DMNews.com is one of my resources for keeping current. It is an older style newspaper with columns, hints, interviews and a lot of advertising. This paper (and of course online version) keeps me current on the intersection of the different parts of direct marketing – mail, mobile, websites, PPC, SEO, email lists. It mixes a variety of sections from the ‘showcase’ column that reviews different campaigns, quickly giving some benchmark numbers to keep my mind wrapped around reality (‘no seriously, we always convert 40% of all visitors to our site’ – yeah right potential client).
Most of the content is short, with a lot of opposing opinion going head to head to help look at the ‘range’ of mainstream opinion that is current. Its articles make for great snippets to share with clients ans to what is ‘real’ in todays world rather then what some salesperson is trying to sell.
I particularly appreciate reading about those that understand the core of web marketing, email marketing and direct mail marketing is the same. The nuances change and mature, and the benefit results change, but the underlying formulas are the same:
- What is the lowest cost way to target your marketing to an audience that has a problem that your solution solves?
- What is the lowest cost way to communicate that solution to your target audience in a way that builds trust, and value at the moment a purchaser is ready?
- How do I best create emotional commitment to my product?
Those tools keep evolving, but the fundamental strategy stays the same if you want to be successful.
There are a wide variety of blogs, sites, magazines, books, podcasts and more for learning and keeping up to date with how to market your online presence. One of the challenges is what to pay attention to, and what to ignore.
With that as a need, I am going to start posting what resources I find helpful and try to point out how I look at them for understanding how best to develop an integrated marketing strategy. These tools may have direct information on what to do, but more often they provide a framework for what not to do (such as Black hat SEO – best case a short term strategy, worst case can kill a business) as well as what creative solutions to look for to improve business.
These are just some of the tools and resources I am using today. Having ‘learned’ many industries over the decades, I have learned that trade magazines and newspapers were the best way to quickly see what was coming to ‘mainstream’ business, as well as how to read between the lines as to what are the best practices for today. I am forever thankful for one of my mentors showing me the subscription cards in most trade magazines. I also curse him every time I move, and I am not current, and need to toss my piles. There is so much changing in every industry, and marketing is no different. The underlying principles are often the same over the decades (ever notice how similar website marketing is to direct mail marketing), but the nuances evolve (7 touches is now 9 or 12 depending on your study and costs).
All of this leads me to ask you – what tools do you use to stay current?
Have you heard about the long tail by Chris Anderson? Briefly his book is the ‘discovery’ that there is more ‘action’ in the rest of a market (in terms of total dollars or total number sold or total people involved or…) then the ‘top 10’ best sellers. He spends a lot of time doing lots of analysis that proves that there is more ‘area’ under the curve in the long tail or the ‘rest of the market’ or the top 1,000,000 less the top 10, then there is in the top 10 of most categories. Of course, top 40 radio stations do not want you to know this. Nor do Budweiser, Miller, Coke and Pepsi – they only feel the top 5 is all that counts.
What does this have to do with your website? Mostly that you do not have to be ‘the top 10’ of a ‘short tail term’ to be someone. You can be very successful by focusing on your niche. The key for success is to define multiple niches and excel at a niche rather then trying to be everything to everyone. You still have to rank high for your term, but it does not have to be a short tail term, it can be a long tail term (shoes vs. New Balance 531 AA Blue shoes).
This is born out by reviewing how searches are done on the Internet. The trend continues to be more and longer keyword phrases month after month as people continue to not find what they are looking for on short tail searches. Every go into a car dealer with the answer of ‘A Car’ to the ‘how can I help you?’. You frustrate most salespeople, they don’t want short tail answers, they want long tail answers – ‘I want a blue 2009 H2 with all the accessories’. Search engines are not (usually) smarter then even a car salesperson. They want you to identify what your interests are, what your desires are and how you will use the car – your
Look at your psychographic in smaller chunks of the long tail and put the ‘chunks’ together. Look at the casual buyer, the passionate collector, the person who only uses it once, the family that only buys from a recommendation.
The point is concentrate on behavioral targeting. Of course, this can get creepy if you go too far, but being perceptive is a benefit. So understanding that collectors what good shipping and wrappers is good. Knowing your customer’s bra size (especially if they have never ordered from you) is usually creepy. The key is to look at it through the eyes of your potential customer.
Just like you should not prejudge all blue people as cold and distant, you should not prejudge all your visitors as meeting just one standard way of behaving.
- Define different groups of visitors
- look at how they would prefer to interact with your business
- what should you do to most accommodate their preferences
- how will they be looking to find you
- what terms do each group use (surfboard vs. board vs. ) – need 4 examples of different terms that could be culturally or generationally different …Rad idea dude! Cool man! (when did cool get to mean hot?)
- create extra pages that are focused on each psychograpic to cater to the needs of each group
- look at what the overlaps are of the different groups this is what you should consider emphasizing in your main pages.
- look at and map (MS VISIO is good for this or mind map software) your potential target group. Look at where they overlap and where they don’t.
When you start designing your marketing campaigns, it is important to look at the long tail of your market. What do the different niches want? What are the solutions they are looking for? The different answers to these questions will help you identify the correct strategies for marketing effectively to the long tail. That will allow you to create effective keyword lists that are far easier to rank well in then the ‘short tail’ terms that ‘everyone else’ is battling for.
Rather then fighting for top 10 place for the term ‘Beer’ on Google, go after ‘Western Wisconsin’s best wheat ale’, your audience will be more dedicated, less price sensitive and easier to reach. In other words more profitable.