Marketing a Niche B2B Brand? Grow Revenue with the 5S Content Framework
By Rebekah Mays
Often, marketing managers of super niche B2B sites wonder how to use SEO to grow traffic and revenue.
Their logic is that:
- Volume for relevant keywords seems very low
- Their competitors have such strong websites that it’s hard to compete
So it begs the question – if you’re a marketing manager, should you be relying on SEO to grow traffic and revenue?
And if so, how does SEO fit into your overall content strategy?
SEO for niche B2B sites
First, let’s address a myth: SEO doesn’t work for niche sites.
You actually have an advantage as a more niche B2B site — especially in 2023.
It’s true that you probably won’t be able to compete on the higher volume keywords. But over time, it will be easier for you to dominate your smaller market if you take content creation and SEO seriously.
Think about a term like “best CRM” — you’re competing with who knows how many strong brands for that term, including review sites like G2.
If you address a more niche market, like “sustainability accounting for the construction industry,” it will be much more manageable for you to dominate the search terms in that market.
Another advantage is that the Google algorithm favors sites and content that demonstrate EEAT — experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
If your business can demonstrate EEAT in your content, and your industry comes to see you as the go-to expert on a topic, you can outrank your more generic competitors.
SEO isn’t a silver bullet for a niche B2B site. For success, you’ll need to integrate it with other channels. But if you’re already creating organic content for your website, you might as well incorporate SEO as part of the strategy.
So what other organic channels and tactics should you be considering? That’s where the 5S content framework comes in.
The 5S content framework
The 5S framework helps us prioritize which organic content channels you should be using.
The 5S’s are:
1. Smart partnerships, such as guest posting, webinars with partners, and talks at partner events
2. Social, mainly on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter
3. SEO, to bring in traffic from organic web searches
4. Strategic email, to nurture your existing email contacts
5. Sales enablement, such as case studies, demo videos, and high-value blog content.
(I know, I know — I’m cheating a little bit on those S’s!)
But the most important thing is that they work. Let’s dive into each of these areas more and explore how they all work together.
1. Smart partnerships
One of the best strategies for niche B2B sites that don’t yet have a large audience is creating smart partnership content.
This means finding other businesses and organizations that already have the audience you want to reach and creating content for them.
Partnership content might include:
- Speaking at events your customers attend
- Writing content for publications your customers consume online
- Hosting or appearing on webinars with partners
- Posting helpful content in your business network forums
Successful partnership content will grow brand awareness and bring traffic to your website.
Take a look at this example of a guest post on the Sustainable Brands website by Kirsty Godfrey-Billy, XERO’s CFO, about the role of the CFO in sustainability reporting.
The content addresses a specific topic XERO’s ideal clients are thinking about and offers expert advice on that topic.
It turns out this kind of content also can be a huge boost to your website’s SEO. If you publish with more reputable publications in your niche, these links back to your site will benefit your own domain authority.
Social is of course another method your more niched B2B site needs to be using.
For B2B, the main social channels to consider are LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. We’ll also include podcasts in this category, although they tend to be better at nurturing leads than generating brand awareness.
When publishing on social, stay strategic and focused by:
- Pursuing the channels where your audience are hanging out. Don’t use a platform if your audience isn’t there.
- Focusing on one channel at a time. As Amanda Natividad recently wrote on LinkedIn, it’s better to start with one social platform, publish consistently, and get traction there before adding another platform to your plate.
Ecologi is a great example of a company that’s grown brand awareness through social. They post compelling content on their LinkedIn company page:
Just as with any other content, find your unique point of view and topic of expertise as a brand. Become known as the go-to company or person talking about a specific topic.
Coupled with strong copywriting and/or multimedia, this approach is powerful for niche B2B sites.
Just keep in mind that as with SEO, social also takes time — sometimes a year or two of consistent publishing before you’ll see a significant impact.
Tip: For more success on social, focus on one key platform where your customers are hanging out. Publish consistently and gain some traction before you add more to your plate.
We’ve already touched on SEO, but let’s dig in a little more.
SEO works best when your company has some existing traffic or brand awareness already, and/or you’re willing to use SEO as a long-term strategy to build traffic over time.
In the short term, you can also use SEO for other purposes such as sales enablement, which we’ll talk about in a minute.
It also doesn’t hurt to use SEO principles and keyword research to improve your content, organize your site, and find topics your audience might be interested in. By doing so, you’ll increase the chances your audience will find your content online through organic search.
As an example of niche content that’s well optimized for SEO, check out this blog from Brightly on “what is energy management software?”
Tip: Don’t worry if keyword volume is quite small. If it’s a highly relevant keyword with buyer intent your audience would be interested in, you definitely want to create content for the term.
4. Strategic emails
Email is one of those channels that just won’t die.
Email still generates an impressive ROI, and if you don’t currently have much of a newsletter or email list, you want to start building it now.
In the context of the 5S framework, your email list as one of the key places where you’re nurturing leads and retaining customers.
For best success, make sure your emails are:
- providing value to your reader
- feel like a personal note to the recipient
- engaging (ideally entertaining) to read.
Here’s an example of an email that SparkToro sends that I actually open and read:
If we’re honest, most B2B brands send incredibly bland and boring emails.
Don’t be one of them. Write interesting emails, and you might actually stand out and get some business!
Tip: Write your emails as if writing a personal note to one of your customers or prospects.
5. Sales enablement
Finally, we get to sales enablement — in other words, building marketing assets that enable your sales team to close more deals.
Even if you don’t have a full sales team, it’s worth making sure your content answers questions that come up in sales conversations.
Types of sales enablement content include:
- High-value blogs that answer your audience’s question about working with you
- Case studies
- Video walk-throughs of your product or service
- And much more!
As an example, look at this product-focused blog from B Corp Culture Amp:
The blog serves several purposes, but one is that a sales person could easily send the blog to a lead to start a conversation.
While the main goal of sales enablement is to drive more closes, sales enablement content can also be very powerful for lead generation, too, if you use it alongside the other 4 S’s in the content framework.
Tip: Often, your sales team will want content in PDFs or slide decks with client logos on them. This is fine for proposals, but in general, make your sales enablement content is publicly accessible so more of your audience can benefit.
Get started on your content strategy
There you have it — the 5S Content Framework!
For best success, consider all five of these areas in your organic content strategy. But you don’t need to tackle them all at once.
Prioritize one or two of these areas until you see some traction and ROI, and then add another.
For instance, if you mainly need brand awareness, then strategic partnerships, social, and SEO will be the best fit. If instead you need to nurture leads and close more sales, focus more on email and sales enablement.
Need help with your content strategy?
For the past six years, I’ve been helping businesses build content strategies — and I currently focus specifically on SEO and content for purpose-driven B2B brands.
If you have questions, or would just like to chat in a low-key setting about working together, set up a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss your needs and see how I can help.
About the author
Rebekah Mays is the founder and owner of One Generation, a digital marketing agency offering SEO and content “sprints” to grow traffic and leads for purpose-driven B2B brands. Ready for more traffic so you can make a bigger impact? Get in touch.