How to Sell More Through Distributors with Blog Content and Social Media
by Debra Harrsch
I read a fascinating report from AZO recently about the state of scientific purchasing in 2021. What they found matches the experiences of our clients who work with channel partners to increase sales of their products and services. This post will explore why a blog and social media amplification can be powerful tools for increasing sales through your distributors.
Many life science manufacturers rely on distributors or channel partners to help sell their products. While external sales organizations can sell your products more easily in different regions or countries, there are also some challenges that come with using a partner.
One of these challenges is how to educate customers who buy from distributors about your products. You likely already use advertising and a trade show presence (when available!) to educate your end-users. However, in today’s digitally focused environment, using only those two channels isn’t enough to create the sales you want.
Let me ask you, do your distributors create marketing content about your products? Do they rely on the content you’ve created for them? Or do they use your content and build upon that base to meet the needs of their specific audience?
Even if your channel partner does create marketing content, I’m guessing it’s not a deep, rich pool of searchable educational content – and it may not even communicate product benefits or the challenges your product solves beyond the simple specs. So, if they aren’t producing educational and sales and marketing information, how will potential customers know your product exists – let alone understand why they should buy it?
Life Science Manufacturers Still Need to Market
While you may have a great channel partner or distributor, this doesn’t mean you no longer need to market your products. One key marketing technique to help your distributors get the word out about your product offerings is through content marketing on your own website.
Which brings us back to the survey I mentioned earlier. AZO Network’s Scientific Purchasing Survey 2021 makes it very clear why scientific manufacturers must rethink how their websites are designed and what they should contain. Of those surveyed:
- 90% said that a manufacturer’s website had an influence on their buying decision.
- 81% said pages found through search engines had an influence on their buying decision.
- 67% said that the distributor’s website had an influence on their buying decision.
Why Does a Manufacturer Need a Blog?
Perhaps you have web pages for each of your products. Good, that’s a start. But, content marketing goes much deeper than a product page with just the basic facts on the product.
The AZO survey states that the quality of the content provided, thought leadership, and the vendor’s website user experience all weighed heavily as important vendor traits.
One way to increase your website’s SEO – and its ability to educate your customers – is through a blog. If you don’t have one and your competitor does, you’re missing out on some major search engine mojo. Customers search and use a variety of digital media to understand products they are interested in.
Let’s review: 81% of those surveyed in AZO’s report stated that pages they found through search engines had an influence on their buying decision – 81%! And let’s not forget that search engines are no longer limited to Google or Bing. Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn have also become major search engines, in addition to their social component. If that 81% of buyers isn’t seeing your blog content or hearing your voice on social channels, your product or service will not show up on their radar as they move through the customer journey – and their ultimate buying decision.
Many science-based companies use blogs as a way to increase brand awareness in the market. Blogs are an easy, cost-effective way to publish relevant content on your website to support your distributors’ marketing efforts.
They are an excellent way to share information about your product, discuss trends in the industry, and demonstrate thought leadership in your market space. You can update your blog regularly with new posts that address your end customer’s needs (which, if done right, will help you increase sales through partners while providing a stream of new content for search engines). For more in-depth information on how a blog can transform your marketing efforts, check out this blog.
Science-based Manufacturers Must Promote Content
A word of caution: having a blog on your website is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. The days of “if you build it, they will come” are long gone. Blog posts do need to be promoted. In fact, that step is critical to your marketing efforts.
One important way to share your content is through social media. This next statement may come as a surprise, but think about it. As our scientists skew younger in age, social media is growing in importance. In 2015, Leadspace stated that 84% of B2B execs use social media for information to make buying decisions – and that was in 2015!
The AZO Network Survey reported that 34% of those surveyed said social media had an impact on their buying decision. While that seems like a low number, there is more to unpack here, and it has to do with age group distribution – and the fact that social media has a subconscious effect on decision making.
How can you amplify your content using social media? Three ways are:
- Leveraging your relationship with your distributors to help share your blog content with their social audience.
- Sharing your blog content in snippets on your company’s social channels to drive readers back to your website.
- Employee advocacy – getting your employees involved in sharing your company content on their own
As we’ve mentioned in the past, social media is a key tactic your company can use to create brand awareness of the products sold through your partners.
While your social channels won’t grow as fast as a celebrity’s, keep in mind that many scientists have a personal following on social media. And their followers are likely interested in the same content they are. When they share your content, awareness of your products grows – and sales are likely to follow.
As a manufacturer, your content and marketing work sets the stage for product demand.
If you want to develop your blog and amplify your content with social media, but don’t have the time to devote, give us a call!
Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.