When I quit my job at a B2B startup to focus on music (and music marketing), I thought I knew everything there is to know about content marketing.
After all, I had built inbound operations at the startup from scratch. How difficult could the music industry be?
I couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Marketing in niches with low-commercial intent is markedly different – and tougher – than marketing in established B2B industries.
Your sales process might be shorter, but your customer journey is way more difficult to map. There is seldom enough SEO data available for an inbound campaign. And even if you do manage to capture leads, you’ll find that customers are wary of spending money (or worse, don’t have any money to spend).
So how exactly do you deal with these challenges? I’ll share five hard-learned lessons below.
1. Use Content to Build Your Reputation
Coming from a B2B background, I’d always assumed that content was just a gateway to a lead magnet. I didn’t plan any content unless I could slap an offer on it and capture leads.
B2C niches – such as music marketing – don’t work that way. You can try adding a lead magnet, but your data will be too muddled with fake emails and low-budget buyers. Not to mention that the lifetime value (LTV) in such niches is often too low to invest heavily in lead nurturing.
In such a situation, it’s far better to use your content as a reputation enabler. Don’t see content as a gateway to leads. Rather, use it to establish yourself as a provider of quality, informative advice. Any leads you do capture should be seen as a bonus.
In practical terms, this means creating more top of the funnel content, such as this list of blogs to submit music I created.
Focus on being useful and building your reputation; the rest will follow automatically.
2. Address Issues, Not Keywords
In major B2B industries, there is usually enough keyword data to map out the entire customer’s journey easily. Once you’ve categorized keywords, it’s just a matter of creating content and getting backlinks to build a lead generation system.
The story is often very different in B2C niches such as music marketing. Your keyword data is often scattered all over the place. It isn’t always easy to tell whether a keyword is top, middle, or bottom of the funnel.
For example, people in my niche need help with “music marketing”. But they’re often not searching for these specific keywords. Rather, they’re looking for tangential keywords and topics – “getting Instagram followers”, “increasing YouTube views”, etc.
If you focus too heavily on the keywords, you’ll find that:
- You don’t get enough traffic (because not enough people are searching for the keyword), or
- Your traffic is untargeted (because people from other industries – such as social media – are also searching for the same keywords).
The remedy to this problem is to focus on solving actual problems, not creating keyword-focused content.
Thus, instead of focusing on “music marketing” or “increasing Instagram followers”, I might simply focus on helping musicians “get more fans”. This isn’t keyword focused, but it solves the core problem my target audience faces.
3. Focus on the Post-Lead Acquisition Phase
In the B2B niche, I had come to assume that we could do about 60% of the selling on our site itself. We could attract customers with Awareness-stage content, answer their queries through Consideration-stage, and prime them for the sales team with Decision-stage content.
This doesn’t work in B2C niches like music marketing. Given the low commercial intent of the target audience in such niches, you can’t expect to sell much on your site itself.
Rather, you need to move the sales process away from the site and over to the inbox.
In other words, focus on the post-lead acquisition phase. Instead of selling on the blog itself, capture leads, then send highly targeted emails educating them about your offer.
You’ll often find that customers aren’t even aware that there is a relevant service available until you tell them about it.
Content marketing has a proven template for success in B2B industries and can help stimulate the sales process forward. But in B2C niches with low-commercial intent, the marketing path isn’t always clear. Use the tips I shared above to navigate your way to marketing success.
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