If you handle marketing for a medical device supplier, your ultimate goal is to generate qualified, sales-ready leads. In order to achieve this, you must generate interest in your equipment among your buyer personas in the healthcare industry (physicians, hospital administrators, buyers at healthcare GPOs, etc.). And in order to generate interest, you must be visible at the precise moment when decision makers are researching suppliers of new devices for their hospitals, clinics or other health facilities. Ad campaigns and cold calling, no matter how targeted they may be, generally reach buyers at the wrong time, therefore wasting precious marketing resources.
As in other B2B industries in the digital era, most healthcare buyers and stakeholders rely on the Internet to research the equipment and suppliers that could suit their needs. Online information is immediately available no matter when the requirement for new medical devices arises, unlike trade shows, which are only open for a few days per year, as well as expensive and time-consuming.
Online information also allows healthcare buyers to discover medical device manufacturers beyond what local distributors can offer. Thus, the digital landscape makes it easier for medical device manufacturers to establish relationships directly with end users, rather than have to share profits with a distributor network.
Search engines like Google are tools that many medical professionals use when researching new suppliers. This has led medical device suppliers to heavily invest in search engine optimization (SEO), which is all about producing and structuring online content that appears at the top of the most relevant keyword searches on Google and other search engines. But there’s a problem.
Just like trade shows, cold calling and distributor networks, SEO comes at a steep cost. What’s worse, there are no guarantees you will get a return on your investment anytime soon, and maybe not at all. Your company is not the only medical device supplier optimizing its web content in order to improve organic search results, so if you are fortunate enough to get positive results soon after hiring an SEO professional, they are likely to only last as long as it takes your competitors to optimize their websites as well.
After the initial improvement, your business will gradually fall down the search rankings and off page one altogether, which is the equivalent of not existing on search engines. As a result, SEO becomes a vicious circle that dents marketing budgets year after year while results vary depending on the competitive landscape and search engines’ ever-changing algorithms.
So let’s back up and take a closer look at where medical device buyers discover new suppliers. So far, we’ve mentioned trade shows and search engines, but there is another resource in the digital landscape that makes finding new suppliers a whole lot easier.
Online B2B marketplaces, aka supplier discovery platforms, typically focus on specific industries and specialize in organizing suppliers and equipment in such a way that buyers can access a clean, exhaustive list of suppliers for any type of medical device and easily filter those results by parameters such as office & distributor locations, geographical markets served, product specifications, etc.
For a buyer, it is frustrating to sift through Google results that may bury quality suppliers beyond the first page. Buyers don’t want partial lists dominated by suppliers who have the financial resources to invest in SEO. Buyers want a clear and exhaustive picture of which suppliers can serve their needs.
Online B2B marketplaces for the medical industry do a much better job of providing clean lists of medical devices and suppliers than search engines, which is why many healthcare professionals already rely on online B2B marketplaces to keep them informed about new medical technology on the market through newsletters or new product alerts. And the ones that don’t already use an online B2B marketplace breathe a sigh of relief when they find one while searching for new equipment on Google.
And with an online B2B marketplace, you will have a virtual exhibit that acts like an extension of your own website. Most online marketplaces already have great search engine rankings and optimize the content on your exhibit for you as part of their paid services, oftentimes appearing above your own website on relevant keyword searches on major search engines. And your virtual exhibit is open year-round so that buyers can visit whenever they need medical equipment, instead of being constrained to a few days per year like a trade show exhibit.
Another benefit of online B2B marketplaces is that your virtual stand not only attracts healthcare professionals who influence purchasing decisions, it can also automate the process of converting them to contactable marketing qualified leads that you can nurture or sales qualified leads who are ready to speak with a sales representative. Online B2B marketplaces provide you with the contact details of professionals who have accessed key content on your virtual stand (videos, downloads, webinars, etc.), thus strengthening your content marketing efforts, and send you requests for quotations from professionals who have already done their research and placed you on their shortlist.
Last but not least, online B2B marketplaces help you generate leads for your medical devices instantly because of their built-in audiences composed of both professionals who already use these platforms for their sourcing needs and professionals who discover the platform while using search engines. Online B2B marketplaces also offer premium services that help you quickly reach prospective buyers and convert them to leads, such as enhanced positioning on search result pages, targeted e-newsletter ads, targeted display ads, direct email campaigns, content marketing campaigns, and webinars.
Medical XPRT is an online B2B marketplace helping healthcare professionals around the world discover and source new medical equipment and suppliers. It is a member of the XPRT group of online B2B marketplaces, which has been digitally connecting buyers and suppliers across various industries since 1999.