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Case study

Inbound Marketing with Aptuit

How Contract Research Organisation Aptuit used inbound marketing to increase website visits by 1600% and leads by 750% in just 6 months

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Executive Summary

The life science sector is perfectly suited to inbound marketing; scientific and pharmaceutical buyers can be cynical about advertising, resistant to overt sales messages and keen to avoid cold calls from salespeople. Instead, they prefer to research their own solutions and base their purchase decisions on data and recommendations from peers.

It is therefore surprising that so few life science companies are using inbound marketing to achieve their commercial goals. As such, this gap also presents an opportunity for those companies willing to innovate in an effort to attract, convert, close and delight more customers.

Aptuit is one such innovator in the life science sector. The company chose to partner with BioStrata in 2016 to plan and execute a new inbound strategy to achieve its commercial goals. Aptuit’s traditional marketing tactics (e.g. print and banner advertising, cold email outreach etc.) were no longer working effectively and a change was needed to drive success.

We worked with Aptuit over 6 months to increase website visits by 1600% and leads by 750%. The leads generated by the programme went on to yield over $3million in sales revenue, giving an ROI of over $50 generated for every $1 spent on the programme.

We needed an agency with a proven understanding of the inbound marketing process ... as well as the scientific and technical writing ability to produce compelling content that would appeal to our target customers. BioStrata had the right blend of PhD-level science experience and inbound marketing know-how ... It was very clear from the first meeting with the BioStrata account team that we were all on the same page about how inbound could help drive Aptuit’s growth and that they would work with us as a true partner on the programme. For us, it wasn’t just about the work, we wanted to be sure that we would enjoy collaborating with them and that they would be just as invested in making Aptuit successful as we were, something I’m glad to say has proven we made a good choice when we opted to work with BioStrata.

Jim Regan, former Marketing Director, Aptuit

$3 million

in new sales revenue delivered


increase in website traffic


increase in new leads generated

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The Challenge

Aptuit is a contract research organisation (CRO) providing a range of services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Customers turn to Aptuit to help them increase the quality, speed, efficiency and overall success of their pharma research and/or manufacturing processes, while reducing the risk of failure.

Although a niche market area, the CRO services sector is predicted to be worth $45 billion in 2017, growing to nearly $60 billion by 2020. Aptuit was keen to take advantage of this growth by attracting more customers. However, a lack of market awareness meant that the company was potentially missing out on millions of dollars in revenue.

Until the start of this programme, Aptuit had mostly been using expensive outbound marketing tactics, such print advertising, tradeshow attendance, cold email blasts and others, all of which were failing to adequately raise enough awareness or generate enough sales leads.

In a further twist, Aptuit originally started life as a specialist in pharmaceutical packaging, with many in the industry still seeing the company this way (rather than as a CRO). As such, there was a need to rapidly and effectively communicate this new positioning to the marketplace in a way that would also build credibility in Aptuit’s new expertise and services.

“We were confident that moving to inbound would help drive our success, but using HubSpot to track everything helps us justify to ourselves, and the rest of the Aptuit team, that we can generate significant results using the methodology. The inbound, scientific and content creation expertise of BioStrata was an essential pillar underpinning the success of the programme.”

Jim Regan, former Marketing Director, Aptuit

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The Strategy

For BioStrata, all inbound marketing programmes start with a strategic ‘Discovery’ phase. During this phase, we worked with Aptuit to:

  • Develop buyer personas to target during the campaign (in this case, we focused on pharma and biotech companies looking to outsource elements of their drug discovery and validation process)
  • Brainstorm content ideas based on these buyer personas to build a content strategy and editorial calendar
  • Create an inbound marketing plan, outlining all the key tactical deliverables and marketing channels for the programme
  • Establish baselines and KPIs for the programme

Tactical Execution

Once the strategy for the programme was defined, the BioStrata team set about creating all the content assets.

The key content pillar of the programme was a single, high-value content offer (in this case an eBook), which would be gated behind a landing page to generate awareness-stage leads. This was designed to inform and educate those working in biotech and pharma on the best ways to optimise every step of their drug discovery process to save money, time and resources, while also maximising the chances of discovering and developing an interesting drug candidate.

In order to promote this content offer and generate increased web traffic, we also produced:

  • A landing page to gate the content offer
  • Six blog posts based on the content offer, keyword-optimised to attract visitors via organic search (the call to action in each blog was to download the eBook)
  • A series of social media posts for sharing on Twitter and LinkedIn, promoting the blogs and eBook over an eight-week period
  • A promotional email to the Aptuit database to re-engage current and lapsed leads, bringing them back into the Aptuit sales process
  • A series of trade media articles, placed in key industry publications that were well read by our target audiences. These articles were adapted from content in the existing eBooks and blog posts that had already been created to drive lead generation.
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The Results

The pilot inbound campaign went live in early October 2016 and enabled us to build awareness, position Aptuit as thought leaders in a specialist field, attract more website visitors and generate more leads. Specifically, within the first 6 months, the campaign helped deliver:

  • 49,028 website visits (compared to 2905 in the 6 months before, an increase of 1600%)
  • 804 new leads (compared to 94 in the previous 6 months, an increase of 750%)
  • Over $3m of additional sales generated directly from leads produced during the programme

Other noteworthy successes included:

  • A large influx of organic traffic (green sections in the graph opposite)
  • A boost in social media traffic (cyan sections in the graph) and email traffic (yellow in the graph)
  • A campaign landing page with a conversion rate of 61%, which is significantly above industry average
  • Key trade media article placements in trade journals such as Pharmaceutical Technology
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