In the early 2000s, most early or mid-stage medical device startups would not have bothered with a website. The prevailing logic was that having already secured financing, and being on that long path towards engaging KOLs and growing sales revenue, there was no need for a web presence. At least not until you were closer to FDA approval and truly ready to launch.
Back then, strategic partnerships were forged through real-life introductions and dinner meetings. There were no smart phones, no social media, and no mainstream appetite for sharing content. Google was still pre-IPO, and building websites required a professional developer. So, most companies saved the website for that to-do list just before product rollout. Most marketing managers (myself included) said, “not worth the expense.”
Fast forward to our current landscape and everything has changed.
Perhaps the largest shift has been in web technology. Basic website design has become mainstream, and the average corporate marketing person can build and maintain a site. There are many free website templates – Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy and WordPress to name a few – and they are easy enough to use with no formal experience.
It’s also much easier for anyone to find your company online, not only physicians and hospitals but patients as well. Mobile is king, with consumers and physicians; up to 90% of physicians are using smartphones and tablets in daily professional use.*
Much like a business card is considered essential, so is a company website. Unless you are in the very early stages of concept/development or have a strategic need to be in stealth mode (although I would argue it’s rare to be truly stealth anymore), you need a place to start the dialogue.
You need a forum where you can control and define your story.
A website also demonstrates that your company is part of the modern digital and social landscape, that you are interested in having a conversation with physicians, not just selling them a widget. With more than 35% of American consumers searching for medical information online, it’s also essential to provide general educational information on your company and its offering. This is particularly important if you are undergoing a clinical trial as patients and caregivers are actively seeking answers on their medical conditions.
Another important aspect of any website is to inform potential strategic partners and investors about your management team. A website allows you to showcase your team’s leadership and philosophy, all in a consistent manner.
It’s all about the story.
Even when you think you don’t have much to say, it’s important to outline your vision. Take a look at a website I created recently for an emerging startup in the wound care space, Cell Constructs. The company mission, messaging and branding, created by my team, are now part of a cohesive story for investors and physicians.
Yes, it is possible to create a simple, inexpensive website that you can maintain yourself. Stay tuned and I will show you how easy it really is, with a little guidance!
*HealthCare Data Solutions, 2013. Top 5 Healthcare Marketing Trends.