Content marketing for a scientific audience: 3 tips for success

July 19, 2022

Content marketing can be an extremely powerful tool to boost sales when targeting a research audience. 

That’s because scientists rely heavily on content as part of the buying process. In fact, 89.6% of scientists surveyed on ResearchGate about lab equipment purchases use white papers in their pre-purchase research, while 81.4% use publications.

So, while publishing high-quality content is crucial for your brand, it’s only the first step towards converting prospects. Successful content marketing is also about placing the right content in front of researchers at different stages of the funnel. 

If you’re looking to ramp up your content marketing for a scientific audience, read our best practices below.

Three steps for effective scientific content marketing

While there is no clear-cut formula to achieve success using content marketing, there are three proven ways to help boost your efforts. 

1. Write engaging educational content that helps your readers

Start by creating valuable content that helps solve your readers’ problems and address their needs. During the process, ask yourself these questions:

What is the objective of your content: is it to inform or sell, or both? What channels will you publish it on?
Are you generating leads for a product push, or raising awareness around your brand? For example, if you want to educate your readers on your topic of expertise, you might decide to write a “how to” guide (such as this article) or host a webinar with industry-leading experts. 

Who is your target audience? What problem are you solving?
Refer back to your marketing personas and their pain points.

What is your key message?
Keep this in mind when crafting your piece. For example, it might be: “We educate scientists on the latest industry trends.”

What CTA (call-to-action) will you use?
Every piece of content should include a strong CTA. Let’s say you want to drive traffic to a campaign landing page on your website. In this case, you might use the CTA: “Visit our page for more info.”

What style and tone do you use?
Is your brand voice authoritarian, friendly, or both? If you’re writing in English, are you using American or British English? Aim for consistency. Defining an overall style guide for your brand is a must. 

When writing a brief for your content team, be sure to include all the points listed above.

2. Use the right content marketing formats for your brand

With so many content formats at your disposal, which one should you choose?

Start by figuring out where your audience is and what type of content they consume. Do some industry research and run an internal content audit, analyzing your cross-channel marketing data. Then, look at user behavior to determine what resonates with your audience and where to focus your efforts. 

You should also think about how to convey your message in a clear and engaging way, whether via a written or visual format. Content formats regularly used for campaigns on ResearchGate include:

  • White papers: Informational documents that explore a particular topic or solution, informing customers and prospects on complex issues. 
  • Webinars: With an average conversion rate of 55%, these online video events can be a cost-effective way to boost sales. In B2B, webinars are 10x more efficient on a cost-per-lead measure than physical trade shows.
  • Tech notes: Technical notes on how a product works.
  • Application notes: Written materials that describe market and technology trends of products, application examples, and product comparison information.
  • Reference posters: Infographics that summarize the benefit of a product in a clear, visual manner.
  • Guides: These explain how to use a product or complete a specific action.

On ResearchGate, the best conversion rate (CR) comes from educational, rather than promotional content, with white papers and application notes being the best performing formats. This means they likely carry the most influence on purchase.

So, make sure to leverage educational content — rather than just product sales sheets — early in the funnel as it’s more effective in maximizing campaign ROI.

A report showing a pie chart and a tablet on a wooden table.

3. Place your content strategically in the funnel to boost engagement and drive sales

Successful content marketing can establish you as a thought leader within the scientific community. 

Regularly promoting educational content within the scientific community can give your brand credibility and encourage trust, which in turn can positively influence buying decisions across all stages of the lab equipment purchasing cycle.

You can also encourage researchers to take action by placing content strategically along the funnel. For example:

  • Place content within the researcher’s journey using Sponsored Content posts: By engaging researchers when they’re focused on finding content related to their work, you can generate more interest in your content marketing campaigns, helping to boost conversion rates. Placing your content where it’s contextually relevant can also help you get the most out of your ad spend. 
    ResearchGate has run thousands of campaigns targeting a scientific audience using sponsored content. When analyzing top six campaign performance in 2021, data reveals that the highest click-through rate (CTR) comes from white papers at 0.41%; followed by infographics and articles at 0.30%; posters at 0.28%; on-demand webinars at 0.25%; call for papers 0.23%; and eBooks at 0.22%. Campaigns were run on 21 additional content formats including product sheets, guides, application notes, literature reviews, subscriptions, case studies, brochures, grants, contests, offers, live webinars and merchandise. The average cost per lead (CPL) across all content types is $147, with an average CTR of 0.18%. 
  • Engaging researchers with Native Ads: Native Ads that appear responsively in placements across the platform can help further engage prospective customers and move them down the funnel.

Ultimately, using a combination of effective content marketing and native advertising solutions generates better results than running standalone product promotion campaigns.

Reach your marketing goals with high-value content 

It’s clear that content marketing is a highly valuable tool to influence researchers’ purchasing decisions —– especially on a niche platform like ResearchGate, where CTRs are routinely double the industry average. Researchers regularly seek inspiring and informative content that helps them make effective buying decisions. 

By using valuable content marketing, combined with contextual advertising solutions in a hyper-relevant environment, marketers can successfully generate demand and boost product sales.

Are you a marketer targeting an audience of scientists and researchers? Place your branded content alongside publication pages and published questions on ResearchGate. Contact us today to get started with Sponsored Content.

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