If you’re after a good example of something ‘ubiquitous’, how about the use of hashtags in brand marketing? These days the humble hashtag is everywhere, but a couple of recent conversations got me thinking that the various ways of using them across different social networks was worthy of a post.
Date posted: 10 October 2017
Where Did All The Metrics Go?
As a pharmaceutical marketer you’d be forgiven for thinking, it’s not worth measuring the success of my digital marketing efforts. Digital’s contribution to sales is so disconnected from pharma’s boots-on-the-ground approach that it doesn’t warrant the effort.
At Method, we strongly challenge this perception. By aligning your business objectives with the right metrics, KPIs and stage of your customer’s journey, you can absolutely measure, optimise and report on the contribution of your digital marketing efforts to sales, and calculate your Return on Investment (ROI) to boot!
In this post, we’ll recommend the key metrics for you to use at each stage of the marketing funnel (top, middle and bottom) and show you how to calculate the ROI of your digital marketing activities.
Helping you look like the marketing rock star you are!
Top of funnel: disease awareness/unmet need
A priority for any launch brand. Educating the market and creating a space for your product is essential. The following metrics disclose how many people are being reached and how engaged they are with your content.
- Reach your target audience in the channels they’re using
- Engage them with relevant, valuable content
- Raise awareness for your campaign
Metrics for the top of the funnel:
- Social likes, shares and following: track the engagement metrics to see what types of content, formats, times of day etc., work best with your target audience
- Unique visitors: monitor your website’s overall traffic — the number of individuals who visit during a given period of time
- Page views: the cumulative number of pages your visitors click on during a given period. Typically, the more page views received the higher the engagement
- Search engine traffic: reflects how well optimised your content is for search A key channel for busy physicians and inquisitive patients
- Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who come to your site and immediately ‘bounce’ back to Google to continue their search. Above 40% means your audience may not be finding the content relevant/useful
If you’re not satisfied with the results, ask yourself:
- Is my content reaching the right audience?
- Have I tested and optimised my content?
- Does my content put audience needs first?
- Does my content address audience needs better than my competitors?
Middle of funnel: consideration/lead generation
Lead generation metrics help track and measure mid-funnel activities in a way that enables you to attribute leads to specific pieces of content.
For example, instead of using your brand site to only sell product (something most physicians will not be ready for), why not create content that moves customers along their buyer journey, from awareness to consideration and one step closer to prescribing your product?
- Drive targeted traffic to your website from search and social channels
- Get that traffic to perform an action on your site e.g. subscribe, download, request
- Begin building a relationship and earning their trust
Metrics for the consideration phase:
- Click-throughs: every piece of content should have a clear and compelling call to action (CTA). In most instances, the CTA will drive your target audiences to your website
- Conversions: usually involves the visitor performing some action on your site. The action you seek and the content provided will align directly with the target audience’s position in the marketing funnel. Google Analytics can set and track:
- Goal completions:
- Newsletter sign-up
- Content downloads
- Video views
- Goal conversion rate: the total number of goal completions divided by the total number of sessions
- Assisted conversions: the monetary value of the conversions assisted by your content. Variant metrics on this include:
- Persistence: how many leads a piece generated and whether these leads resulted in further actions
- Multiple Attribution: lets multiple pieces of content get credit under a multi-touch attribution model
- Time Stamping: the last piece of content a lead viewed prior to converting to an opportunity
- Goal completions:
If you’re not satisfied with the results, ask yourself:
- How clear and compelling are the calls to action for your target audience?
- How high is the perceived value of the conversion offer to your customers?
- How easy/difficult are you making it for people to convert on the site?
- Are you asking for too much in the sign-up forms, or is your conversion tactic [registration button] too hard to find?
Bottom of funnel: sales enablement
Using content in the sales process can be a very effective tool, where pharma sales and marketing functions can work together to deliver real value to customers and the brand.
- Supply leads to the sales team
- Facilitate the sales conversion process
To track how content is affecting sales enablement, monitor sales for leads who receive your content versus those who don’t. Consider:
- Pipeline opportunities generated: use a first-touch attribution model to tally the amount of sales generated because a prospect found your content
- Revenue influenced: determine the amount of revenue generated from content prior to prescribing being initiated
- Sales conversion rate: ideally, you’ll find that sending content to leads builds trust by addressing their objections, pain points, and questions. Consequently, they should prescribe at a higher rate than those who don’t receive your content
- Sales cycle length: if leads who receive content prescribe earlier than those who don’t, you’ll know your content is effective
- Sales size: because each piece of content should help overcome barriers, prescribing more of your product should become apparent
If you’re not satisfied with the results, ask yourself:
- Is my content addressing all identified customer questions, pain points and objections?
- Is my content perceived as credible and trustworthy?
- Does it synergistically support offline conversions by the sales team?
Calculating Your ROI
This is the point at which some pharmaceutical marketers and their agencies may stop.
But not us!
It’s time for you to look like a rock star! Show your boss and your boss’s boss the real value and return on investment you’ve delivered to the brand and business. Here’s how:
#1 Calculate the cost of investment
- Each month, determine the number of hours required to create/distribute content
- Multiply this by the hourly rate of your staff/agency
- Add your costs to promote the content
For example, you spend 100 hours per month creating content, at an average hourly rate of £120. Your costs (content promotion) are £5,000.
Total cost of investment is: £17,000 for the month.
#2 Calculate the return on investment
- Each month, track the number of leads the website generates
- Multiply this by the conversion rate, customers’ average lifetime value and the average profit margin you achieve
For example, your site generates 30 new leads per month at a conversion rate of 20%.
Each customer (6) has an average lifetime value of £20,000 at a 30% profit margin.
Total return on investment is £36,000 for the month.
#3 Calculate your ROI
- Subtract your investment from your return on investment
- Divide the answer by your investment
For example, (£36,000 – £17,000)/£17,000 = 111% ROI
Time to go and show the boss how awesome you are!
What are your experiences of identifying, monitoring and reporting metrics in your digital and content marketing campaigns?
Please share your comments below
Date posted: 21 September 2017
Hello and welcome to the another Method Minute | Pharma Blog.
Today, we’ll look at how you can take the sting out of content development by repurposing your existing assets. We’ll provide How To advice so that you can get more value from your original content and save time and money in the process.
PDF: Pharma’s Go To Format
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good PDF. Working in the pharmaceutical industry, you have to.
We PDF a lot of content: clinical papers, posters, abstracts, ebooks, white papers, case studies, sales content, patient materials.
And why not? It’s safe. It works. It conveys the message.
Plus, we all know what a highly-regulated industry this is. Let’s keep it safe.
PDF! PDF! PDF!
Well, let’s take a look at why PDF may not be the best approach for pharmaceutical marketing and medical communications, and consider what you can do instead to deliver more value for your customers and your brand.
Two Important Reasons Why PDF Isn’t Pharma’s Friend:
- Doctors are people. People like good design. Well designed content increases information consumption, engagement and retention. Data from the World Bank supports this, showing that if you want someone to read your report and act on your data, PDF is a bad choice
- Google is not people. But Google does like good design and user experience. Using a variety of user metrics, Google can tell whether your web pages and content are well designed and received by your customers. This is a significant ranking factor. If you’re not sure how your pages are ranked by Google, check-out our on-page SEO checklist
If you want to engage your customers, your content must be relevant, actionable and of high-quality. It must be worthy of their time. If physicians don’t engage with your content, you cannot build relationships with them or earn their trust. Both of which are important if you want to sell to them in the future.
Create High Quality Content From Existing Assets
Creating new, original content in the pharmaceutical industry is expensive and time-consuming.
So why spend your valuable time, energy and budget creating new content, when you can repurpose what you have into fresh, user-friendly media that will broaden their appeal and make them easier to find online?
Let’s take a look at our favourite alternative media formats, which can be quickly and easily created from your existing content assets.
Infographics, like ours, allow you to visualize data and communicate complex information clearly and efficiently. They turn your content into easy-to-understand pieces of art that you can share (whole, or in chunks) via all your media channels.
Credit: Method Medical Media.
And why do I love them so much? Because people (including doctors):
- Remember 80% of what they see vs 20% of what they read
- Process visuals 60,000 times faster than text
- Read only 28% of the text on a web page
Infographics are also shared more frequently than traditional, text-based content on social media. Like!
Warning: creating high quality infographics is not easy. It’s not the same as designing a brochure, flyer or poster. If done incorrectly, they can over-complicate things, confuse readers and introduce errors. Use content agencies you trust to convey your data effectively. Take a look at one of our latest infographics on on-page SEO.
Pharma tips for creating quality infographics:
- Identify and address your audience’s information needs
- Convey your message following a clear, logical storyflow
- Keep the content and design simple and clear
- Size your content to meet channel best practices
One of my favourites, given how proficient the pharmaceutical industry is at creating PowerPoint presentations. You’ve probably got mountains of slides waiting to be shared with the world already. If so, why not post them to SlideShare: a site that gets 60 million visitors and 3 billion slide views every month.
Plus, once you’ve posted to SlideShare you can syndicate this out across all your channels and use the content to drive traffic back to your website.
- 82% click conversion rate
- 78% completion rate
- 1,900 social shares (on average)
And why are quizzes so popular?
Because most people’s favourite subject is…THEMSELVES. Sad but true.
A good quiz will do one of two things for your audience:
- It will help them learn more about themselves, or
- Help them show to other people how cool/clever/awesome they are
Quiz formats for pharma to consider:
- Graded quizzes: let me show everyone how clever I am. Score me!
- Pharma tip: make it easy. High scores get more social shares. And we ‘like’ social shares
- Outcome, or personality quizzes: tell me how awesome I am. Define me!
- Pharma tip: make sure every result is something people are proud to share (i.e.don’t tell them their Lord of the Rings doppelganger is Gollum).
Of your existing content, what can you turn into a quiz? Thankfully, just about anything with data. Just ensure your content is relevant to your target audience and prompts engagement.
And remember, we’re trying to drive engagement by making people look and feel good about themselves. Which, is essentially the aim of everything we do. Right?
#4 Live Video Streaming
Research by Ashfield, has shown that fewer doctors are likely to attend conferences in the future, with 53% of specialists citing restrictive codes of practice as the primary reason.
This means that many of our key customers may never get to see our beautiful posters, presentations and abstracts. Or attend any of our well-balanced, educational symposia, and workshops.
In the past, you may have created a congress highlights report for them. In PDF.
Not now! Apps such as Periscope and Meerkat make it easier than ever to share live (and archived) video content in a broadcast-like experience.
How can the pharmaceutical industry use these tools?
- Summarise: present daily congress highlights for those unable to attend
- Expand: offer expert deep-dives on key topics, data and issues from the congress
- Stream: put audiences ‘in the room’ and allow them to submit comments and questions
Think, ‘IKEA manual. But prettier and with less stress’.
Instructographics provide your target audiences with a step-by-step guide to anything you want: injector training, proper inhaler use, clinical study execution. Anything that requires a How To, or step-by-step guide.
Like an infographic, creating high quality instructographics is challenging. But if done well, can enhance the learning experience for your audience, which is important for engagement, information retention and behavioural change.
Image credit: Carrington College
Pharma tips for creating high quality instructographics:
- Consider frequently asked questions at each stage of the How To process
- Create original graphical or photographic content
- Offer succinct, supporting commentary to address audiences’ information needs
A format many of us know and love. They’re convenient to consume and easy/cheap for the pharmaceutical industry to produce and distribute.
Repurpose your existing written content by putting conversational narrative to it. Or go one step further and discuss it with experts to get their insights and observations. Put it into context and translate its meaning into clinical practice. In short, add value.
- Clinical trial results
- Disease awareness
- Policy issues
- Industry research
- Drug mechanisms
- Company information – financial and corporate
- General information related to the industry or sector
- West Ham United Football Club. Not really. Just checking you’re still awake
What Are You Waiting For?
Creating content doesn’t have to be a chore. As you’ve seen, there are many ways you can repurpose and publish what you already have to increase your audience reach and engagement.
What other media have you used when repurposing content?
Which would you recommend or avoid? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Date posted: 8 September 2017
Hello and welcome to the first ever Method Minute | Pharma Blog.
Method Minutes are pieces of original content for pharmaceutical marketers, where we discuss industry challenges and how to address them using content, social media and search engine marketing.
Today, we’ll look at the challenges you face engaging customers online and how content marketing can help you. You’ll also receive actionable advice to help you begin your content marketing journey.
Why Pharma Needs Content Marketing
HCP-Only Websites in Control
Marketing using digital channels in the pharmaceutical industry can be tough. It can feel like your content and your customers are not your own.
This is best illustrated by pharma’s heavy investments in third party, HCP-only websites, where you give up control of your content to reach your customers with messaging that may, or may not help your brand.
Pharma loses control of its content & customer relationships at HCP-only websites Tweet This!
And why do we do it?
Many reasons, but one is perhaps most disappointing: Deloitte’s research shows that many physicians don’t trust the content pharma produce. They are turning to third party, HCP-only platforms, such as Medscape, Sermo and Doctors.net for the information they need.
HCP-only networks are filling Pharma’s trust gap with their content (Credit: Chris Franck, Deloitte Consulting)
This isn’t good for you, or your brand:
- You lose control of your content and communications
- You miss the opportunity to build customer relationships and earn their trust
Low Engagement in Pharma Assets
When pharma does invest in its own content and channels, does the situation improve?
I’m afraid not.
According to research by Google, physicians do prefer online resources to traditional ones and use search engines to find and access that content.
However, this information is not being found at pharma websites:
- The average physician Google’s clinical queries 6 times per day
- 39% go to HCP-only websites
- Only 7% go to pharma industry websites
Only 7% of physician search traffic goes to pharma websites Tweet This!
Pretty disappointing, given the time, effort and money that goes into building some of these websites.
More doctors start with a search engine than any other online resource (Credit: Google/Manhattan Research)
Impact on Pharma Marketing
If these scenarios resonate with you, then you may feel that this is inhibiting your ability to build customer relationships and earn their trust. Important if you want to sell to them in the future.
Why is content marketing important?
Content marketing is important because your customers do not care about you, or your brand. They only care about themselves and how they can advance their careers, address their professional challenges, and improve patients’ lives.
If you think about it, it’s the same reason you’re reading this article. You hope it will provide some useful insights and advice that will enhance your knowledge and advance your career.
I hope it does.
Content Marketing: What Is It? How Can It Help?
The content marketing institute define it as ‘a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – ultimately, to drive profitable customer action’.
For the pharmaceutical industry, Method defines content marketing as ‘the consistent creation and distribution of the content audiences need, in all the places they are searching for it, to attract and retain their attention’.
The key word here is ‘consistent’. A consistent, long-term commitment to helping physicians and patients, by creating and sharing valuable content on a regular basis. In this way, you can address their ongoing needs and keep them engaged.
In time, this creates other opportunities for you to share promotional content with them. Once you have a relationship.
3 Big Reasons Pharma Needs Content Marketing
- It puts your owned media channels (e.g. therapy area website) at the heart of your content marketing efforts – putting you back in control of your content and communications
- It leverages owned, earned and paid media to distribute your content and drive traffic back to your site – helping you reach your customers in the channels they’re using
- It gives your customers a valuable and compelling reason to opt-in, subscribe and follow you – allowing you to practice permission-based marketing
Content marketing puts Pharma back in control of its content & customer relationships Tweet This!
If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of content marketing, it will also:
- Increase organic search traffic to your website – a free source of motivated, verified prospects and leads
- Build and maintain long-term audience engagement – improving trust and relationships with your customers
- Reduce your long-term advertising spend and reliance on third-party, HCP-only sites – allowing you to connect directly with your customers. For free
There are many more benefits to content marketing for the pharmaceutical industry, but we’re both busy so I’ll crack on.
OK, What Now?
3-step process to begin your content marketing journey:
- Set and align your business and content marketing goals
Your content must help you meet your business/brand objectives. Otherwise, what’s the point? How will content marketing help your business or brand? Will it help you attract and retain more customers? Build closer relationships and earn trust? Help your customers make better clinical decisions? Whatever it is, ensure alignment between business and audience goals.
- Define and characterise your target audience
Using search and social insights, interviews and questionnaires, create personas for your target audience. Develop a deep understanding of their needs, motivations and online behaviours so that you can create valuable content, in the appropriate format for the channels they’re using.
- Set your mission
Define your content marketing mission statement. Define who your content is for, what you will offer them and how they will benefit. This will guide all your future content marketing efforts. It’s your raison d’être
Remember: Give More Than You Seek
As a pharmaceutical marketer, you have lots of valuable content to offer your customers; however, currently, most physicians look elsewhere for the information they need.
Content marketing is the key to engaging customers online. By putting your customers’ needs first, you are repositioning yourself as a trusted and valued industry partner.
The trust you earn will create future opportunities to communicate with physicians – including with your promotional content.
Just remember, to get the balance right between your promotional and non-promotional communications.
Give more than you seek.
What are your experiences of implementing a content marketing strategy?
How did it work for you and your brand?
Please share your thoughts and comments below.