Products defines the market? Wrong!
Golden rule for the marketing is that you must promote to where your prospects are. I may not have to remind you but it is worth of looking the fact. The statistics surrounding internet marketing right now can tell us a great deal about what’s working and what isn’t and about how best to approach your online marketing.
Here are some statistics for 2016:
- 91% of internet users own a PC or laptop
- 80% of internet users own a smartphone
- 47% own a tablet
- 37% use a games console
- That said – more traffic now comes from mobile than any other platform
- Facebook now has more active users than the population of China
- YouTube is the second largest ‘search engine’
- But in terms of traditional search engines, Bing is right behind Google with 21% of the market share
- That goes up to around 30% if you include Yahoo! (which is powered by Bing)
- Instagram is the second largest social media platform behind Facebook
- Email marketing is the form of marketing with the highest ROI
- 84% of American adults use the internetThis gives us a little bit of a ‘snapshot’ of the way the web is being used today and in turn will help us when we learn more about online promotion at how we’re going to find, reach and be heard by our particular segment of that audience.
Your first step is to ‘be where our audience is’. But on top of this, we’re also going to have to first identify and possibly even choose our audience. I call it warm leads, or warm prospects.
If you already have a business or a website and things are going well, then your audience will already be selected. You’ve likely already put a lot of work into your online presence and you probably won’t want to start again from scratch. That means you already have your audience and you just need to find where they are and how to pitch.
But if you don’t already have your business model, then that means that you can take a step back at this point and choose what audience you’re going to target. Because as we’ll learn, some audiences are certainly easier to find that others.
On top of that, those business who struggle to make consistent sales tend to look at wrong market. Wrong market tends to lead wrong audience. So it is important you choose right market first to find right audience.
Your audience you see, is going to be entirely dependent on the topic of your website or blog; or the nature of your product or service. And here is the pitfall most business gets trapped. Even most consultant fall into this trap too.
For example, If you’re selling surf boards, then you might think your audience is likely to be young people in their teens and 20s, who probably live near a beach somewhere. Anything wrong? Let me carry on a little bit more. If you’re selling a weight loss plan for vegetarians, then your audience is: vegetarians.
Your product/topic informs your audience and your audience defines your product or service.
You probably think nothing is wrong about the example and I say half yes but half no. These example itself is right but what I mean by wrong is that 95% of people think product or service defines your audience. This is where you limit your business.
Product or service does not define the market
That fact is that there are so many kinds of market for each product and service. I agree that you can sell surf boards easy to young surfer who live near the beach, but is there anyone else who wants to try surfing? Anyone over 30 or 40 not interested in surfing at all?
I am sure there will be. In this case, how you pitch to young surfer and to mid 30’s to the age 40 has to be different because their taste is different.
This is only the one example of different market.
If you haven’t yet chosen your audience, then please choose your market first where you want to sell your product or service. Your market will decide how much sales you can generate. Also you can design your product and your website with this point in mind. You don’t need to make your product complete, but just start thinking about it.
What Makes a Great Audience?
So if you do have the luxury of choosing your audience, what kind of market or audience should you pick?
The ideal here is always going to be a market that is large enough for you to make a lot of potential sales/money from advertising, while still being small enough that you can reach them directly. You also want to pick a market that isn’t already overly saturated with marketing. Mind you there is a way around to break through even saturated market but it will make things complicated here so I will feature the article about that some other time.
So to quite simply answer the main question poised in this text:
How do you stand out in a noisy world?
One answer is: go where it’s less noisy.
In other words, if your plan is to create a generic fitness website, then you should be aware that you just made yourself a massive uphill struggle. The simple act of picking a topic that is so widely appreciated now means that you don’t have a very ‘specific’ market to target. You now have to target pretty much everyone which makes your focus far broader and far less specific. Here again, you can survive even in this industries, but will explain some other time.
At the same time, by having a niche that is so popular, you are now going head-to-head with millions of other websites. You’ll be taking on Bodybuilding.com directly for instance and any number of famous fitness and health bloggers. This is a huge undertaking as you’re now going up against a massive number of competitors and trying to stand out in an area where there are many other companies spending thousands or even millions of dollars on their advertising. But don’t get my message wrong, having strong competitor does not mean you should avoid those industries. You know why? In fact, you should focus on the industries where there is a strong competitor. Having strong competitor indicates in part that there are prospects out there. I don’t go too deep down here, but just remember, don’t avoid the market there big competitor is.
On the other hand, if you were able to find a much smaller market that wasn’t being catered to, then you could reach them directly, offer them something they can’t get anywhere else and then quickly corner that market.
The only problem with this strategy is that you’ll now very quickly run out of potential customers and no longer be able to grow. Having said that, remember there is no product or service which is perfect so there is always potential to improve.
The trick is to find an audience that’s big enough to help you meet your goals but not so saturated that it’s impossible to stand out.
One great strategy is to aim a small cross section of a much larger audience. So for example, this might mean that you create a blog on ‘fitness for vegetarians’, or ‘fitness for kids’. In doing this, you have now taken a huge audience that you can grow into, but you’ve given yourself a small, focussed demographic within that much bigger area. You can later branch out and start bringing in more potential customers in future.
Of course you also need to think about the kind of audience you’re going to be targeting and the kind of audience that will once again help you to meet your goals. It’s not just about the size of that demographic and the accessibility; it’s also about whether these are the kinds of people who are loyal fans, the kinds of people who buy products online and the kinds of people with disposable income. Of course the perfect reader for your blog is someone who will sign in every day and who will be tempted to buy the products that you put in front of them!
Spend some time surveying your market therefore and doing market research. Assess the competition, look at their buying habits and then ask yourself if you would do better to slightly broaden or narrow your scope. This is crucial because that is how you can differentiate your business with others.