We are living in an era where the amount of information is growing, spreading, and being consumed at an unprecedented rate. Today’s shopper turns a blind eye to most marketing messages and the latest studies reveal that it takes six to eight “touches” (voicemails, conversations, emails – not ad impressions) to make a lead truly qualified.
As B2B marketers, this makes our job more challenging and keeps us on our toes. Fortunately, we have tools at our disposal to segment with laser-like precision and carefully craft our messaging with an “industry first” mindset.
The Digital Marketer’s Edge
As digital marketers, we have an edge over our traditional marketing counterparts. Advertising via TV and radio is still very expensive and too often those messages fall on deaf ears. For example, the TV commercial from a pharmaceutical company discussing a drug that helps those with a rare form of rheumatoid arthritis will resonate with at most 0.6 percent of their U.S. viewing audience.
Fortunately, in digital marketing (especially B2B), we have a plethora of tools available to give us the upper hand so that our message consistently hits our audience right between the eyes.
Never before in the history of marketing have marketers had such valuable insight on how to connect with shoppers who have shown an in interest in your product or service. Social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn now allow us to present our messages to specific companies, job titles, and industries.
Need to know the company that your non-so-anonymous website visitor works for? There’s an app for that.
Want to show ads to shoppers who spent time on your website? There’s a remarketing campaign for that.
But let’s dive deeper to understand how you can help your clients really stand out from the crowd.
I am going to focus on why building industry-specific content and targeting by verticals can lead to better sales opportunities.
Know Thy Audience (and Segment Them)
I will presume you are already capturing emails of visitors who are opting into your content. Some larger CRMs (e.g. Salesforce, HubSpot) do a decent job of identifying the industry based on what it can look up from the provided corporate email address. Although smaller CRMs don’t have this luxury, work with an assistant who can manually look up each contact and add the industry to the lead’s company record, and make this a part of the process as new leads emerge.
Take this a step further and capture their role within the company. LinkedIn and Discover.org are two resources that can help with this. Once you know their job title, then associate personas so your messaging can be even more fine-tuned. The blog article you send to a warehouse employee will look different than the case study you send a CEO.
By segmenting your audience by industry and role within the company, your message will speak their language, setting yourself up for higher open and click-through rates (let the Sales team know things are about to get busy).
Verticalize Your Content and Scale It Via the 80/20 Rule
Adobe has claimed that “57 percent of email recipients consider a message to be spam if it isn’t relevant to their needs, even when they know the vendor well.” This is a scary statistic, so how can you slice your content to make it hyper-relevant for your audience?
As a marketing consultant working in a boutique yet full-service agency, I have to be careful with how I spend my time (and our agency’s budget). Our team got creative on how to scale our content marketing production without sacrificing quality, and did it without exponentially increasing the budget.
By applying the 80/20 rule, we produce 80 percent of rock star content (e.g. case studies, ebooks, white papers) that we can “templatize” and will apply to nearly any industry. Then we modify the remaining 20 percent that speaks to a specific industry, which allows us to re-purpose the original 80. Examples of the 20 percent we tweak may include:
- Swapping out generic images with action shots of employees working within that industry
- Adding quotes from actual employees from that industry (including well-known speakers and subject matter experts in the industry)
- Spotlight the industry by referencing stats, studies, publications and trendy headlines that come from the industry
- Use the industry vernacular and acronyms so you’re speaking their language
Since we’re able to re-use 80 percent of the content and only change 20, we can scale more relevant content at an extremely fast rate.
Get Nichey: Dig Deeper With Sub Industries
Most industries have specialties, or more specific “sub-industries” within a vertical. Whether you’re working with clients in the healthcare, banking, or home services industry, constantly ask yourself if your messages are reaching maximum impact with your target audience.
For example, after convincing one of our clients to double-down on targeting the Food & Beverage industry, it didn’t take long to see that two sub-verticals in particular (coffee roasters and bakeries) were closing three times the rate of the other food & beverage sub-industries. This “aha!” moment revealed where to focus our efforts for more articles and case studies. Word spread fast on how they became the best in class software for that particular vertical.
Set Your Industry-Savvy Sales Reps Up for Greater Success
Modern marketing automation and CRM tools (e.g. HubSpot, Salesforce) can route the lead to the rep based on the implied industry (rather than the traditional way of routing by territory).
When inbound leads start landing in your CRM, make sure it identifies the industry (based on the industry-specific pages they visited). By recognizing industry signals and correlating the industry they belong to, you can route those leads to the Sales rep who would have a higher likelihood of establishing rapport with the prospect.
For example, if one member of the Sales team works on cars in his spare time and the marketing platform revealed the visitor was looking for an automotive parts inventory system, then ideally you could configure the platform to match that lead with the rep who is a part-time car enthusiast (rather than his colleague who has never peeked under the hood of his car). Routing the lead to the rep with the most industry expertise is a smart formula that can provide yet another edge in lifting close rates.
Get the SaaS Marketing Edge
To truly stand out in today’s overwhelming connected world, SaaS marketers must avoid sounding too generic. Take the extra time in your content marketing efforts to sound different, insightful, and most of all, hyper-relevant by addressing the benefits and value you can deliver within their industry.
After you apply these principles, watch not only your conversion rates go up, but notice the smiles on the Sales reps’ faces after you’ve connected them to more qualified prospects that led to record-breaking sales.