Turning Your Niche Advertising Into A Sales Pipeline
The business to business (B2B) world of advertising can be difficult to navigate. Your typical B2B or industrial buyer isn’t scrolling through the internet in the same way that the average consumer is. But there are some methods of advertising that have proven to be highly successful for B2B companies; one of those being advertising in niche publications.
Niche publications don’t focus on the mass market – but rather target a highly specific audience, such as industrial automation or manufacturing products. This offers you the ability to reach your target market without hitting a ton of unqualified or unrelated readers.
There are a few steps to turning your niche advertising into a sales pipeline; knowing your audience, choosing a publication, developing your advertisement, and tracking your campaign.
Let’s Take A Minute To Consider How You Know Who To Target!
One of the best ways to identify your target market is to use buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional character you make up that represents the buyer of your products or services. Some aspects of your persona include job titles, company size, pain points, and even personal demographics. Get into as much detail as you can – and don’t forget to give your persona a name! It might seem silly but it’ll help humanize the persona you’ve developed. Check out this example:
Unsurprisingly, this is a tactic that is commonly used in B2C industries, however it is extremely useful for B2B businesses as well. Buyer personas can be incredibly helpful in terms of tailoring messaging and content and it’s even proven that companies using personas to tailor their messaging get 6x more engagement in their content!
Before you run off and start writing out your personas – take a moment. The key here is not to guess or use intuition, you want to get the most accurate information possible. So where can you start?
Talk to your customers
It’s important to talk to your customers – past & present. Talk to your most successful ones and get to know why they are so successful. Talk to the ones who struggled with you, find out why it wasn’t a fit.
Talk to your sales team
You also want to talk to your sales teams or other client-facing employees. They spend the most time interacting with your customers, so they’re likely to recognize their needs, wants and problems more than anyone else!
Don’t shy away from doing some research. Look for trends in the industry, who your competitors are targeting and scour through some LinkedIn profiles to get a feel for more specifics.
What About Choosing Which Publication To Advertise In?
Don’t rush this step. You already took the time to research your target market, not take the time to review the publication’s audience to see how closely it aligns with who you’re hoping to reach.
Beyond alignment with your audience, there are a few other things to consider when choosing a digital publication to advertise with.
Quality over quantity.
A bigger audience isn’t always better! For example, if you sell heat exchanger valves and you find a publication that specifically caters to people looking for heat exchanger valves, then it’s probably a good idea to advertise there even if the audience is small. That small audience is highly qualified and far more likely to convert than a less targeted publication.
Get the best bang for your buck.
In an ideal world, everyone’s marketing budget would be unlimited, but unfortunately, we live in the real world so dollars and cents make a difference. Compare ROI with costs, and determine what would give you the most results. Review different ad options within a publication, there may be more cost-effective options hidden in the media kit. Remember more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Research and explore all your options!
Trackability matters for ROI.
Have a look at the tracking capabilities associated with the publisher. The ability to track results and leads can mean as much as a 10X difference in ROI. Want to simplify the hunt for good tracking? ActiveConversion AdConnect (download product sheet) offers lead generation and tracking with almost any B2B publication.
Creating An Ad!
There are many different ad types you can choose from for your brand, and each ad has its own best practice to ensure that they are effective in reaching your audience.
For banner ads:
Use a high quality and the correct size. A blurry, pixelated image is definitely not going to drive strong engagement
Have a strong message or value proposition that makes someone want to click. Share some specific value or fact that will grab their attention.
Always have a call-to-action. Use words like “Learn more, download now, discover” – really anything that actually asks for an action from your audience.
Banner ads vary in size. Check out these examples of some different ad sizes!
On the other hand, if you choose to opt for sponsored content, the best practices are a little different.
Resist the urge to make your content sales-y! Keep content educational and then add in a few pieces on your company or products.
Choose a unique topic with an interesting title. It has to be engaging enough that they actually bother to click through and hold their attention enough that they at minimum quickly scroll through the article.
Don’t forget to include conversion paths. Add places for your audience to jump from their article to your own website. It can be to learn more about a specific product, read a case study, contact you, or whatever else makes sense in relation to the article.
Now you’re probably thinking about what happens once a prospect clicks on your ad – where do you direct them?
Probably the most overlooked practice, and potentially the most important, is to make the landing page relate to the ad! If the ad was about a specific semiconductor, then your landing page should have information about that semiconductor. Where they land is extremely important, so be cautious when choosing a landing page.
More & more people are viewing content and ads on their mobile devices, so keep your landing pages mobile-friendly. You want to make sure that if they click through to your website, it looks just as good as it does on a computer.
Lastly, don’t forget to add a form. These are one of the simplest ways to help you identify leads and determine level of interest. Ideally, your form will be for a piece of free content or something valuable to the lead. Also ensure that when you have a form on your page, you have it before the fold, which basically means have the form near the top of the page so someone doesn’t have to scroll to get to it.
I’ve Published My Ad – How Do I Track It?
Now depending on what you’re looking for from your ad, you’ll probably be more interested in tracking different things. If you’re like most B2B companies, you need qualified sales leads that you can share with your team. That’s where tracking and technology comes in.
In recent past, there were a couple of possible lead generation options available to advertisers.
Driving people to a landing page with a form
This is a good practice in general, but on average only 2-3% of people will fill out that form, meaning you’re missing out on 97% of possible leads!
Receiving a spreadsheet from the publisher with a list of company names or people who engaged
On first blush, this seems like a pretty good option – but it has some major flaws. It’s very difficult to follow attribution for sales made months or years later, and many people don’t know how to nurture these leads effectively. You’ll end up giving your sales team a list of 200 prospects without the ability to tell them which ones are the most important to reach out to.
Reminder! Watch out for the dreaded spam bot click! While email marketing companies try their best to counter it, there are bots from spam filters that randomly click-through URLs in emails to check that the link isn’t dangerous. This means some of the people in the list may never have actually clicked, they may just be from the dreaded spam bot.
So essentially what other choice do you actually have?
ActiveConversion has a solution created specifically at B2B and industrial companies. Identity resolution is a key attribute of the ActiveConversion software. In its most basic form, all this means is identifying the specific people that are engaging with your advertisements. It also identifies the people reading your content on the website and clicking ads on the site.
The most interesting aspect of the identity resolution, is that not only that we tell you who is clicking, but we tell you exactly what they look at on your website as well – not just the publishers. For example, a lead reads a piece of content about you in a publication and then decides to click through to your website and ends up browsing pages on a specific product range. You can then reach out with details on that product or nurture them with very targeted emails.
Conversely, if someone clicks through to your website and bounces off almost immediately, you know they’re probably not qualified to be reached out to just yet. Even better, is that it doesn’t have to be a direct click through from the publisher. A person can read your sponsored content and then Google your company three days later and land on your website but you’ll still be able to tie it all back together.
Just to give you an idea of the power of what we do, we did a few tests with some of our clients. When using ActiveConversion with a publisher, the client was able to identify 90% of the people clicking on their ads and content. Without it, they were only able to identify 2%. That’s a huge difference in ROI for your marketing team!
Advertising in niche publications shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re interested in turning your advertising into a sales pipeline, but don’t know which publication to advertise in, or where to start, fill out a Contact Us form, and we’d be happy to guide you.
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About Gail Moch
Gail has a background in marketing and technology that she puts to use as ActiveConversion's marketing manager. She has a passion for innovation and creativity that she applies to all aspects of her life. When she isn't at the office, Gail can be found relaxing with her husband and two dogs.