A vertical marketing strategy is one that is tightly focused on meeting the needs of a specific audience. By tailoring your message to an industry or audience, you are maximizing your engagement efforts and likely shortening the sales cycle and lessening the cost of sales.
Step #1 – Choosing a Vertical
Choosing the right vertical is crucial to ensuring success:
- Market potential – are there enough prospects to fill your pipeline for an extended period of time? Don’t choose too niche of a market with limited potential.
- Capacity and expertise – choose a vertical that you and your team have the ability to respond to immediately and provide a high level of service. The worst result would be to increase your leads in an industry that you don’t have the man power or skills to service.
- Profit margin – a vertical marketing strategy takes time and effort, so make it worth it. Choose a vertical with a high profit margin. Consider annual revenues and average length of engagement.
Step #2 – Developing Content Strategy
Content production is the most time consuming aspect of a vertical marketing campaign; however, in today’s age where buyers will likely know quite a bit about you prior to meeting, it’s key to have relevant, strategic content readily available through your website, social media outlets and other trusted sources.
- Know your audience – do your research, understand pain points and tailor your message accordingly.
- Spend time where they spend time – get published as an expert in publications they read, participate in organizations they participate in.
- Testimonials – your clients are an excellent source of future business. In a vertical strategy, be sure to highlight clients in that specific vertical.
- Article placements – earned media provides third party validation and positions you as a thought leader/expert.
- Blogs, case studies, white papers – showcase your expertise and past performance.
- Infographics – present information or data clearly and concisely by creating graphic visuals. People are more likely to review infographics than to read lengthy text.
Step #3 – Leveraging Existing Resources and Content
You’ve created a cohesive message and developed strategic content, now make sure you share it:
- Website – this is the most obvious place to share content, but make sure it is well organized and your targeted audience can easily find what is relevant to them.
- Drip marketing campaign – strategically share content over a period of time to warm a cold lead. This can be done through email or direct mail, but make sure you personalize your message.
- Include with proposals – share your testimonials, case studies, published articles, white papers and blog posts to increase your closing ratios by showing your relevance and setting yourself apart from your competition.
- Social media – share your article placements, case studies, white papers and blog posts to increase your brand awareness.
- Seminars/webinars – host a seminar, or webinar if your target audience is national or global. Partner with a client that can passively endorse you by speaking to a problem that you provided a solution to.
What’s next? It’s time to convert all your new, hot leads into sales.