How to successfully engage a niche audience.
Johnson Financial Group (JFG) is a full-service financial company — which has a former United Airlines pilot on staff. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, United began offering early retirement in lieu of mass layoffs in September 2020. JFG recognized an opportunity to offer these pilots the resources they needed to make informed decisions.
Bader Rutter developed a campaign specifically targeting these pilots. Once other airlines followed suit and began offering early retirement too, we broadened our campaign to include other potentially eligible pilots across the country. Anticipating that most impressions and engagements would happen around major airport hubs, we targeted them more exclusively. And when we updated the geotargeting from all of the United States to just the 17 United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines hubs, our performance leapt. In paid media alone, our click-through rate more than doubled from this optimization — 0.12% to 0.27% — in one month.
Our efforts crossed social media, paid search and paid media, with all channels pushing to a curated landing page with information and resources tailored to each airline, knowing pilot needs varied depending on their employer.
To understand our audiences’ preferences on social, we also conducted an A/B creative test. We had one ad with text overlay on an image and one without. The one with the text received 85% more website visits, further informing our targeting strategy going forward.
Connecting on a deeper, more direct level.
We conducted the brand’s first LinkedIn Live broadcast to introduce the audience to JFG and highlight their offerings and their expertise – and grow their following. Our LinkedIn Live tactics and targeting optimizations generated 52% more impressions and 47% more clicks month over month on social.
This was the first niche campaign for JFG, and the results were promising: After the LinkedIn Live broadcast, an attendee reached out to an advisor and ultimately selected JFG as their retirement plan provider. Running for four months, this campaign illustrated that you don’t need lengthy timelines and big budgets to test, optimize and learn.
“We are very excited about the results we’ve seen for the pilot campaign, given it’s our first targeted digital effort,” said Kate Gruettner, VP, wealth marketing manager, Johnson Financial Group. “We’ve been able to move the needle in creating awareness for this unique specialization and have linked business wins to this. Our Pilot team is thrilled, and we look forward to continuing to learn and optimize this campaign and others in 2021!”
Have a niche audience you’re looking to target? Here are three things to consider before launching a campaign:
1. Audience + targeting: Using first- or third-party data to target audiences can be daunting, so understanding where your audience is most likely to engage with your ads is vital. In this case, we started with a hunch that pilots are consumers trying to find everyday solutions in between their flights, and they found these solutions in and around the major airport hubs.
2. Identifying success: When working with such small audiences, it can be easy to apply goals that are simply unattainable. Quality over quantity will win the day. Make sure you’re setting channel goals that demonstrate success no matter how small those successes are. After all, scaling is much easier after you’ve found the recipe for success.
3. Ease of content: Not everyone is ready to pick up the phone and call someone, especially a financial institution. You must provide easily digestible content in a variety of ways that allows your audience to get to know who you are. Content also is a great way to keep an audience engaged or warm.
About the Author
Allison Madell’s career has specialized in food communications, with a focus on food commodities and producer marketing programs. She has created strategic integrated marketing campaigns for high-profile commodity accounts, including The Incredible, Edible Egg; the National Pork Board; The Mushroom Council; and Got Milk?
At Bader Rutter, Allison led the teams that developed breakthrough content for Corteva Corporate Communications, including the “millennial moms” blog, Plate-wise and the popular podcast: The Growing Debate. Bringing narratives to life through dimensionalized and differentiated content is what makes her happiest.
After work, you’ll most likely find her on her spin bike or cooking for friends and family.