How To Saturate Your Brand and Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert
Sometimes the best way to stand out is to “fit in.” Ingraining yourself and your company into a target vertical (such as Energy, Healthcare, Legal, or Non-Profit) and becoming part of the local fabric of that industry is no doubt one of the best ways to accomplish growth for MSPs. However, herein lies a common problem. To do this effectively you must be able to build trust and this generally requires a lengthy amount of time.
From my point of view, one of the best ways to accelerate this process is by increasing your brand’s saturation. Being “everywhere” and generating a constant stream of brand impressions can help to build authority quickly when you do not have time to waste. It can also show that you are serious about your commitment to a specific vertical and that this isn’t just something you slapped your website for the sake of SEO.
We have compiled some of the best ways to generate these brand impressions to increase your saturation and earn trust in your target vertical. Each will also include specific examples of execution, using “Healthcare” as a point of reference.
1. Speak/exhibit at industry conferences and expos.
Most industry events and expos take applications for their speaking stages roughly 6 months in advance. Find out from your existing customers in the vertical which events they would be most likely to attend and track those events throughout the year. If the larger events don’t accept your application, try to get accepted to smaller events and use the experience to work your way up. If you don’t get accepted to any, consider exhibiting or simply attending these events to network on your own.
Example: Speak at a “Family Medicine Expo” to talk to Doctors about the most common technology issues affecting small practices.
2. Host an industry-focused webinar.
A webinar can be a useful branding tool because it has the ability to build your reputation as well as earning new opt-ins that move your audience further through your funnel. Hosting a 20-30 minute webinar full of informational content, highlighting a hot industry topic will be simple to produce and can earn you significant value for the resources you put in. By keeping it focused to one vertical, your audience will find it to be more relevant to them than a generic “IT” presentation.
Example: Host a webinar titled “Causes of Hospital Security Breaches and How to Prevent Them” and invite Hospital Employees and Executives.
3. Host an industry-focused, in-person training or Q&A.
Some brand impressions are more impactful than others. Face-to-face impressions are considered the most powerful impressions that you can earn because “meeting” someone often instills a sense of comfort. This is why hosting in-person events, such as live-trainings or Q&A sessions, will earn you significantly more trust than digital meetings of the same topic. Much like webinars, focusing these meetings to one vertical will allow your audience to relate more to the content and increase the value that they receive from it.
Example: Host an event titled “HIPAA Technology Standards for Front Office Employees” and invite staff members of local healthcare practices.
4. Be a guest or start your own industry podcast.
While it seems like everyone has a podcast now, there is still opportunity in this to establish authority within an industry. Keeping the context of your discussion narrow will allow you to attract more repeat listeners than if you were to create a podcast about broader IT topics. It will help to invite guests that are potential or existing customers of your service and allow them to tell their stories. Your audience will relate to these stories and they may be interested in becoming a guest themselves. If you do not have the resources to produce such content, simply seek out an existing one and ask to be a featured guest.
Example: Create a “Health IT” podcast and feature a different Doctor each episode as they talk about their technology successes and failures.
5. Create an industry-related video series on Youtube.
Whether you post your podcast episodes or other educational video content, YouTube is highly searched and can generate a significant amount of impressions for your brand. Many of these impressions come from the platform itself recommending your content to viewers who they think may be interested. If your content is specific to one vertical, you have a very good chance of becoming a beneficiary of these contextual recommendations and building a strong organic following on YouTube.
Example: Produce a video series detailing and explaining the various cutting edge technologies being introduced into the healthcare industry.
6. Blog about common industry problems and solutions.
Even with the popularity of video, written articles can still carry weight as it relates to your brand (after all, you are reading one right now). As someone that has produced a lot of written content, I can say with confidence that focusing on a common problem and offering your take regarding the solution is a fail-proof formula to drive engagement. This type of content is very searchable, and can help to drive organic traffic for months or years after it is published. LinkedIn is also a very accepting audience to this type of content and the use of industry hashtags can help the right readers discover it.
Example: Write an article titled “5 ways medical offices lose productivity and how to fix it”, then post to LinkedIn using the hashtags: #healthcare, #medical, #medicine, #doctors, etc.
7. Write guest posts on popular industry blogs.
Similar to your own blog, posting on other popular blogs within the industry can generate impressions for your business from an entirely new audience. Most blogs owned by publishing companies will accept guest content if it falls within their guidelines. If the blog is owned by a vendor, there is a chance that they will not run your content but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If there is not a link in the footer or secondary menu for guest post submissions, look for a generic contact form or email address. Look at the type of content that they post before pitching your own. This will ensure that their audience will be accepting of it.
Example: Write an article titled “Newest security threats affecting Physicians and their Businesses” and submit it to a blog commonly read by Physicians.
8. Run industry-targeted ads on Facebook/LinkedIn.
Facebook and LinkedIn both offer the ability to show targeted ads to audiences based on their professional industry and title. This granular level of targeting can get your brand in front of the exact audience you want without having to overpay for widely shown ads. Since you know the professional background of everyone who views them, you can create ads that are hyper-relevant and prompt the audience to click-thru at a high rate. In some cases this may allow you to save money when bidding on impressions rather than clicks.
Example: Create a LinkedIn ad featuring your blog post “5 ways medical offices lose productivity and how to fix it” and show this to Office Managers and Physicians in the Healthcare industry within your service area.
9. Run pre-roll ads on industry related Youtube channels.
A “pre-roll” is a video ad that plays before the content that the viewer selected to play. These can be targeted in various ways, but one of the best ways for this purpose is by hand-selecting the channels and videos that you would like your ad played on. Not every channel will allow for ads of this type, but it should not be difficult to find major publishers covering the vertical of your choice that allow advertising on their content. Remember that you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention, so make sure that your brand is well represented before the viewer has the opportunity to “skip.”
Example: Produce a 30 second video interviewing the decision makers of your existing healthcare clients and have them describe the impact your services have had on their practice. Then run the video as a pre-roll ad on Medical industry related YouTube content.