Building B2B marketing campaigns that generate leads and effectively carry your messages to specific vertical markets doesn’t require you to be a seasoned expert in those industries. It does, however, require focused research, careful planning and content that’s valuable or interesting to the individuals in those industries you wish to reach.
Whether you want to strengthen outreach in an industry where you’re already seeing success or are looking to tap into a promising new area, vertical marketing campaigns can uncover more business opportunities and boost growth.
Below are four high-level steps you and your team can follow to create and execute successful vertical marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Do the right research
Properly analyzing the market you’re considering for your campaign sets a foundation for success or, conversely, can prevent you from spending time and money in a vertical that may not be worth pursuing. To help make this determination, you need to get a clear picture of the vertical’s makeup – elements such as market size, competition, barriers to entry and growth projections to name a few.
Perhaps most critical is that you understand the industry’s pain points and challenges in order to objectively assess whether your solution or service can help address them. Ask yourself how these challenges and pain points are common to and/or different from other verticals you serve.
If you’ve now determined this to be an opportunistic vertical to pursue, articulate the audience you wish to reach within it and begin developing buyer personas.
If you already have a significant number of contacts from this industry in your database, analyze how this segment responded to previous marketing communications and messages. If you do not have that data to start from, ensure that you build a plan to test what messages and offers resonate most strongly as you begin your outreach.
Examples of criteria to consider when researching your audience:
- Job titles that are focused on decision makers or key influencers
- Preferred methods of communication to engage them (e.g. webinars, social media)
- Type of content that resonates with them (educational, thought-leadership, practical information)
- Tone of voice they relate to (e.g. formal, casual, technical)
Step 2: Develop a content strategy
Use the research and buyer personas you developed in step 1 to begin crafting a content strategy that will connect you with your target audience.
Develop impactful, tailored B2B messaging and define the unique selling propositions (USP) that differentiates you from the competition. Be sure that your messaging and voice remains consistent across the different verticals you are targeting. A good way to do so is to start with the core messaging you use with general audiences and modify accordingly to increase resonation and relevancy with each vertical.
Once your strategy is defined, move on to content development. Again, before reinventing the wheel, review existing content to see what can be leveraged for this industry.
A few simple ways to do so include:
- Adding industry-specific calls-to-action (CTAs) and vocabulary
- Using industry-specific subject lines in marketing emails
- Including a brief, industry-specific preface where appropriate
- Referencing relevant industry-specific trends within your content
While you’ll want to leverage existing content as much as possible, also assess what new content may be needed to connect with each vertical audience.
Here are some of the content components you’ll likely want to consider when building out your overall plan:
- Are industry-specific landing pages needed for your campaign?
- Do you have relevant customer case studies within this industry to promote?
- Will any new sales enablement documents be needed to support the sales team? (e.g. talking points, slide decks, product datasheets)
- Will “Drip” or “Nurture” emails (a series of related emails) create engagement?
- Should paid search be part of your plan? If so, are industry-focused ads needed?
Step 3: Make yourself visible
With a solid content strategy and plan in place, it’s time to get noticed. Your persona research and content planning will help inform the online/digital channels (e.g. email marketing, website, social media) on which you should distribute your content to reach your audience as well as the offline channels and tactics (e.g. conferences, events, direct mail) you may want to employ. Simply put, you want to be where your audience already is.
If you’d benefit from more industry knowledge to confirm your initial research and to create connections, industry-specific events are often a good place to start. Events like these can be expensive, so determine what level of participation makes the most sense for you. It may be that exhibiting your solution and brand with a booth is a step worth taking. Or, you might just have a couple of people attend the event to meet face to face with targets.
In any case, events provide a great opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and deeper audience clarity. They also enable you to start building relationships with industry analysts, influencers and journalists which over time can become key advocates. Joining related associations, communities and social media groups will also help you gain more visibility and be part of the conversation.
Want to learn more about event marketing? Check out our eBook, “A B2B Marketer’s Guide to Event Marketing.”
Step 4: Measure and analyze performance
It’s important to test and measure performance for any marketing campaign and that’s especially true when going after a new vertical. Not only is there a learning curve for you to see what really resonates in this industry, there is also the fundamental decision of whether it makes sense to continue, increase or abandon your efforts.
Start by defining the right SMART Goals for your campaigns and establishing the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will inform how you are progressing towards these goals. As this is new territory, it is a best practice to analyze and report on performance more frequently in the beginning than what might be needed for more established verticals.
Following the four steps outlined above will help you and your team build impactful vertical marketing campaigns. As we noted at the outset, you don’t need years of industry-specific experience to make a meaningful splash. You just need to take a disciplined, well-structured approach to create campaigns that will connect.