How to Market to Scientists: 5 Steps for Moving Scientific Buyers Through Your Sales Cycle

If you’ve ever followed a cooking recipe, you know that a step-by-step process can make preparing a meal much easier. A recipe or plan is supposed to help you create an enjoyable meal as easily and as quickly as possible. It can also help you when planning your content and marketing to scientists.

Marketing to scientists with content can work the same way

Not with food (though the jury might still be out on that one), but with a great marketing “recipe”. 

An example of a great “recipe” is what’s known as “the motivating sequence” in copywriting circles.

This sequence can be used in any piece of marketing content you put out to guide people through that content to the end. And motivate them to take the next step in your sales cycle. The recipe grabs your prospect’s attention and entices them to keep reading so they take that next step. 

So what does this motivating sequence consist of?

It has five basic steps 

These are:

-Gain attention

-Highlight the problem or need

-Position your solution

-Prove what you’re saying is true

-Ask your reader to take the next step (call-to-action).

Of course, there are other “recipes” for copywriting. But for now, we’re just going to focus on this one.

So let’s start with the first step.

The first step is gaining attention

You gain attention through your headline… which can be the first few seconds of a video, the title of a white paper, an email subject line, the headline in an ad, etc.  

It goes without saying that your headline needs to entice people to read the rest of the copy. Otherwise you’ve just wasted your time. So you need to write good headlines. 

And the fastest way to write a great headline is to include a benefit 

When it comes to marketing to scientists, a range of possible benefits could be used. These benefits might include saving time, improving productivity, getting things done faster, complying with regulations, improving their research process, getting published faster, etc.

By the way, you could also highlight a problem in your headline. This works because the human brain is wired to respond to problems. 

Want an example of a “benefit-oriented” headline? How about this white paper title:

Increasing Solar Cell Conversion Efficiency using Silicon Thin Film Technology: A Resource Guide for Solar Quality Control Managers

This title pulls double duty because it’s also specifying the target audience.

Get it? Ok then… let’s move onto the second step.

…which is to highlight the problem 

The first two steps (headline and problem) often blend together. What I mean here is a well-written lead (the opening sentence or paragraph of your copy), like a great headline, will also gain the attention of your readers. 

And like the headline, you need to spend a lot of time writing the lead. One of the best ways to write a great lead is to focus on the main problem that your solution helps to solve. 

Of course, there are other ways to write a compelling lead

But my advice is to focus on the problem. This is the easiest way to do it and it’s guaranteed to get your reader nodding along and interested in learning more. And if you decide to open your copy with another technique, make sure you still highlight the problem after the opening paragraph.

Now what was step 3 again? Oh yeah..

Step 3 is positioning your solution

Now is the time to introduce your solution as the best way to solve your prospect’s problem – which you highlighted in step 2, remember?

Specifically, you want to tell your readers what your solution is, how it works, the features and benefits, and its advantages when compared to the competition. 

The best way to give the features and benefits is to provide a list of bullet points. Now, scientific buyers respond best to features… so it’s vital that you include all the features in your copy. Don’t leave anything out. 

But, here’s a big mistake that’s often made

That mistake is forgetting about the benefits. State the feature first and then state the benefit your reader gets because of this feature. Sometimes called the “what… so what” technique or the “cause and effect” technique, your reader gets all the info needed when you include benefits. 

Ok nearly there… onto step 4

Scientific buyers are a skeptical bunch – more skeptical than your average buyer. It comes with the job. So you need to back up what you’re saying with proof… and lots of it. There are various ways of doing this through what some copywriters call ‘belief builders’. 

These might be testimonials, verifiable facts, hard specifics, case studies, customer quotations, product reviews from third parties, credentials, proven track record, academic papers, etc.

Testimonials from previous customers are probably the best way to show proof 

But depending on what content type you’re writing, you can include other forms. In a white paper (where you have more room), you could include one or two case studies of how the technology solved a very specific problem for someone else.

And finally…

Step number 5 is telling them what to do next

A call-to-action tells your readers what they need to do after reading or watching your marketing content. You don’t want to go to the trouble of creating a marketing piece, only to have your readers do nothing at the end. 

Now, there are bad calls-to-action and good calls-to-action.

An effective call-to-action is made up of 3 parts: the how, the why, and the what. Simply put, the call-to-action tells scientific buyers exactly what you want them to do, how they should do it, and why they should do it.

Here’s an example for marketing to scientists:

“Visit right now for your FREE copy of the white paper:

Increasing Solar Cell Conversion Efficiency using Silicon Thin Film Technology: A Resource Guide for Solar Quality Control Managers

You’ll learn about a remarkably cost-effective solar-cell technology that is saving companies in your industry 10% on their annual energy costs.”

Let’s bring this all together with another example…

Your headline gains the attention of your prospects (step 1). After clicking on the headline, the prospect is taken to a landing page. This explains the problem and the difficulties faced (step 2). 

The landing page then offers a free white paper explaining how a particular technology solves the problem – positioning a solution (step 3). The reader’s skepticism is overcome when they see the testimonials given by your previous customers – the proof (step 4). At the end of the page, the reader can fill out a form and then download the white paper (the call-to-action, step 5).

And guess what? The white paper itself will follow the exact same sequence. 

You see how this whole thing works?

The five steps to writing any piece of persuasive content that moves your reader to take action are:

-Gain attention

-Highlight the problem

-Position your solution

-Proove what you’re saying is true

-Ask your reader to take the next step

The motivating sequence is just like a great recipe – guaranteed to give you a terrific result every time. You just need to take the time to plan out your content first and figure out where each step in the sequence is going to happen.

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