12 steps to find the best digital marketing agency for your biotech venture
Where do you start when looking for the best digital marketing agency for biotech startups and life sciences companies? Like many industries, biotech companies rely on digital marketing as their primary source for lead generation, investor relations, and brand awareness. At the same time, biotech has a distinct set of marketing challenges, including product technologies that are hard to describe succinctly, the warp speed of innovation, and widely varied audiences.
The challenge of launching or upgrading your biotech website
As early-stage biotech companies conduct research, focus on product development, get FDA approvals, and develop go-to-market strategies, its website may not seem to be a priority. But they should be. Why? Because biotech websites have the unequaled power to attract, inform, and generate interest among early investors, customers, potential employees, and the press.
With time and budget at a premium, many biotech companies start with an internally created website—often knowing that they will need to upgrade it later. When the time comes, however, they are faced with choosing from a myriad of website designers, consultants, and agencies. It’s not always clear what to look for.
Here, we offer 12 steps for finding the best digital agency for biotech startups.
1. Determine your biotech company’s goals, timeline, and budget
Where do you start the process of hunting for a biotech digital marketing agency? First, establish your goals and priorities. Ask why you need an agency’s help. Maybe you need to refine your website or develop an entirely new one. Or you may want to change your marketing focus from getting Series A funding to building your customer base.
Next, determine your budget and timeframe, realizing that longer and more complex sites require more time and a bigger budget than a shorter, simpler site. If you have a limited total budget, must spread out your expenses, or have a short timeframe, look for an agency that offers options that work with your constraints. For example, our agency offers different pricing levels for early-growth clients to ensure that you get optimal results with the highest quality service.
2. Hire a biotech-focused digital marketing agency with rapport and teamwork
It’s likely that your most successful teams have been high in trust, rapport, and talent. Website projects can take several months, and maintenance programs can be ongoing, so they should be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. It helps to get a personal sense of what it would be like to partner with each digital agency on a daily basis and long term. Find out who will be on the agency’s team, their level of expertise, and their creative style. Look for an agency that will mesh well with your team, be enthusiastic, and work collaboratively.
3. Digital discovery for early-growth biotech companies
The discovery process begins after you nail down the price, timeframe, purpose, and overall vision. This is where we get to know you and explore the elements to be reflected in your biotech website and digital marketing program, including:
- Leveraging your team’s credentials to strengthen your credibility
- Understanding where you fit in the competitive landscape
- Making your complex products understandable and meaningful to laypeople
- Translating feature details into the benefits that matter most to your audiences
- Clarifying what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to move forward
- Defining your unique value proposition (USP)—showing why you are worth investing in and why customers should choose you over your competitors.
As part of this process, a strategically oriented agency will collect data from your competitors’ websites, including the design, branding, menus, navigation, copy, visuals, and interactivity—as well as their social media channels, presentations, and the data they present. This data will inform decisions about strategy.
4. Agile website design and development for biotech startups
In your initial conversations with your agency, find out more about the process they use to create websites and if it will work for your team.
Most agencies use a sequential approach. How does that look? The agency creates the initial structure and design, hands it over for the client to review, and makes the changes requested by the client–which often takes several rounds to approve. Sometimes, almost after the fact, the copy is filled in, leading to more rounds of review and taking more time. When the team is happy with the results, the company leadership reviews it–and they may or may not like it. This drawn-out process can lead to disconnection, miscommunication, frustration, lots of going back to the drawing board, and often missing the launch date.
Can this process be improved? Yes it can.
Ladybugz has pioneered an agile design process, which has worked well with our early growth biotech clients. It’s a highly collaborative approach in which our entire creative team, the developer, and the client’s team (including the top decision-makers) are on board right from the start. This promotes transparency and positive communication about the site’s direction, structure, look and feel, and functionality. As a result, there are fewer rounds of approval, less frustration, and a far better chance that the launch deadline won’t be missed.
5. Invest in growth sprints as your biotech company evolves
Here’s a common situation in early biotech companies. You may have been in stealth or very quiet for a year or two while you prepare to go to market. When you’re ready to move forward and share your offerings to the world, your website no longer reflects who you are. It’s time for a “growth sprint.”
Your company is growing and evolving in exciting new ways. The website also needs to grow and evolve to show your progress and readiness for the market. Your website revisions can go in a number of directions. You’ll work with the best digital agency for biotech startups to review your website, rethink your image, branding, messaging, product, and science pages, and much more.
At this point, a lot has changed since the original website was created. It’s time to revisit the discovery process with your original pod of experts, charting a new course. With discovery complete, we once again use the iterative agile process to revise your website to reflect your new direction. Working together, we create your updated website in a sprint-style engagement of about six weeks.
The digital growth sprint process looks like this:
- New information architecture
- Branding/Design Refresh
- Up to six new pages
- Custom design and build
- Agile collaborative process
- Weekly huddles
- SEO keyword consulting
- Continuous QA process
- Creative director involvement through the engagement
6. Consistent branding for your biotech company
Science isn’t the only thing that people want to know about. Your website must also convey trustworthiness, quality, confidence, innovation, and credibility. A digital agency for biotech helps you stay ahead of the curve based on industry trends and how your competitors are presenting themselves. An innovative creative team will leverage these insights to create a look and feel that reflects your company while making you stand out in today’s saturated biotech marketplace.
7. Science-specific messaging and content development for your biotech
Many scientists want to provide extensive features and niche-specific details in the data-driven and scientific language that comes naturally to them. However, that approach often does not meet the needs of your key audiences, including:
- Subject matter experts, scientist-entrepreneurs, and other potential collaborators
- Commercial purchasers who must see you as a credible vendor
- Patients and caregivers who must understand how your product will improve their quality of life
- Potential employees who want to be excited about their work and believe in your vision
Skilled biotech content writers need not be experts in the science itself, but they should have the biotech experience to know how to engage each target audience, emphasizing what is most important to them in a language that is easy for them to understand.
8. A biotech digital marketing agency with experience in pitch deck development
Your investor pitch deck is a central tool in explaining the value of your product to potential investors and partners, and most of our clients have one when we onboard them. A full-service agency like Ladybugz can work with you to refine your pitch deck and then realign key information to meet your website’s goals, format, and requirements—particularly for the investor section.
Of course, companies are dynamic and frequently need to shift course. A strategic biotech digital agency can expand or adjust your deck and website. This will help you reach out to new audiences or shift your focus to areas such as the consumer market or hiring goals.
9. The best digital marketing agency for biotech startups will have experience with web and application integrations for biotechnology.
The back end of your site is as important as the front end, providing maximum functionality and performance. Your agency’s developer should be an expert in software integrations, enabling your website to seamlessly connect different software components, such as sales, HR tools, and performance-optimizing technologies.
Check that your agency is experienced in Integration Runtime (IR), the compute infrastructure used by Azure Data Factory (ADF) that provides various data integration capabilities across different network environments. A second must-have is HR software integration, the process of connecting separate software programs or components so that the individual programs function as one, sharing data back and forth.
10. SEO for early-growth biotech and life science companies
Digital marketing goes beyond having a killer website. An ongoing SEO program is one of the most powerful ways to help your website get noticed in a crowded online marketplace. Rather than hiring one agency for your website and another for SEO, an agency like Ladybugz Interactive can build SEO components into your website. We can update SEO elements as your content expands and your company shifts priorities. We can also monitor technical SEO and site health for page errors, broken links, no redirect pages, or other issues.
11. Keep your biotech website up-to-date with website maintenance + support
Don’t forget to talk to agencies about their post-launch maintenance services. Maintenance services are needed to keep websites at peak performance, maintain security and privacy, and be free from technical errors. Ask what the agency offers for site monitoring, reporting, and improvements. This includes support such as software updates, new content, social posts, SEO, calls-to-action, interactivity, and accessibility elements. Also find out how they handle emergencies, such as hacks or a downed server.
12. Choose the best digital digital agency for biotech with a proven track record that aligns with your company’s values.
Biotech is a unique industry, and it helps to have a digital marketing team that understands what makes it tick. Before hiring an agency, look into its track record, including referrals, reviews, awards, and past work. We are proud of our proven record of excellence in taking biotech companies from early start-ups to multi-million dollar operations in niche marketing areas. This includes drug discovery, therapeutics, genomics, and informatics.