As you work to maximize leads and, in turn, sales, your impulse may be to create website copy, advertising and business services that please everyone. This strategy, though, may end up exhausting both you and your company’s resources without connecting you with the right customers. Here are five ways to employ niche marketing in 2018 to focus your efforts for the best impact:
- Know where you can and can’t compete.
Amazon, for example, has a huge breadth and depth of products, good pricing and very fast shipping. You’re not going to be able to beat Amazon in any of those areas, so don’t bank on any one of them as a competitive differentiator. Instead, consider how you are already superior to your large competitors in the eyes of your most profitable customers.
In “Epic Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi writes about working with a pet store owner to focus their marketing efforts. After analyzing their business’ data to identify their most profitable customers, and acknowledging the futility of competing directly with giants PetSmart and Petco, the store decided to go from marketing to pet owners in general to marketing to the specific niche of pet owners in Florida that travel with their dogs in a recreational vehicle. This helped them fine-tune their marketing message, target the right audience with that message and grow sales.
- Provide (and monetize) services your best customers actually care about.
Most businesses can easily provide examples of customers that are unprofitable because of frequent claims/returns or their strain on sales or customer service reps’ time. There are many ways to approach this problem, but the key is to identify which services are valued by your most profitable customers and figure out how to adequately charge for them. You must also eliminate or begin to charge for the services that your least profitable customers are using to bleed you dry. You may have to say farewell to some of your worst customers in the process, but it will be worth it. If you don’t, your least profitable customers will continue to eat away at margins, and you’ll have limited resources to put to services that your best customers care most about.
- Optimize your website for long-tail keywords.
You may not be able to rank high for the “industrial distributor” search term in Google, but with a bit of time and effort, you could begin to rank high for more specific terms like “industrial distributor in Houston, TX,” “best fasteners for auto industry” or “petroleum industry safety supplies.” This strategy works for two reasons. One is that the more specific the keyword phrase is, the less competition there typically is for it. The other is that it enables you to bring Google searchers that are looking for exactly what you offer straight to your website, improving the quality of your lead pool before they even begin to interact with you. To identify keywords relevant to your business that have decent volume and low competition, use Google’s free Keyword Planner tool or a paid tool like Wordtracker.
- Analyze past content to see what’s resonating.
Just because you wrote a whitepaper or blog on topic X every year for the last five years doesn’t mean you should do it again. Analyze the popularity, shareability and conversion metrics of past content to see what’s resonating most and leading to the most new leads and sales. Then, create a content calendar for 2018 that includes, repurposes and expands on your best-performing topics. Also, consider launching an advertising campaign that boosts your best-performing pieces.
- Embrace your company’s personality.
We do a lot of ghost writing for clients, and as I analyzed the most-read blogs and articles from 2017 for each of them, I noticed a trend: The articles that did the best job of letting the client’s personality shine through also performed better than other, tamer articles. Talk to your customers to find out what they like most about doing business with you and your team. Is it your friendliness, professionalism or problem-solving ability, or even your company’s sense of humor? For one of our clients, their pulls-no-punches personality is part of their appeal. Whatever your business’ unique personality is, embrace it rather than watering it down to be universally appealing (and uninteresting).
Looking for more ways to achieve more by doing less in 2018? Download our free whitepaper, 5 Time-Saving Hacks for B2B Marketers.