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    June 25, 2012 // 10:16 AM

    Why Inbound Marketing Is Perfect for Your Niche Business

    Written by Ellie Mirman | @

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    Do you consider your business to be "niche?" If so, inbound marketing was made for you! Think about it: if you're in a niche industry, any large-scale outbound marketing initiatives (TV ads, billboards, newspaper ads) will reach an audience that is 99% irrelevant to your business. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, lets you attract the most qualified prospects to your business, wherever they are. In fact, some of the most dramatic successes we've seen with inbound marketing come from businesses in niche industries. It's true! Here are six points that will make you believe that you and inbound marketing were meant to be together.

    1) You Can Get Found for Your Expertise

    As a niche business, you have very specific expertise that is valuable to your prospects and customers. Therefore, you shouldn't want to talk to just any prospect; you should want to talk to prospects who are in the right industry and role and who have problems that you solve. Especially if you're in a niche industry, there is likely a finite number of places people can go for information specific to that area. 71% of B2B buyers go to the internet to get that information. Don't you want to be the one they find?

    By creating content that specifically addresses topics relative to your niche industry, the buyers looking for your specific expertise will find you. And optimizing that content for the keywords your prospects and customers use will help put you in front of the specific people who have an interest in your product.

    Case Study: Local Landscaping Company Aims to Become Top-Ranked Business Website in Their Area

    For a local company, Distinctive Landscaping's "niche" is its geography. In addition to defining its typical customer, this landscaper maintenance service provider in North Attleboro, Massachusetts defined its geographic service area to target its marketing. Distinctive Landscaping's President, Jason Scott, identified the keywords his potential customers were using to search for his services. He coupled that with keywords for his geographic area and started creating content on his website.

    He's since been able to rank in the top four organic search results for Distinctive Landscaping's top keywords and double its website's overall traffic in the span of just a year. Jason found a huge opportunity in his industry and region -- his competitors weren't blogging, but his prospects and customers were searching online. Today, Distinctive Landscaping ranks higher in search engines than all of its competitors. Read more about Distinctive Landscaping's success here.

    2) You Can Connect With Your Specific Audience in Social Media

    Getting found by a narrow audience is not confined to search engines -- it expands to many online channels, including social media. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or an industry-specific social network, these sites allow you to directly connect with your target audience. And the more narrow your audience, the easier it is to identify the specific contacts engaging on these social networks. Take advantage of these sites to engage with your prospects outside of your website and outside of an in-person or over-the-phone interaction.

    To help you evaluate whether a particular social network is a good fit for marketing to your specific niche audience, ask yourself the following questions, which we elaborate on in this blog post:

    1. Who are the users of the social network?
    2. Are these users potential customers, or do they have the ability to influence your potential customers?
    3. What types of content are those people passionate about and likely to share?
    4. How does content get exposed to other people on the network?
    5. Can you create new types of content for your business to leverage a popular new social network?
    6. How much time and resources are required to participate in this social network?
    7. Can you foresee a promising ROI?

    3) You Can Attract Prospects Wherever (Or Whenever) They Are

    Unless you are a local business, chances are that the number of qualified prospects in a 10-mile radius of your office is pretty small. But as you expand that circle -- to the whole state, country, or worldwide -- those numbers start to add up to your whole universe of prospects. With inbound marketing, you can easily build an online presence to attract prospects no matter where they are. Furthermore, inbound marketing is long-lasting. You could be relaxing on your porch on a Saturday, hammering out a blog post, and a prospect might read that blog post on a Tuesday morning in their office a year from now.

    4) You Can Stand Out as a Thought Leader

    You have specific expertise in your niche industry, and sharing that with your prospects shows them you are an expert and builds up trust in you as a potential product or service provider. Business blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise before someone even talks to you -- and as you build a relationship with them over time. It also allows you to essentially become your own media company, publishing your knowledge for others to see that you are an expert and thought leader.

    Publishing your expertise helps not only your prospects find you but also other journalists and bloggers who may end up writing about and linking to you. Blogging and engaging in social media has turned into many PR opportunities for us at HubSpot over the years, because it allows us to show our thought leadership and engage with publishers at the time when they're looking for supporting content for stories.

    Case Study: Electronic Packaging Systems Company Blogs Their Way to More Traffic and Visibility

    Palomar Technologies is a supplier of advanced microelectronic and optoelectronic packaging systems -- not what you'd expect to be the topic of not one, but two, hot industry blogs. They started blogging as part of an effort to increase the volume of content (pages) on their site, increasing their chances of getting found in search engines, and building credibility in industry-specific topics.

    "Because this is a niche business, because there are not a lot of people in the world who do what we do, we are often the first stop for any kind of information about advanced packaging for the microelectronics and optoelectronics industries," Palomar's marketing communications specialist Rich Hueners said. After just four months of blogging, their monthly traffic -- and specifically Google search traffic -- increased almost 20x, and they accumulated over 1,000 inbound links, which are critical for SEO. Read more about Palomar Technologies' success here.

    5) You Can Generate High-Quality Conversions

    For inbound marketing to be truly successful, you need more than just high-quality visitors coming to your site. You actually need to know who those visitors are and be able to identify and follow up with qualified prospects. That's why one of the key parts of inbound marketing is creating targeted marketing offers that are valuable to your potential customers. So when you have a truly targeted and valuable offer that you put behind a landing page on your website, the people who fill out that form will be highly qualified leads for your team to follow up with.

    Case Study: Enterprise-Focused Mobile Software Solutions Company Uses Targeted Landing Pages for Specific Customers

    TotalMobile offers mobile solutions designed to assist local authorities, government agencies, and housing associations in managing employees' workflow to maximize productivity and reduce operational costs. Not only are they in a niche market, but they also have very different target personas within that. They had previously used their website for brand awareness and as a static page on the internet. But by creating landing pages, setting up lead nurturing, and monitoring prospect activities, they've turned their website into a lead generation tool.

    They created landing pages for each specific application geared toward a highly targeted customer, helping them reach the right prospects in the right way, and helping them qualify the leads they were getting. In an interview with BostInnovation, TotalMobile Director of Marketing Sunniya Saleem shared this piece of advice to fellow marketers: "Make sure your efforts are aligned to the real-estate on your website and that you have appropriate landing pages set up." In other words, if you want to generate leads from your website, dedicate some real estate on your website for lead conversion opportunities. Read more about TotalMobile's success here.

    6) You Can Measure Everything

    Niche businesses are frequently on tight budgets (although really, which business isn't)? Luckily, inbound marketing activities have the additional benefit that they are highly measurable. From measuring exactly where your visitors are coming from to what content they're downloading to which marketing campaigns bring in actual customers, inbound marketing allows you to measure all of your activities to understand what's working and what's not. All so you can make better marketing decisions and figure out where to invest your future time and money for the best results. And what's not to love about that?

    Are you in a niche business? How have you used inbound marketing, and what successes have you seen?

    Image Credit: jonespointfilm

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing

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