Many B2B companies mistakenly assume that every customer uses their products or solutions in the same way. This may hold true for some businesses. But different industries may have significantly different needs that are addressed by your solution.
For example, take an IT managed service provider with an investment firm as a client. Investment firms will have strict regulatory and compliance challenges regarding the storage and back-up needs of shareholders’ data. However, the data storage needs of a manufacturing or construction industry client may be relatively simple. By treating all prospects the same, you will miss opportunities to build deeper connections that can lead to increased sales.
Businesses that recognize and communicate these vertical nuances within their marketing content can enjoy many benefits, including standing out from the boilerplate content that their competitors may utilize. Additionally, an advantage to incorporating content specialization, is that you may attract more “focused” website visitors who are seeking answers for niche subjects or solutions. The more highly-relevant website visitors you attract, the less widespread competition you face for your content.
Getting Started with Vertical Segmentation
Vertical segmentation organizes businesses based on their industry or specialized need. A vertical approach to content can be very effective in helping your business become known as a thought leader and best-in-class solution for your target market. If you’re just getting started with segmentation, it’s best to start with one or two vertical markets for an initial focus.
Here are a few simple steps to get your database organized:
- Know your niche: Review your database for prospects and current clients. What are top industries you are currently serving? Healthcare, manufacturing, SLED, etc.
- Review sub-segments: What are the sub-segments of these verticals? Diagnostic labs, the food industry, education, etc.
- Separate clients and prospects: How many existing customers and prospects in the vertical do you currently have? Separate these contacts into different lists.
- Append data if necessary: If your current database does not specify industries, the NAICS Association’s website has a tool that provides access to look up a company’s SIC code and offers a paid data append service.
- Create buyer personas: Once you have identified your primary focus verticals, create buyer personas or fictional / generalized representations of your ideal customer for each vertical. The personas will help you understand your customers better and make it easier to create content that addresses their industry’s specific needs. When creating personas, be mindful that you may have several buyers for each vertical. For example, a hospital may have several different decision makers, including clinicians, financial administrators, department managers, etc.
- Have the right marketing technology in place: Consider leveraging a marketing automation tool like HubSpot to put your segmentation to use. With the HubSpot platform, you can build out your personas in the tool and then use them to segment your database using the Personas Tools.
- Finalize the Segmentation Process: Once you have segmented your database by vertical, be sure to funnel any new contacts into the appropriate segment and persona.
Penetrate a Vertical Market Using Targeted Content
The decision to focus on a vertical market should not be taken lightly. You should have a knowledge of the industry; speak the language, its terminology, and jargon; and be familiar with its regulatory or compliance challenges. You need to know the industry’s pain points, as well as the key players in the decision process – is it one person, or are there many stakeholders?
Knowing this information, you can position your business as an expert in your chosen vertical through specialized content. Your content should seek to meet the unique needs of your target market. As you’re thinking about your content strategy, be sure that each vertical has content that is tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Apply vertical segmentation by using these tactics:
- An optimized blog is a must: Create blog content to attract more of the segments you want to your website.
- Involve your friends and colleagues: Seek guest blogging opportunities on non-competing company websites that also sell solutions to your vertical. Or solicit guest blogs on your site from industry experts.
- Rework your website content: Edit the messaging that appears on your website so it better speaks to your targeted verticals.
- Worker smarter, not harder on your emails: Adapt the tone and topics of your emails. Read our recent blog post on smart content, to learn more about tailoring your messaging.
- Don’t forget about social proof: Include industry-specific customer testimonials in your marketing. Social proof adds validity to the claims you make on your website.
- Get social: Identify, join, and post to relevant industry LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
- Show that you mean business: Create case studies for each vertical that showcase a challenge and how you provided a solution. Include industry-specific photos and materials.
At Precision Marketing Group, we believe that if you try to market to everyone, you reach no one. Vertical marketing provides the opportunity to speak to the prospects that matter most to your business. To learn more about the tactics we discussed in the post, check out the information below:
- How Influencers Can Enhance Your B2B Twitter Marketing Strategy
- Expedite the Buyer's Journey with this Smart Content Overview
- Blogging Tips: 9 Lead Conversion Best Practices
- How To Market Services – Treat Them Like a Product
If you’re looking for a more in-depth resource, read The Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Even The Smartest Companies Make... And How You Can Avoid Them. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.