Last Updated: June 6, 2015
Today, more than ever before, consumers have the power to decide what products and services they want and need. With so much choice comes the risk of being bombarded with advertising messages. While this phenomenon is as old as mass media itself, the sheer volume of information circulating online has made it more relevant than ever before.
The challenge is how to reach consumers’ attention in an effective manner. Marketers have long used various marketing tactics to reach their target audiences. However, with so much competition, platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have made it difficult to reach those audiences.
These same platforms have also made it easier for consumers to find and connect with other people with shared interests. Combined with the ability to target advertising to niche groups, this has led to a new marketing strategy: vertical marketing.
What is vertical marketing?
In a nutshell, vertical marketing leverages the power of online social platforms like LinkedIn to reach people with shared interests and connects them with relevant products and services. Just about anyone with a LinkedIn account can take advantage of this feature. However, marketers must make sure they are doing their due diligence by screening potential leads before engaging with them on LinkedIn.
Why should you use LinkedIn to screen leads?
Well, for starters, LinkedIn is a trusted source of information for over 210 million users. Moreover, it’s one of the most popular social networks, with over 490 million active users as of April 2015. As a marketer, you simply cannot ignore this platform.
What else should you look for in a marketing plan?
Besides using LinkedIn, you need to look for other platforms that your target audience uses. If you want to reach people interested in fashion, for example, you should look to platforms like Pinterest and Instagram as well as blogs such as those by style icons like Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr.
With so much competition, it’s essential to find a way to stand out from the crowd. One way is to target the right audience with your marketing message and to build trust with your leads. Although online advertising may be effective, it can be difficult to measure. That’s why it’s important to follow the tried and tested methods of traditional marketing. That’s not to say that these platforms don’t offer any value. Far from it. Social media is crucial for spreading brand awareness, connecting with consumers, and establishing credibility. It’s also a useful tool for engaging with customers and stimulating conversation. But it’s not the be all and end all.
If you want to reach your target audience, you need to start by defining and understanding them. Although you may assume that your audience is made up of people with shared interests, that’s not necessarily the case. In some instances, they may not even be interested in your product (or service) at all.
With so much competition, it’s essential to find a way to stand out from the crowd. One way is to target the right audience with your marketing message and to build trust with your leads. That’s not to say that these platforms don’t offer any value. Far from it. Social media is crucial for spreading brand awareness, connecting with consumers, and establishing credibility. It’s also a useful tool for engaging with customers and stimulating conversation. But it’s not the be all and end all. Even though you may not have the most sophisticated understanding of your target audience, you can start by looking at demographic data. For example, let’s say you are a marketing manager at a large organization and you want to promote an online survey to help with marketing research. If you know that your audience mostly consists of professionals, you might want to consider focusing on LinkedIn’s Pro-Membership program. This program allows organizations to target the right audience and to build trust with them. If your survey is going to provide valuable feedback to improve your product or service, why shouldn’t you share it with the people who can benefit from it the most?
In keeping with the theme of this article, let’s say you’re a marketer for an organization that provides guidance and support for small businesses. You want to promote an upcoming event to educate potential customers about the benefits of your product. While there’s nothing wrong with this kind of marketing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone interested in your product will necessarily be interested in the upcoming event as well. Moreover, you don’t want to appear overzealous by spamming your audience with unnecessary messages.
So, how can you target the right audience and still make sure that your event is relevant to them? The answer is through vertical marketing.
By looking at your target audience’s behavior on other platforms like LinkedIn, you can determine what kinds of content and messaging they’re interested in, which helps you figure out what to share on your own platform.
An example is a health-related business. It may be that your target audience is interested in healthy living or self-care. If so, you could share helpful tips or news articles about nutrition and exercising. You could also look at your target audience’s behavior on social platforms like Twitter to see what kinds of content they’re liking and retweeting. This way you can determine what content will engage them and which won’t.
For instance, if you run a wellness center and your target audience mostly uses Twitter, you may decide to create a Twitter account for your business. This account can then be used to share relevant news articles, health tips, and offers about nutrition and fitness. Moreover, you can engage with your followers by using the platform’s features to share content that is tailored to them. This way, you can ensure that your platform appeals to your target audience and that your content is relevant and interesting.
Why should you use digital marketing to promote your events?
Aside from the fact that you can target the right audience and build trust with them, digital marketing has a few other perks. First, you can do this remotely. If you’re meeting with your audience in person, you have to consider accommodation and travel costs. Moreover, it’s not always easy to find the right people at the right time to meet with and engage with. With digital marketing, you can put your event online and connect with potential attendees from wherever you are (assuming, of course, that they’re geographically close enough).
Second, you can measure the results of your digital marketing strategy. You know what? It’s not always easy to prove that marketing online resulted in a sale or increased brand awareness. However, with a website like Google Analytics, you can track the behavior of your audience and determine the effectiveness of your efforts. Don’t get me wrong, you should still try and measure the results of your offline marketing strategy. For example, if you’re sending out flyers or doing face-to-face marketing, it’s still essential to have a control group. But, at least with digital marketing, you can determine whether or not your efforts were effective. Moreover, with the right analytics tool, you can even see which tactics performed the best. Take a look at your competition’s websites (if you have any) and see which ones get the most visits.
Federal Trade Commission
I mentioned above that marketers should not only use LinkedIn to reach their target audience. They should also look to other social platforms (like Twitter) and blogs (like those by style icons) for content that is relevant to them. Do you see how relevant these platforms can be?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent US government agency that was formed after the Civil War to protect consumers from unfair business practices. One of the things the FTC does is investigate complaints and take action if they find wrongdoing.
One of the most recognized brands that the FTC has cracked down on is Exact Editions. Exact Editions was a company that mainly printed maps and travel guides. They were forced to stop selling their guides due to a class action lawsuit filed by the FTC in 2011. This is largely because people alleged that the small print on the maps and guides exposed users to high risk of misleading travel information and potentially dangerous travel routes. That’s why it’s essential to do your research before publishing any content on the web. Make sure that the source is reputable and that the information is accurate.
In case you’re wondering, here’s a short list of the top online platforms that the FTC investigates: