Today we get deep into the subtleties of board meetings, and offer a framework for how you should leverage them as a marketing leader, founder, or...
BSMS 34 - New verticals and your go-to-market
Today we’re addressing a question from a community member around the idea of expanding your beachhead, and what it means for your go-to-market. We discuss how and when you should introduce new verticals and industries you service into your website and other assets.
We discuss our philosophy, tracking technologies like Hotjar, Clarity, and Google Search Console, as well as the customer journey and how you should optimize your website with landing pages and overall structure.
How many verticals do I advertise on my website? How many should I say I service? What signals should I be looking at and how should I rationalize adding new audiences I service onto my website, and when?
Welcome to episode 34 of B2B SaaS Marketing Snacks. My name is Mike, I'm the product leader at Kalungi. And thank you for being patient and waiting for some of these new episodes to come out. We realize we haven't been super consistent in our early schedule, but for good reason. We've been working on some really cool things in the background that we'll be releasing in early 2022 that will be really helpful for this community, I think. And we're super excited about it, so more on that in a future episode. But for today, we are talking about a question that came from a community member, actually, around the idea of expanding their beachhead and trying to figure out when to introduce new verticals and industries into their go-to-market. So it's an interesting question that comes up when you're building your product and your customer base about how many verticals do I actually advertise on my website? How many different groups of people should I say that I actually service?
And if you listen to the podcast, you should be familiar with Stijn and I and how staunch we are advocates for picking a minimum viable market and going after just that group of people. And positioning yourself just for them. And that's really great to get your product off of the ground and to get your initial customer base, and build some momentum and some traction. But at a certain point you start to see the opportunities for expansion of that beachhead. And so this is what we're talking about today, which is what signals should you be looking at. And how should you rationalize adding new verticals or audiences that you service onto your website. And when should you start talking about those things? So anyways, that's what we talk about today. And yeah, let's get into it.
When we build a website, Mike, or we help a company with their online presence, building on other topics we've had in multiple podcasts on nailing a niche, it's always an interesting question that comes up: “How many verticals do I put on my website?” “How do I make sure I cater to everybody who will come to my website?” And there's a whole bunch of topics behind this.
One is, do you actually know who comes to the homepage of your website? If people land on the homepage of your website, they might have been typing in the URL, or clicked on a link in an email, or in an advertisement. And which begs two questions. One is if they clicked on a link somewhere, should they have been landing on your homepage? Or could you have made it much easier for the person clicking by leading them to a landing page that is related to what they just clicked on. So if they click on your link in an ad, in a website that refers to you, in an email, then of course if that's a large part of your traffic, make sure that they land on a page where you can just cater to what they were looking for when they clicked.
And the other thing, if people actually come to your website unaided, they type in the URL, are those going to be prospects? Those are definitely people who already know your company. They knew the URL so they might be employees, they might be stakeholders, they might be existing customers. So if you think that's the case, and it's not always that simple. But think about that.
And then catering your homepage to the right audience is a completely different question now. You should cater it to your existing customers, or your stakeholders, because prospects might never land there. Prospects might land on the blog articles that you write that rank in Google search engines. And that's where they land, they don't land on your homepage.
So let's talk about verticals and industries, et cetera, in a sec. But that's always my first thought, Mike, when someone asks me, "Hey, how many verticals do I put in my navigation structure on the homepage?"
Right. And at what point do you start to weave those things in there? Because I know in one of our previous podcasts we talked about just why it's super important to find your niche. And why it's super important to say, "We do X for Y. We provide a service for a specific group of people." And at what point do you start to break out of that beachhead and create the right materials for those other industries.
And I'm curious to see if you have any thoughts on that because it's not an easy question to answer. I think a lot of it comes with… just it's like a gut feel, almost, in some cases. And you start to see some things and patterns when it comes to maybe new customers that are starting to emerge in those industries. But I'm wondering if there's any indicators that you use specifically to kind of navigate that arena?
Yes, I do. Mike.
As always, yeah.
You guessed so, right? When you are sometimes fighting, but usually discussing, with your other leadership team peers. You're the CMO or you're the CEO and you want to keep this website simple. You want to keep the nav structure from not having 20 menu items. And make it super clean and easy for people to understand. When people make the case, they say, "Hey, we need to have this vertical in our menu structure," or, "We need to have this piece of content on the homepage because there's so many people who care about it." The first question that always comes to mind, "Okay, show me the content." If we are really strong in this vertical, do we have a couple of customer testimonials? Do we have great content that describes what we do in the voice of that vertical? Have we written up the value proposition in a way that's meaningful for that audience? Do we have actually the content to make it worth creating a special section in our website for that?
And the reality is that when you do, if you actually have that content, then publishing that, for example having a blog article that really goes deep on how your solution works for certain verticals. And what the pain points are in that vertical that we solve for. And have really valuable content for that. That's a far better first step than debating whether that should show up in the top level of your navigation structure on your website. Which then, at some point you can decide to do that. But that's got to be more driven by how do people navigate your website?
Yeah. You use tools that have click streams and show you how people navigate a site like Hotjar. You probably have a couple other examples, Mike. But, to find out are there really places where people get stuck? And do you need to put something in the navigation structure to make it easier for people to find things? But it starts with do you actually have the content to back up this claim that you have something to offer for a certain vertical industry, for example? Other tools like Hotjar are Crazy Egg, User Story. I think there are many other tools that-
Microsoft Clarity now-
... a free tool. You just pay for it with your data, as long as you're okay with that.
Yeah. I think if you just understand the data and how people behave on your website, that's a great start.
So when you look at the traffic that lands on your homepage, understanding what they're doing, where they're clicking first, might be a good start. And if you hopefully get a lot of your traffic not land on your homepage, because you have great landing pages and you make sure that you link to those people who land on a blog article, who land on a piece of product information. What are they looking for? And can you help them right there with one or two clicks? Or do they actually have to go navigate through your website first? I think that is really important to understand first.
And then if there is a reason to position yourself servicing multiple verticals, multiple parts of the market, with great content on your homepage, with a carousel, for example, that shows multiple types of clients. By all means do so. But I think it's really important first to ask yourself who is actually landing here and what are they trying to do?
One other note, this is very tactical. But something that I've used in the past is… first of all, I think one of the most valuable things that you can have set up for your website and connected is Google Search Console. It gives you all of the... like Semrush and Moz, and Ahrefs, they'll give estimates for how many people are clicking through your site based on certain keywords that you're ranking for. But they don't actually know because they don't have your domain data. So to actually get that data, if you set up Google Search Console it will tell you which keywords and queries your site is ranking for. And if you have HubSpot and you build on their CMS, you can integrate that. And it will actually show you on a specific page all of the keywords that your page ranks for.
And sometimes you'll notice...Stijn, you have an interesting story that I think we should talk about, which is how to do simple keyword research and not get bogged down in the SEO side of things when you're first getting started. But you can look at any particular page that's been up for a little bit and see if there are keywords that it's ranking for that you may not have predicted it would rank for, and then create a new page that optimizes for that keyword. And because you've already built domain authority for that specific search term, you're more likely to have your new page rank for that term because you're building domain authority. And you're creating a lot of equity in that space. And that's how a lot of small companies actually create an SEO strategy, is they build one small niche, a lot of content in it. And then they start to branch out.
So the way that this relates back to the industry topic is if you have pages that are ranking for, let's say, I'm going to use accounts payable automation. Accounts payable automation for healthcare. You can also start to create pages that have tertiary or ancillary relationships, so accounts payable, automation for biomedical. You can create a vertical page that's a little bit different. But because you already are ranking for something that's accounts payable for healthcare, Google is smart enough to recognize that biomedical is actually pretty similar in the same space. So that's just a note as well, and it's also a good indicator that if you look up accounts payable automation for biomedical, and there's actually search volume for it, then it's worth creating a page for.
So in a lot of niches where you're creating a market, there are not people searching for your specific solution because they're not even sure they have a problem, or they don't know that there is a solution that exists in that space.
But if there are people searching for it and you already have a little bit of domain authority, and all the other things that you were talking about, Stijn, which is testimonials, good customer quotes, examples, and case studies where you've actually serviced that audience well, then it can be a good cue to start expanding a little bit.