Whether they’re just starting out with HubSpot tools or dipping their toes in B2B content marketing strategy, many folks use the HubSpot Community forum for advice.
As a Recognized Expert on the forum, I see a recurring theme in many visitors’ questions: “How can we set ourselves apart as a B2B/niche/boring/small company?”
In that spirit, I curated a list of the most important online/digital marketing FAQs from the 100s I’ve helped solve on the forums. These “Q”s and “A”s are a great start for those feeling queasy about trying a new niche B2B marketing strategy:
Top 7 Digital Marketing FAQs From the HubSpot Community
Looking for common inbound marketing FAQs? Click on a question to skip ahead to it:
- How do I prove the value of niche content marketing?
- What content strategies work for a company with a small budget?
- How do I engage a buyer persona in our niche/saturated/boring industry?
- When marketing to a small audience, what quick wins can keep stakeholders happy?
- I have a new business blog. How do I attract leads to it & my website?
- What primary ways should a B2B use HubSpot to grow revenue?
- What’s the biggest change in content marketing to come from COVID? How do we adapt?
(Questions are edited for context and clarity.)
Q1: How do I help decision makers understand the value of niche content marketing?
A: I feel your pain on the challenges of changing "old school" marketing and sales mindsets. (Most of our work is in the manufacturing space 😀)
- If you can't support it with your own data, try and find more general data to show B2B digital marketing’s ROI. That will speak volumes to old-school ears.
- Along with data, show real-life niche content strategy examples. If they can see how a similar business is using content, it's much easier for them to understand. If it's a competitor, even better!
- Try to extract examples in which the decision maker has probably used digital content in their own life to inform decisions.
- If you still need to convince someone, start with a proof of concept, but set appropriate expectations. B2B content marketing best practices require patience (it’s not an overnight success), but even small wins can increase excitement.
(Related Resource: Example Inbound Marketing Case Studies)
Q2: What’s your strategy when starting content marketing for small businesses/budgets?
A: It can be hard to understand how to do content marketing on a budget successfully – especially if you have limited time too. But it’s absolutely possible!
Here are a couple of thoughts:
- Brainstorm several content topics that would be engaging for your audience, then pare them to a volume you can handle. From there, plan in advance when you'll write about that topic. Having a content calendar makes it much easier to plan and follow through.
- Try using video first. Using something like Vidyard or Soapbox will allow you to get video marketing out easily, quickly, and without much expense. You can then repurpose that content into text in the future.
- Use thrifty promotional tactics. Depending on your audience, Facebook can be very cost-effective for paid ads. And it doesn’t cost a thing to get on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and share the articles you’ve written. Don’t discount email – did you know it has a marketing ROI of $36 for every $1 spent?
- Set goals and stick to them. You and your team members must hold each other accountable. Without the accountability, it's easy to push content creation to the side and forget about your long-term plans.
Q3: How do I engage a buyer persona in our niche/saturated/boring industry?
A: While your product, service, or industry may be boring to most, there’s still a small set of people that find it interesting (or at least need information about it).
When planning your niche marketing strategy, think about all the questions your users may be asking as it relates to your services. Your sales team knows these FAQs firsthand. Start by answering those questions.
Highlight your customers using anecdotes or videos. Make them the hero of their own story. Highlight the passion that goes into problem solving, or exciting end-use applications of your product, to work around its “boring” nature.
When creating a B2B customer persona, uncover what really matters for those buyers. If you’re selling a premium product … what is it that makes it premium? In your persona-building process, uncover whether or not what you think makes it premium actually matters to the buyers.
Think about marketing a Rolex vs. marketing a Casio watch. Both watches tell time. The Casio probably needs less maintenance and care … and it certainly costs less. Yet, there are still people that buy the Rolex, and they have their reasons. Your goal is to understand those reasons inside and out!
If your industry topics are already saturated, think about the related topics/questions your ideal buyer might be looking for, even if not directly related to your solution. It shouldn't be too far off-topic, but if you can provide valuable information just outside of the box, try that.
More tips for marketing to a saturated market:
- Find the gaps. Where is the space missing content?
- Do it better. If your competitors are writing bad or just-OK content, write great content.
- Do it differently. For example, if your competitors are writing text blogs, make videos (or vice versa). If you’re writing about the same topics, put a unique spin on yours that your target buyer would appreciate.
(Related Resource [Blog]: 4 Strategies in Content Marketing for Boring Industries)
Q4: When marketing to a small audience, what quick wins can keep stakeholders happy?
A: We all feel pressure to show inbound marketing ROI early in a campaign – even though content creation is a marathon, not a sprint.
Yes, it can take some time for content to gain traction organically (without paid ads) in search engines. Pay-per-click advertising’s usefulness can be limited in niche industries, and sometimes paid placement is quickly ignored by buyers.
Here are options you can look at for quick wins:
- Email. Is there already an existing database that would find value from the new content? If so, how can we distribute accordingly?
- Social. Is there a social audience that will find value from the content? Again, how can we successfully distribute to keep it relevant and hopefully spark some discussion?
- Social groups. Are there active groups that are already talking about your content topics? If so, how can we participate naturally and bring up our content without coming across as spammy?
- 3P publishers. Niche industries often include similarly niche content platforms that are always eager to publish new content. Try submitting your work to these third-party publishers. Don't necessarily have them post the exact-same content, rather something specific to them that relates to the topic at hand. In some cases, they’ll simply post a brief description of the content and direct their readers back to your site.
- Paid search. While limited, there are PPC options that can help you quickly improve traffic. We're big advocates of building organic traffic, so we don't like to put too much stock in paid ads. But if there’s an audience and a potential opportunity, incorporate it as an option.
Yes, it's important to find quick wins for your stakeholders. But we also advocate that – say it with us – inbound should be a marathon, not a sprint.
Q5: I have a new business blog. How do I attract leads to it & my website?
A: This is a tough question, as there are so many variables. My business blogging advice would be different depending on:
- Your big-picture business goals
- How quickly you need to get there
- Your budget
- Your ideal customer
That said, there are certain B2B blogging best practices I recommend for nearly every strategy:
- SEO. Everyone should be focusing on SEO (search engine optimization) as much as possible. This is step one in getting more leads from your website.
- Make blogging/content a priority. There are very few occasions when I would not recommend a focus on blogging. The key will be to invest in high-quality, customer-centered content.
- Conversion optimization. If you’re going to put effort into getting traffic to your site, be sure that you’re also optimizing for leads/conversions. This itself is a big topic, but understanding how to capture leads from your website is huge.
Sorry for the somewhat vague response. There are many actions you can take, but it's best to first understand the full scenario based on the four variables listed above. I also recommend consuming the HubSpot Academy content about these strategies. It should help you hone in on a more specific path.
(Related Resource [Blog]: What’s My Website Conversion Rate?)
Q6: What are the most important ways a B2B should use HubSpot to grow revenue?
A: Again, this has many variables! In my experience with HubSpot for B2B and SaaS, my top three are:
- Customize the system so it works really well for your business. At the same time, don't over-customize it to where it just becomes cumbersome. Make sure you can gather the right properties across objects, set up products to be used as line items in quotes, track deal details accordingly, and so on.
- Use the Service Hub to support your customer service team. Track touchpoints and software usage, set up reminders for check-ins and renewals, populate the knowledge base for easy answers, etc.
- Set up lead nurturing & automation. Even after a demo, a buying decision can take months or years. We’re talking about HubSpot B2B lead generation here, not selling a $.99 candy bar. Use the software to help support a healthy touchpoint cadence throughout that time. Add whatever value you can at each touchpoint … it's not meant to just be noise.
Q7: What’s the biggest change in content marketing to come from COVID? How do we adapt?
A: This question has continued – and will continue – to be relevant. Many of the selling and marketing strategic changes that COVID caused are here to stay for good.
One of the challenges we've seen is the amount of noise that's being created online. Once their other lead sources became unavailable or limited, many businesses realized they were seriously behind in the world of online marketing. This created a shift in marketing and sales focus, causing many more brands to focus on digital efforts – specifically content.
Some of the content has been great, while other content hasn’t fared so well. The additional noise has forced everyone to step it up a notch to stand out.
Let's all hope we never again have to develop an impromptu marketing strategy in a pandemic 🙂
Got More Digital Marketing FAQs Unique to Your Niche?
Inbound marketing works for small businesses, B2Bs, niche industries, boring products – you name it. But we all need a little advice sometimes.
Got more content marketing FAQs? Facing business challenges unique to your company? Try this 101-level resource on using inbound marketing to grow your niche business: