The definitive affiliate marketing verticals guide
If you’re an affiliate marketer or are doing your research with a view to joining an affiliate network, you need to understand affiliate marketing verticals.
This will help you to develop a better picture of your target demographics – the people or organizations who might be interested in buying what you offer – and vitally, give you valuable information that will help you to sell to those demographics in the most effective way.
So, what are verticals, and what is a vertical market? We’ll answer these questions and more within this article, to help you to understand the basics and give you a head start on identifying your target audience and developing advertising verticals to better serve their needs.
What is a vertical market?
The vertical market definition is “a market within which sellers provide products or services that serve the needs of a specific buyer demographic or niche, such as a certain type of person, interest, business, or profession.”
In the context of digital marketing verticals, this means a specific type of niche demographic that can be defined and identified online, by means of their internet usage patterns and the types of products, services, or interests that they explore digitally.
A vertical in marketing is intended to solve problems or provide something desirable to a clearly delineated target audience – a niche from within which all of the members have one or more specific things in common with each other.
Marketing vertical segments are well-defined rather than broad and general, which makes marketing and selling to them effectively easier than is the case when targeting a very wide range of different prospective buyers.
The alternative to vertical markets is horizontal markets – broader, more general audience demographics within which the participants have less in common.
For instance, if you are selling a generic spare part for a car, such as an interior light bulb that will fit most makes and models, this would be a horizontal market. However, if your interior light bulb is specific to one make and model of car only, your target audience consists of only people who own that type of car and not car owners in general, and that would be a vertical market.
What is vertical marketing, and how do you target a vertical market?
When you are targeting verticals and marketing to them specifically rather than to a broad demographic of the general public, this is known as vertical targeting marketing or simply vertical marketing.
Because you’re trying to reach and connect with a very well-defined niche of prospective buyers who have things in common – such as owning the same type of car – you can use your audience insights to build up a clear picture of your audience’s needs. This will allow you to establish their motivations, pain points, desires, and buying patterns – and help to provide the sort of information you need to decide upon the best approach to marketing your goods or services to appeal to them and boost sales.
Vertical marketing narrows down your pool of potential buyers so that you can target them specifically – which means that whilst the number of people who might buy from you will be smaller than if you were targeting a larger, more broadly defined group, you have a better chance of making sales to them.
It is also possible to target multiple verticals with the same product or service, designing the most appropriate approach for each of them individually and highlighting the specific USPs of your offerings that are most likely to resonate with each individual vertical.
What are verticals in affiliate marketing?
Verticals in affiliate marketing follow the same principles as those for any other type of business model, and you might want to work with a vertical marketing network to sell products or services that are bespoke-designed to appeal to a specific niche.
What is a vertical marketing network? Well, say you’re working with an affiliate scheme that sells subscriptions to adult dating services. If you’re just selling subscriptions to a general dating site that may appeal to a huge range of different people looking for dates, that’s a horizontal market.
However, if you sell subscriptions that appeal to a certain population niche only – for instance, BBW dating, or dating for people over 50 who reside in a certain geographic area, that’s a vertical market.
Setting up a vertical marketing strategy
When you’re planning your vertical marketing strategy, it is important to do plenty of research into your target nicheand their needs in order to sell to them effectively. The success of a vertical marketing campaign relies upon being able to make sales to a narrowly defined set of potential buyers. If your offerings don’t appeal to them, if you can’t convince them that they serve their needs, or if your competition is one step ahead of you, you won’t succeed.
The first step in selling to a specific vertical in marketing terms is learning as much as possible about your prospects, what drives them, and what they want. You can then tailor your approach and highlight the USPs of your product or service to them directly, showing them why they might want it, how it will serve them, and why it is better than a competing product or service.
Vertical markets are people that are looking for something specific – or people that may be receptive to hearing about something new or better than the alternatives and that you can effectively create demand for.
Competitor research is just as important as market research in this regard because you can see what alternatives are available to your buyer pool, and gain insights to enable you to highlight why your product or service is better.
Even if you are selling exactly the same product or service as a competitor, and to the same vertical niche, you can still gain your own market share – if you can offer something that gives you an advantage. This might be an incentive or special offer to make people want to buy from you specifically, a lower price point, or added value.
You also need to assess your marketing angle and approach on an ongoing basis in order to identify how well it is performing and serving your niche – and keep an eye out for new, up and coming competitors that might be poised to take some of your customers if you’re not prepared to adapt and improve.
It is also wise to examine how you can diversify your sales across multiple verticals, by taking a bespoke, individual approach to each of them, even when the product or service you offer to each vertical is the same.
Posted by Aleksandra