Expanding into new verticals is a major component of online lead generation. Creative marketers and online entrepreneurs alike are interested in growing and expanding their businesses, especially if there is a good fit with other activities in their portfolios. But the lead generation industry is also a very competitive industry where David and Goliath meet on a daily basis. Big, established companies and smaller businesses are both fighting over their pieces of pie. Many small companies are easily deterred from entering new verticals because they think they won't be able to compete with large companies, especially in automotive, insurance, education and payday. But these seven tips will make it easier for smaller companies to establish themselves in industries dominated by big businesses.
1. Unique Selling Proposition
The first consideration should of course be what you can bring to the table that sets you apart from the rest. Do you have unique marketing or branding strategies that will put you ahead the competition? Do you have advanced technology that puts you ahead of the game? Small online businesses should examine what they are particularly good at and whether those competitive advantages can help them establish themselves in a new industry.
It's also a huge advantage for smaller companies to enter a new vertical that is similar to industries they are already active in. This will make the entrance into the new market easier and allow for the process to run more smoothly.
2. Market Research
Know your Stuff! Research the size of the market, the key players and the lead buyers and how the industry "works." This is a lot of preparation, but knowing what you're getting into will prevent a lot of confusion, mistakes and potential losses.
Knowing the trends of the industry will not only help you devise successful marketing strategies, you'll also be able to understand the dynamics of the industry and anticipate where the market is going and how to respond to new developments. You will also be taken more seriously within a new industry if you know what's going on.
3. Acquire and Setup a Web Brand
A good way to start in a new industry is to acquire and develop a premium Web brand if your budget allows for it—it'll pay off, I guarantee it. A good brand will ease your entrance into the market, get you in business with lead buyers and, above all, it will give you a competitive advantage as good brands increase consumer trust and overall lead conversions.
4. Research Technical Requirements
Every vertical has different requirements and "rules," especially in insurance lead gen. It's important to be well-informed when it comes to vertical-specific specs for connecting buyers and making lead gen forms, and the technical challenges that come with it.
That's why it's important to examine what kind of technology you need to keep lead gen running smoothly and to invest in technological optimizations. Meeting technical requirements and updating technical processes regularly will allow you to crank up your volume in no time.
5. Come Up With Innovative Campaigns
A good way to set yourself apart from the competition is to create innovative campaigns that generate maximum user interest. It is also important to examine the types of traffic sources that are most suitable for your new vertical. Two traffic sources that many larger companies have overlooked so far are social media and mobile.
Social media allows you to directly connect to your target audience and nurture their interest. Mobile marketing is becoming more and more important considering the ever-increasing number of smartphones and tablets. That's why it is essential to enable all campaigns to function on mobile devicess and to devise strategies to best reach the mobile audience.
6. Good Partnerships With Buyers
Like in any industry, it's important to remember that your client is king. Once you have established contact and partnerships with buyers, drawn up contracts and done technical integrations, it's very important to manage expectations in terms of volume, especially when you are just starting out.
Don't promise too much and deliver too little. That's why it is also important to diversify traffic sources as much as possible so you can reach a point where lead generation becomes sustainable and is not fluctuating too much.
7. Watch the Trends
Bigger companies are often less flexible or are slower to respond to new developments in the market. As mentioned above, two big trends that some large companies have not been keeping up with are social media and mobile marketing. These traffic sources offer huge potential and are often less competitive than traditional display, SEM and marketing.
8. Get Help From Someone Who Knows
Of course the most effective thing to do is to hire someone who knows the specific vertical, someone who's been working in the industry and knows the partners, systems, dynamics and the "nitty gritty." This will save you a lot of time and prevent you from making time-consuming and costly mistakes.
Entering a new vertical that may be dominated by large companies or by strong players can be intimidating, but with dedication and a "think big, act small" attitude, it can be done. Focus on your strengths and remember that existing companies often struggle with the disadvantage of being "a front-runner." Good luck!
Frans van Hulle co-founded PX, the world’s first transparent customer acquisition platform that provides a single marketplace for companies to acquire customers from hundreds of vetted and sought-after sources. The company provides a mar tech solution for marketers to grow and efficiently scale their customer base, and is active in the Home Services, Financial Services, and Insurance industries.