A lot of B2B marketing teams struggle with social media, yet there’s increasing evidence that niche B2B marketing can provide spectacular results when combined with social media.
In fact, it’s been suggested that the smaller the focus, the easier it is to deliver meaningful results.
There is a logic to this: if you’re writing on a topic that has a broad relevance to millions of people, your content is likely to get lost in the crowd. If you’re targeting a niche audience, however, you’ve got a big head-start: you know what they want, to the exclusion of all the other fluff and bluster on the web.
There are platforms – LinkedIn being the obvious one – that enable you to target individuals by organisation and job title, so you can drill right down and reach users who will be most receptive to your message.
With a little trial and error and a small budget, you can quickly start to get your content (which we discuss more below) in front of a very specific group of people. Twitter also offers good targeting options, though less focused.
LinkedIn’s advertising platform can also be useful to create detailed audience personas – roles, companies, interests, locations, mobile usage etc. and help provide a picture of how large your audience is. For example, there are around 7,000 qualified vets in the UK listed on LinkedIn.
With just that snippet of information, you can start to plan campaign ideas.
So you’ve got messages and content you want to share: how can you identify the best topics to give your niche B2B marketing campaign real impetus?
You obviously need to choose topics that will deliver returns, and also calculate whether topic is worthy of a full campaign or just a post?
Here are a few points to bear in mind…
- Topics need to be based on customer pain-points – which can change month-to-month.
- Topics mustn’t be about your products/services – but must be close enough that they will attract relevant leads.
- Identifying topics: Look at Google/web analytics for popular content, run a survey/poll, look at trending topics by searching Twitter.
- Test your topics: Run a Twitter/Facebook poll or publish a blog post – see if they fly.
If you find some of your content to be a little on the dry side, try taking a different approach to packaging your content.
One quick example: Cision is a company that offers media intelligence to PR and communications sectors. It isn’t exactly the most entrancing of subject matters, yet Cision turned that on its head by producing a PDF packed full of eye-catching illustrations and snippets of copy that made the subject matter sing.
Once you’ve got your topics locked down, you need to consider what formats to choose to get your content out there. Blogs and social posts are the obvious ones, but webinars, events and infographics should also be on the menu if you want to put together the complete content package.
Electron Technology plc. launched a new product in 2014 aimed at improving food safety in large restaurant chains and hotels by digitising the recording of hygiene records. As part of their content strategy they produced a range of webinars featuring recognised brands such as KFC.
The webinars were part of a package that delivered results in terms of leads generated and awareness raised of a very niche product. Jeremy Taylor of OST Marketing, who devised and ran the campaign, explains:
“The food safety industry, like many B2B industries, has been starved of engaging content. This meant that, with just a little promotion, our fun graphics, focused webinars and accessible white papers were widely shared and discussed. It’s very niche-ness drove the campaign’s success.”
Every piece of content – whatever the format – also needs to have a clear purpose, with its qualities clearly defined. If you’re writing a blog, then you’re doing so to demonstrate your brand’s knowledge. It must be in-depth, up-to-date and SEO-optimised.
You should also put a plan in place to scale content. Here are some tips to enable you to do that…
- Start publishing news
- Curate third-party content
- Use advocates
- Get ‘expert’ interviews
- Use content tools
There are a number of options for amplifying your content online, but which will drive the biggest impact?
Your options include email, website/blog (SEO), advertising, social media and even hosting events; you should be doing whichever will help you reach your audience.
- SEO has the biggest long-term impact via organic search.
- Advertising is critical for reaching niche audiences, but gets expensive if you target senior execs.
- Events can be high-impact, but also high cost.
- Email combines well with social media and blog content.
- Social media works best with a focus on influencer engagement.
Of course, essential to your success is accurate measurement. In particular, it’s essential to know which parts of your marketing ‘funnel’ are working, and which aren’t.
Are you reaching enough people? Are people engaging with, viewing or reading your content/ads? Are they taking the next action – e.g. to click to your website? Are they then subscribing or enquiring?
The question of end-to-end tracking and attribution is tricky (especially in relation to social), but increasingly B2B brands are putting technology in place to fill the data gaps. For a price, solutions such as Hubspot, Marketo and Parature can provide a degree of customer tracking and insight that makes measurement and evaluation much easier. They are certainly worth exploring.
Put all these insights into practice and you’ve a great chance of running a successful niche B2B campaign. If you’ve already done it and have feedback to share, by all means comment or Tweet us.