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By Jeremy Grushcow

Tech startups use social media avidly [rabidly?], but biotech companies? Not so much.  Biotech companies should be blogging, tweeting and linking in like mad, though.  Here’s why:

  1. Your customers (pharma companies) do it. More and more pharma companies are active in social media. Take a look at this article in the December issue of Life Science Leader (h/t @FiercePharma) or read the Dose of Digital blog any day of the week and you’ll be directed to interesting information about how products are being developed, tested and marketed. These are things you need to keep in mind as you move through your own product development process. Also, lots of pharma folks are on LinkedIn, so if you are as well, you’ll maximize your ability to reach out through personal connections when you’re building a constituency for your partnering deals.  Here’s my Twitter list of BioPharma news and analysis.
  2. Your investors do it. Check out this Twitter List of Canadian VCs, Angel investors and other funders.  Look at what they’re talking about, and you’ll see you don’t have to tell people what you ate for lunch (or disclose your latest lab results) to convey that you’re doing something interesting that other people are interested in.  Check out the CVCA’s blog, Capital Rants or the Maple Leaf Angels blog.  In Toronto? Stop in at the MaRS blog or the R.I.C. blog to see where investors will be and what they’re thinking about.
  3. Your peers (other startups) do it. If you’re not participating in online conversations, you’re missing a world of good advice and perspectives.  Click over to Rick Segal’s blog or  StartupCFO, Mark MacLeod’s Blog. It doesn’t really matter that these guys aren’t involved in biotech. Lots of startups are facing similar issues to yours — funding, staffing, etc. and getting out of the biotech bubble from time to time can be a good thing.  Plus, being at a startup is isolating, particularly in biotech with its strong incentives to run a virtual company, so go online to find peers, mentors and other resources.

If this all sounds reasonable, but you’re still skeptical, or not interested, then find someone in your organization who’s excited about it, regardless of their actual job, and set him/her loose.  [Not totally loose, of course. Common sense is critical online because it’s hard to hit “undo” on the web, and appropriate confidentiality remains key to biotech ventures.  But all your people have common sense and discretion, right?]

We’ll be keeping an eye out for biotechs and other bioscience companies that are making good use of social media as part of our Biotech Trends series this coming year.  Other suggestions for 2010 biotech trends?  Let us know.

Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.


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By Axel Kuhn

So you’ve built a great website and you’ve managed to attract some relevant traffic from prospects, potential channel partners, and other industry stakeholders.

Now what?

How do you engage these prospects so that they “stick” to your site, refer you to their professional network, and return again and again?

The answer is Content.

In Marketing 2.0, online content is king.  Online content includes your web pages, white papers, videos, presentations, blog posts, webinars – anything that leverages your experience and expertise and delivers unique, valuable content. Great content increases your ranking on search engines, drives traffic, and keeps visitors from bouncing off your site. Great content gets your site bookmarked for return visits.

And, most importantly, great content establishes your credibility as a thought-leader in your industry, worthy of being added to your visitor’s list of potential suppliers.

Great online content is especially important in B2B markets where the buying cycle involves a heavy emphasis on education. Online content is the most cost-effective way for you to educate your prospects on the dynamics of your industry, your company, and your particular solution. Compare the negligible cost of an online whitepaper with the substantial cost of having to physically print and mail-out product brochures via snail-mail. Compare the minimal cost of holding an online webinar with the massive cost of running a series of lunch-and-learns at various locations around the world. Properly designed, your online content not only makes your site a default destination for information about the industry, but builds a preference for your business-to-business company and your solutions.

So here’s a quick check list of the most popular forms of online content:

Webpages: The workhorse of a website.  Make sure that your website includes an easy to use content management system so that you can easily add and update content without needing a web programmer’s involvement.  And ensure the pages are easily crawlable by the search bots so that all this great content can be indexed by Google and the other search engines.

Whitepapers: Distribute your whitepapers in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, so that they are universally readable using the free Acrobat Reader. Acrobat also gives you a host of security features so you can easily limit how people access and use your content.

Videos: Videos are quickly becoming the favourite of the online content world because they offer “edutainment” (combination of education and entertainment) and because a picture really is worth a thousand words. Forget the expense of broadcast quality video. With a simple “prosumer” video camera, some editing and a little creativity you have a decent video that can communicate complex message quickly and clearly. Check out the introductory video at www.inbound-marketing-automation.ca . Quick and easy.

Webinars: Take your show on the road, without ever leaving your office.  Web meeting tools are so sophisticated today (and inexpensive) that you can run a meeting with participants from around the world as if you were all in the same room. And don’t forget to automatically record the session, and then post it on your site for future use.

Blogs: Perhaps the easiest way to continue to build fresh content for your website, while building your thought leadership credentials in your industry. Remember that by today’s standard, even a 400 page website is considered small by the search engines. Blogging is one of the easiest ways for you to build a more substantial (and influential) site over time.

Finally, remember to map your online content to your prospect’s buying cycle. Ensure that there is information for each stage – from initial education on the general market to the later stages as they compare suppliers and trim their short list – to keep them engaged until they are ready to buy your solution.

This post is part of a series on Building an Inbound Pipeline. Related posts are:

  1. How to turn your Website into a prospecting magnet
  2. How to attract prospects to your website

Post by Axel Kuhn, President, www.inbound-marketing-automation.ca

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Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

By Jeremy Grushcow

Tech startups use social media avidly [rabidly?], but biotech companies? Not so much.  Biotech companies should be blogging, tweeting and linking in like mad, though.  Here’s why:

  1. Your customers (pharma companies) do it. More and more pharma companies are active in social media. Take a look at this article in the December issue of Life Science Leader (h/t @FiercePharma) or read the Dose of Digital blog any day of the week and you’ll be directed to interesting information about how products are being developed, tested and marketed. These are things you need to keep in mind as you move through your own product development process. Also, lots of pharma folks are on LinkedIn, so if you are as well, you’ll maximize your ability to reach out through personal connections when you’re building a constituency for your partnering deals.  Here’s my Twitter list of BioPharma news and analysis.
  2. Your investors do it. Check out this Twitter List of Canadian VCs, Angel investors and other funders.  Look at what they’re talking about, and you’ll see you don’t have to tell people what you ate for lunch (or disclose your latest lab results) to convey that you’re doing something interesting that other people are interested in.  Check out the CVCA’s blog, Capital Rants or the Maple Leaf Angels blog.  In Toronto? Stop in at the MaRS blog or the R.I.C. blog to see where investors will be and what they’re thinking about.
  3. Your peers (other startups) do it. If you’re not participating in online conversations, you’re missing a world of good advice and perspectives.  Click over to Rick Segal’s blog or  StartupCFO, Mark MacLeod’s Blog. It doesn’t really matter that these guys aren’t involved in biotech. Lots of startups are facing similar issues to yours — funding, staffing, etc. and getting out of the biotech bubble from time to time can be a good thing.  Plus, being at a startup is isolating, particularly in biotech with its strong incentives to run a virtual company, so go online to find peers, mentors and other resources.

If this all sounds reasonable, but you’re still skeptical, or not interested, then find someone in your organization who’s excited about it, regardless of their actual job, and set him/her loose.  [Not totally loose, of course. Common sense is critical online because it’s hard to hit “undo” on the web, and appropriate confidentiality remains key to biotech ventures.  But all your people have common sense and discretion, right?]

We’ll be keeping an eye out for biotechs and other bioscience companies that are making good use of social media as part of our Biotech Trends series this coming year.  Other suggestions for 2010 biotech trends?  Let us know

Jeremy Grushcow  is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.

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