenue on marketing. For younger companies or companies with more ambitious growth goals, that number should skew more toward 10% of total revenue. For more established companies and/or companies that are satisfied with their current rate of growth, 5% should be sufficient.
Partnering with a marketing firm on a retainer basis allows an often fixed budget, which makes it easier for your accountants to allocate and account for marketing funds. It also includes the flexibility to properly allocate those resources each month, quarter, or even year to allow for changes and fluctuations in the marketplace. Having the resource of an experienced marketing team who understands medical device marketing can protect you and best use your resources to maximize results.
Crafting and implementing a strategic marketing plan for your medical device business has never been more important. As you can see by the length and detail in this guide, the marketplace is changing, and staying on top of the latest marketing trends is essential for the short- and long-term success of your business.
Your customers are engaging with brands in new, highly personal ways. Whether B2B or B2C, the landscape has changed dramatically from even 10 years ago. Your ability to keep up with your customers and meet them where they are, and with the content they’re seeking, will have a profound impact on your ability to reach your goals or even stay afloat.
The strategies and tactics described in this article require an experienced, skilled marketing team. It is extremely rare to find someone that can implement a robust marketing strategy alone.
ClearPivot can help. Let’s schedule a marketing consultation to discuss your specific business and its marketing goals. Our team is comprised of medical device marketing experts who can dig into your specific situation. We are happy to talk about how we might be able to work together to achieve your business goals.