The internet has been kind to niche businesses.
Before the advent of digital marketing, niche businesses had to spend their marketing budgets on advertisements and campaigns that were totally irrelevant to a large percentage of the people who saw them.
With digital marketing, that changed. Businesses could target their ads more narrowly, ensuring that they’d reach a larger number of potential clients.
Inbound marketing goes even further than digital marketing, as far as effectiveness for niche businesses. In fact, it’s just about a perfect match.
What is inbound marketing?
First, a definition – what’s inbound marketing, anyway? Simply put, it’s a series of connected, strategized marketing behaviors that are designed to bring potential customers to you – specifically, to your content or website.
This is opposed to outbound marketing, which comprises traditional marketing tactics like sign advertising, direct mail, billboards, etc. Even email marketing can be outbound marketing (although if you’re doing it correctly, using contacts who’ve opted in to receiving your emails, it’s a form of inbound).
Since so much of digital marketing is inbound, what’s the difference between the two terms? In reality, the difference is slight. Technically, however, digital marketing can be understood as various, individual marketing activities that a brand engages in – social media, blogging, writing white papers, etc.
Inbound marketing refers to the big-picture strategy that a brand’s digital marketing activities serve. It’s more about how all of those elements are interconnected to produce desired results.
Why is inbound marketing so effective for niche businesses?
So why does is inbound marketing something your niche business should be investing its time and resources in?
There are many reasons – but here are a few to start with.
Niche businesses need effective targeting even more than mainstream brands.
While targeting can help every brand trying to build an audience and attract new customers, targeting can be especially helpful for businesses that serve a very particular type of customer, or that offer a very particular type of service.
[bctt tweet=”Effective targeting is even more important for niche brands than it is for mainstream brands with wider audiences.” username=”marketingzen”]
Take, for example, MZ’s client EyeCare 20/20. This New Jersey ophthalmologist office needs to attract a specific type of customer: people who are considering or are in need of specialty eye care like LASIK or cataract surgery.
But EyeCare 20/20 doesn’t need to attract those people if they’re in Canada or California. They need to target people in need of eye surgery who also live in or near East Hanover, NJ, where the office is located.
With outbound marketing, like a print ad or a billboard, the office could reach people in a single geographic location – but 90% of the people who saw it probably wouldn’t need eye surgery.
With inbound marketing, however, EyeCare 20/20 can hit both their targets, increasing their ROI and improving their qualified lead generation.
[bctt tweet=”Inbound marketing helps niche businesses increase ROI and improve qualified lead generation.” username=”marketingzen”]
Creating original content that your audience values helps people find you online.
We all know content marketing is key to succeeding in the digital age – but do you know why?
Part of it is that consumers today demand it. They don’t want sales pitches; they want content that gives them something of value, whether that’s making them laugh for a couple of minutes or teaching them something new.
But there’s more to content marketing than just that. For one thing, posting original content on a regular basis gives Google more pages on your website to crawl. This can positively influence your search rankings.
In addition, the more quality content you have on the web, the more chances your customers have to find you.
If you have a blog, for example, you’ll almost certainly be referencing a wider range of keywords than you have on your site alone. A wider range of – still relevant – keywords can reach more people, drawing in more qualified leads and leading to more conversions.
Publicizing that content on social media can help you attract new customers, retain current customers, and build relationships with others in the industry.
When you’re posting original content on a schedule, you’ve got a whole lot more to share on social media. Sharing your blog posts, podcasts, etc. on your various social media platforms will give your fans something to engage with – and hopefully, encourage them to click and visit your website.
But there’s the all-important relationship-building aspect of social media, too. Niche businesses especially can benefit from developing relationships with others leading brands in their industry.
Working with industry influencers, for example, allows your business to reach new audiences.
Whether you’re guest blogging on an influencer’s site, asking an influencer to do an Instagram takeover, or appearing as a guest on an influencer’s YouTube channel, you’re gaining access to that influencer’s audience (and you should make sure that they’re getting access to yours, as well – relationships are a two-way street, after all).
In addition, staying active on social media, engaging with others in your industry, and positioning yourself as a thought leader by sharing your experience and views online all help you build credibility. And in a niche industry, credibility could be the reason that a potential customer picks you over your competitor.
The content you create as part of your inbound marketing strategy can literally attract new leads while you sleep.
Ads, whether online or offline, have a shelf life. Emails can be deleted. Direct mail is ineffective and usually ends up in the recycling bin.
A whitepaper that you post on your website, however, could attract a new lead at 3 a.m. this morning, or on a Saturday three years from now. Once a piece of content is up on the internet, it’s up there for good (which is an important thing to remember before dashing off a tweet or Facebook post, by the way).
This is why it’s so important that you post original, quality content on a regular basis. Each piece of content can be thought of as a lead generation tool – and one that will go on working for you indefinitely.
Inbound marketing is the perfect strategy for niche businesses of all types, as it lets you accurately target your highly specific audience and build credibility in your industry. For more, read “5 Awesome Digital Marketing Strategies for Niche Businesses.”