With content now a cornerstone of inbound marketing, it’s vital that the material your clients post on their sites reaches the right people. It’s often said that the tighter your niche, the more successful your marketing will be – after all, you don’t need millions of customers, do you? You just need enough of the right ones!
So the smaller and more focused the group that you are speaking to, the more targeted your content is likely to be. That doesn’t happen by accident; it happens by developing a targeted content strategy aimed at reaching precisely the customers your clients want.
Tip #1: Identify Target Market Segments
First off, you need to know who your audience is. Not just the broad target market, but specifically who you want to reach. You do this by identifying your primary target group, then breaking it down into sub-groups based on common needs and wants. Let’s say you’re a remodeling contractor, for example. Sure, you can do everything from fixing a roof to remodeling a bathroom. That makes homeowners your general target market. But that’s really, really broad, so narrowing it down by location and project could give you a primary niche of, say, new homeowners in a specific geographical area who are looking to remodel their bathrooms.
Once you’ve done that, you can segment the market further. Possible segmentation could look like this:
- Segment 1 – Young couples in their first home, who want a romantic master bathroom
- Segment 2 – Families needing to remodel the second bathroom to accommodate young children
- Segment 3 – Mature families wanting to remodel a bathroom for their senior years or their dependent parents
Each of these segments gives you the opportunity to target them specifically with your content, regardless of whether you choose one niche or more.
Tip #2: Develop Customer Personas
Even segmentation isn’t enough for a real, targeted content strategy. You also need to develop buyer personas. Compile detailed profiles for each segment based on real-life characters who fit into those groups. Here’s an example:
Joe Smith, 52, lives with his wife in Greenside, Ohio in a family home he’s owned for 25 years. Joe’s 78 year old mother Betty is coming to live with them in six months, probably for the rest of her life. Betty has severe arthritis, which means she has limited mobility and needs special aids and a walk-in bathtub.
If you’re targeting segment 3, won’t this give you better insight into how to target Joe Smith with your content strategy, as opposed to the strategy you would use to target buyers in segment 2?
Tip #3: Map Content to Stages in the Buying Cycle
Working backwards, start with a customer buying your remodeling services for his bathroom from you. The buyer moves through the cycle of Awareness, Evaluation and then Purchase, and at each stage you want to encourage him to move to the next. Ask the following questions:
- What route would the buyer take to get from identifying his need (awareness) to making a purchase (in this case, contracting you to renovate his bathroom)?
- What content can you provide to help buyers in the Awareness stage identify their needs?
- How can you facilitate prospective buyers’ evaluation of the services available to remodel bathrooms for senior safety in a way that will ensure they choose your services?
- What can you offer to persuade the buyer to close the deal (Purchase stage)?
Tip #4: Look for the Sweet Spots
While this is the ideal scenario, it may be impossible for a small business to create the amount of material needed for a targeted content strategy of this nature. That’s where intersections can help. Called “sweet spots” these intersections are opportunities where one buyer persona intersects with another, and you can target both with the same content. For example: combine the marketing a bathroom remodel for elderly parents with marketing of a remodel in preparation for the buyer’s own senior years. That gives you two market segments for the price of one. Double bang for your buck!
Tip #5: Make Price Irrelevant
If your car needs work, who would you rather take it to - the guy at the corner or the mechanic who specializes in the same make? The latter, I’m certain. Especially if it doesn’t depend on the cost. If your targeted content strategy is effective and you can establish your reputation as an expert in a very specific niche, you can make price almost irrelevant in the scheme of things.
Nobody believes in an “expert” who can do everything; but many, many people believe in an expert who remodels bathrooms for seniors. And when Joe Smith wants the very best for his mother – or himself – he’ll likely be prepared to spend a little more to make sure he gets it. The days are gone when you could advertise to everyone. They’re no longer listening and won’t respond, because they’re busy hearing the message from someone else that speaks to them directly.