Businesses that work within a restricted industry face a bigger challenge than most others. With limitations placed on what they can do and say, marketing can be stifled and lack the creativity to cut through the market and drive engagement.
This is a challenge we faced when working with e-cigarette brand, blu.
As a new market that's closely connected with the tobacco industry, the e-cigarette sector is severely limited in the channels it can take advantage of. For example, no paid media is permitted, meaning PPC and social advertising are out of the question.
Messaging is restricted too. Amongst other things, e-cigarette brands are not allowed to make:
- Claims that e-cigarettes have any health benefits
- Claims that e-cigarettes have advantages over traditional cigarettes
- References of any other kind to traditional cigarettes
So what can businesses working in a restricted industry do to market themselves?
An Organic Approach
With paid avenues restricted, the best route forward is organic search.
Implementing on-site changes, understanding what your target audience is looking for online, and creating a comprehensive content strategy are some tactics that can help brands within restricted markets enhance their presence and reach organically.
And, for this, we suggest adhering to three golden rules...
Focus on education
As we've explored in the past, educational content is an excellent way to connect with your customers. It helps them understand your product and positions you as a useful business focused on providing genuine assistance.
There are also benefits for organic search. By writing educational content, businesses can work into their blog posts all kinds of relevant keywords that people will be searching for.
And because there's no editorialising with educational content, there are no problems with restrictions. As long as it’s flat fact, it’s legally permissible.
Perform meticulous keyword research
Your content isn't worth much if it isn't reaching the right people, so strong keyword research and optimisation is critical.
Using keyword research can help you understand the kind of subjects people are looking for and craft content around those subjects. It’s not just about optimisation - it’s about ideation and inspiration as well.
A tool like Answer the Public is particularly useful. Simply put in a topic and the tool will produce a list of questions users are searching for.
Develop a clear structure
Once you've won traffic, it's important to ensure users’ experience within the site is enjoyable and delivers what your customers want quickly and easily.
Exploring different types of content to address the needs of your customers, and identifying the best way to position it across your site is pivotal to this. Some types of content you can experiment with are:
- Blog and news: Content relating to trends arising in the industry as well as promotions and company news.
- Product related content: Designed to offer information for customers close to purchase or in the post-purchase stage.
- Non-branded, evergreen content: Focused on answering important search queries (e.g. “How Do I Inhale Vapour?”)
Remember, structure is vital. Ensuring that your content is easily found and accessible is key to enhancing your customer journey and getting ROI.
In a nutshell
Restricted industries are difficult to work within, but not impossible. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s the businesses that find creative and compelling ways to tap into organic search the ones that will succeed.