As a custom cable manufacturer, iCONN has utilized the inbound marketing playbook of content creation and online conversion funnels for years. While these methods were successful, iCONN was looking for a way to increase brand awareness and ignite engagement with their content.
Partnering with Kuno Creative helped the manufacturer develop various resources for customers, including a blog that is regularly updated with current information on the connector industry. The consistent creation of content has helped iCONN to attract, convert and nurture leads, but the Kuno team felt there were other ways to get iCONN's content in front of new potential customers. Trying a method known as native advertising proved successful in reaching new audiences in a niche market.
iCONN’s blog has been publishing posts regularly since 2012. Kuno was asked to start helping with blog content in Q2 of 2016. Since then, blog views and subscribers have continued to outpace historical growth QoQ.
To help ignite the growth of blog traffic and subscribers even more, Kuno proposed using a native advertising platform to reach new audiences who could benefit from the information on the iCONN blog. Native advertising is paid content for advertising purposes that looks like the publication’s content.
Kuno works with inbound marketing clients like iCONN to identify buyer personas through an extensive interview process, then build an editorial calendar to cover each persona’s pain points at each level of the sales funnel—awareness, consideration, decision, delight.
Each blog post is created after conducting thorough keyword and topic research. Kuno uses sophisticated tools to optimize a post’s success and collaborate with our client to learn what is most relevant within their industry.
However, in the past, Kuno’s challenge was finding the best way to get iCONN’s content in front of the right audience (primarily engineers). Through native advertising, our team found a way to give niche content a great reach.
For our first campaign, we selected two recent, well-performing posts for our native advertising efforts.
By using the segmenting capabilities within native advertising, our team was able to not only get relevant content in front of the right audience, we were able to reach an extremely specific audience.
With research finding iCONN’s primary audience is engineers, the native ads were segmented by profession based on the types of content they consume. Segmentation was also broken down by those who are connected to manufacturing or engineering companies. Third-party audience segmentation was also used to target audiences in the United States in relevant industries and areas of responsibility. This collaboration within the Kuno team was a process of researching the client’s buyers and applying this within our knowledge of native advertising.
With this being our first attempt at native advertising for this client, we didn’t have an established benchmark for success; however, the results over four months were astounding.
After utilizing native advertising for a little over three months to promote blog posts, iCONN saw a series of positive improvements. The two promoted posts received more than 4,000 and 2,000 views, respectively, while all other iCONN blog posts have historically only garnered views in the hundreds (even posts dating as far back as 2012). These are currently the top two blog posts in terms of views, with the third-highest viewed post garnering just shy of 500 views during that time frame. Other results from these efforts include:
“Because iCONN is a small company, in a niche industry, going up against some very large competitors—awareness is our biggest marketing challenge. Excellent content coupled with native advertising is a great way to help get iCONN in front of new prospects and position them as thought leaders in their industry”
As a content marketer, you’re most likely blogging and creating other forms of content for your audiences. Utilizing tools like native advertising can help you increase the visibility of your content, expand your audiences to reach new viewers and increase your overall website traffic.
iCONN will continue using native advertising to promote posts featured on the iCONN blog, rotating posts every two months to drive brand awareness and traffic.
If you’re starting to see your content marketing efforts are reaching a plateau, talk to Kuno about putting together a native advertising strategy.