Vertical markets refer to industries, groups of related industries, or even subsets of industries. Smaller businesses rarely have the resources to succeed by attempting to meet the needs of all kinds of customers. More effective marketing usually focuses efforts on a key vertical.
CSPs will grow through mastering and expanding upon these specific industries and not by attempting to appeal to every kind of organization.
Tips to Expand Your Business by Narrowing Your Marketing to Key Verticals
By narrowing your market down to a specific industry or a few related industries, you can actually enjoy faster growth and less competition with lower marketing budgets.
These tips will help you become the go-to CSP for your best vertical markets.
1. Understand Industry Classifications First
Healthcare, manufacturing, finance, or real estate might refer to overall industries, but those terms describe many industries. For instance, healthcare verticals might include hospitals, health insurance, doctors, researchers, or even wellness industries.
As a first step, you can narrow your focus down by using these resources:
- The US Census has a list you can use at any time from the North American Industry Classification System.
- You can further inform your industry research and tune your focus with Hoovers Industry Reports.
2. Understand the Pain Points of That Industry to Tune Your Message
Once you’ve decided that you intend to target hospitals, community banks, or any other vertical, you can immerse yourself in uncovering the competitive advantage that you can offer these organizations to help solve problems. For instance, you could define exactly how your business might make services more accessible, affordable, or secure than competitive companies or services.
You need to understand why these businesses should work with your company before you can communicate these benefits to your customers. Some ways to get started by include attending industry events to network, using online tools like BuzzSumo to see which topics get shared the most, or keeping up with industry forums, blogs, and journals.
3. Plan How to Reach Your Key Verticals
Once you’ve developed your marketing message, you simply need to make certain that your potential customers hear it. Once you have refined your marketing message and know who you need to reach, figuring out how to communicate with the right people should become a lot easier.
These effective tactics can help distribute your content and make the connections that you need to grow your CSP:
- Niche platforms: Create a microsite or section of your main website that focuses on the intended vertical. This gives you a way to create highly focused landing pages that can help you collect leads or encourage online visitors to pick up their phones.
- Social marketing: Participate in LinkedIn groups that discuss issues for the industry. You can contribute or even start your own discussions as a helpful resource that other members can contact for help. You can also find industry influencers on other social networks, like Facebook or Twitter.
- Live events: Attend and contribute to trade shows and conventions related to the organizations that you hope to target. You can collect in-person leads, get to know key players, and work to establish your brand in the industry by making yourself visible.
- Free classes: Sponsor online or offline educational programs with webinars, workshops, or free local classes that address pain points. Educational programs will help enhance your credibility as the go-to expert. If you don’t care to hold classes, you might also consider offering a free white paper in exchange for contact information.
- Press: Connect with the industry press or bloggers by offering insights, sources, press releases, and other helpful material. Let people in your targeted verticals see your company, executive, or employee names associated with the answers they are looking for.
- Paid ads: Consider renting high-quality lists or investing in paid ads for outreach programs. The suggestions above can help you build your own quality prospect lists, but you can more quickly test and tune your message with some careful investments. For instance, if you plan to develop an educational program, you will want to make sure that you let plenty of people know about it. If you don’t already have a large list, you may benefit by paying to increase it at first.
Why Vertical Marketing Works for CSPs
Every industry has their own issues, lingo, and points of contact. Instead of exhausting your resources by trying to appeal to every industry, you may fair better by focusing upon very narrow niches at first. Once you have attracted a customer base in your niche, you can grow by expanding to related industries. Your industry research, understanding of the benefits that you offer, and customer outreach will ensure that your brand is the one that your customers think of first.