Written by Matt Wilkinson, PhD | UK
on December 02, 2020

Life science marketing is like dating - it’s really hard to find good leads, and even harder to attract them. Even when you do get into a conversation with a prospect, they may already have an existing supplier or partner.

On the rare occasion that you find someone interested in buying, they often have the baggage of poor prior experiences and have legacy systems and beliefs that make it hard for you to build trust and for the sales team to close the deal.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic having laid waste to the meat market that is the industry trade show, companies are now forced into online dating. So how do you get your leads to “swipe right” and not just have a fleeting one-night stand by giving you their email address and then ghosting you, but build a serious relationship?

Well this is where you need to combine the right mix of brand attractiveness and attentiveness, provide a great user experience and focus on publishing content that keeps them engaged and coming back for more, date after date.

1. Know your type 

The starting point for online dating is figuring out the sort of person you want to meet. No matter what anyone says, looks are important, but not to the detriment of personality, hobbies and compatibility.

Many marketing organisations simply target market segments, or specific company names. And much like in the dating game, you can waste a lot of time, effort and money chasing after the wrong targets.

If you’ve been in business a while, your sales team will be able to help you build a picture of what a successful lead looks like, what their key traits and what their drivers to buy are.

Attracting your ideal persona is the start of the inbound marketing process. It can also be helpful to document the type of leads that are not an ideal match – you know the ones that take up lots of time information gathering, asking for proposals and repeatedly changing their minds and then ghost you without so much as a thank you – you want to make sure you can avoid these at all costs!

2. First (and second) impressions count

Much like online dating, the first impression is make or break – you need a brand design that is appealing and invites them in to engage with you. Even on a professional social media site like LinkedIn having a friendly and approachable profile picture is a critical first step to engagement.

But as most people know looks are only skin deep, a fantastic brand and great messaging is useless if your second impression in a conversation lets you down. So make sure that you monitor your channels carefully and respond quickly and attentively – you’d be surprised how hard some vendors make it to buy from them!

3. Promote yourself

Much like dating, it doesn’t matter if you are all dressed up to the nines if you have nowhere to go and no-one to go with.

There are a number of channels through which you can promote your business. Choosing the right one to reach your key persona at a time they are ready to receive your message is crucial.

Once you’ve defined that, it’s important to build consistency and familiarity in those channels. What starts with a curious look at a social media post, can turn into a visit to a website and then into the gift of their name and email address in exchange for a piece of valuable content.

If you consistently keep running into each other in that channel, you will build familiarity, trust and credibility and, when the time is right, a potential first date.

4. Get them to “swipe right”

As discussed earlier, having an attractive profile is just the start of the process – you need to be able to clearly articulate how you can help them solve their problems. In the dating game, that’s about how you can fill someone’s desire for a partner.

When it comes to business, it means clearly articulating how your products and/or services meet your persona’s specific needs and portraying that in a compelling way.

5. Building the black book

If you are consistently creating content then a lot of people are going to swipe right. Some people might chat for a while and then fade away again. Others are going to hang around for a free drink or two.

Others are going to receive an email or two and say “I’m just not that into you and unsubscribe and that’s ok. Others will “want to see other people.”

Don’t let the drop offs deter you, spend your time focussing on winning and dining (nurturing) those that show sustained interest and are progressing along the marketing funnel.

6. Keep score!

Ok we’re told not to keep score in our relationships, and that’s fine. But in marketing it’s crucial to score every interaction you have with a potential prospect so you can understand where best to spend your time.

This allows you to get a sense of just how engaged they are and how receptive they will be to taking the relationship to the next step and officially become a Marketing Qualified Lead ready for someone in the sales team to speak to!


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