The Niche Marketing Blog

Tools for understanding and reaching your market

Archive for May, 2011

Niche Marketing – 4 Steps to Deciding Your Online Niche Market

Niche marketing strategy

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[Editor’s note: If you are just starting out as an on-line niche marketer then you’re first step is to identify the particular niche market where you want to enter and compete. The following four steps will help you identify that niche market and start you off on the right foot. ~Scott]

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Deciding on the right marketing niche is essential to your online success.

A marketing niche is defined as a targeted segment of a market in which your products are focused specifically to satisfy the needs of that segment. An example of an online marketing niche is a pet store selling only dog products instead of selling product for various types pets, like cats, dogs, and rabbits etc.

The four steps to finding your online niche are: choose an area you have knowledge about; have a passion for the area; discover potential customer’s unmet needs; and think of ways to meet those needs.

1. Choose an area you have knowledge about

It is best to choose an area you are familiar with. This does not mean that you cannot enter an area that you are not acquainted with; in doing so you need to take the time apply yourself to both learning and gaining experience in your chosen field. If you have knowledge, experience and expertise in your target market, potential customers will recognize those qualities – that helps to establish trust.

2. Have a passion for your area

Passion supplies energy to complete the task at hand and makes it more enjoyable. As an online marketer it is vital that your job does not wear you down and leaves you wanting to quit. Yet, passion in an area that is not bringing in revenue does not make sense. You are in this business to earn money, not to enjoy yourself and loose your hard earned money at end of the day. So choose something that is both enjoyable and gives you an income you desire.

3. Discover potential customer’s unmet needs

Fellow marketers may not satisfy all the needs of their customers. It is your duty to find out what those unmet needs are. This is done in a number of ways including, research of the target area, observation of behaviour patterns, and direct questioning of potential buyers. Through thorough research you will establish what kind of product is needed to satisfy your potential customers.

4. Think of ways to meet those needs

This process begins with the generation of an idea through imagination. This idea conceptualizes a specific product or service to solve the problem using the information gained through research. You can source the product if it already exists or you can create your own product or service. The resulting product or service is than marketed with confidence to your potential customers.

Do you want to learn more about internet marketing basics? If so, download my brand new eBook, Newbies Must Know, Newbies Must Know.

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Marketing Lessons From a Kitten

Niche Marketing Lessons from a Kitten

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I have a friend with a kitten. This friend of mine attached a ball to the end of a string so that the kitten would have something with which play.

Now, have you ever watched a kitten playing with a ball tied to the end of a string? It’s fascinating. The kitten can spend hours and hours dancing back and forth, batting at the ball, to the delight of the on-lookers.  The casual observer might conclude that the kitten is busy. But let’s not confuse being busy, with getting things done. With the kitten, what is really getting accomplished (other than the kitten having some fun – something that kittens love to do)?

And this got me thinking about some of my clients and how they approach internet marketing.

To paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, “It isn’t enough to ask if we are busy; we must ask ‘what are we busy at’ “?

Such is the case with many internet marketers; both on-line niche marketers and their brick-and-mortar cousins. They are “busy” with internet marketing – from SEO to social media, from pay-per-click to the latest and greatest tip, trick and technique – but one must ask, what are they really accomplishing? What are they busy at?

The only true measure of an activity lies in it’s results. Did you achieve what you set out to achieve? This, of course, presumes that you even know what you set out to achieve (but that’s for another post).

Here’s the rub: you will never achieve your marketing goals until you focus your marketing activities. Stop chasing the ball on the string. Instead, to reach your marketing objectives, focus on the following  five steps:

  1. Pick one marketing activity (like SEO) that will move you towards your marketing goals
  2. Stick with that one activity until you get good at it
  3. Measure your results
  4. Continue the activity as long as it moves you towards your goals; otherwise discard it
  5. Once you become proficient in that activity, and it is paying off for you, add one more activity (like social media)

Kittens are fun to watch; and they sure are adorable. Just make sure that you don’t follow their example by spending all of your time chasing that ball on the string.

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Seven Applications Every Location Based Marketer Needs

Twitter and Location Based Marketing

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[Editor’s note: Location based marketing (LBM) is gaining popularity amongst the “brick and mortar” crowd, for both local and niche marketers.  Here’s a list of services and applications that you can use for setting-up, and running, your location based marketing strategy. Do you have a favorite? Let me know by leaving a comment below. ~Scott]

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Location based marketing (“LBM”) is taking social media and transforming it from a mushy concept to a real tool to drive revenue in your small business.

LBM is creating cost effective ways for smart business people to use social media to increase their sales. The disruptive nature of this technology allows business owners to increase real and measurable foot traffic to their stores and quantify the results of their social media campaign.

In order to take advantage of the huge opportunities location based marketing provides, there are a few key apps that every small business interested in LBM should keep in their marketing arsenal.

You don’t need all of these to run a successful LBM campaign, but each one is helpful in its own right and can help strengthen your LBM campaign in one way or another. Here is a quick rundown of the basic apps that you need to know (and use) to be successful with location based marketing.

Foursquare – This is a no brainer. Foursquare is the market leader in location based services and one of the big names of LBM. Foursquare is free to use and set up for your business. Foursquare also has the largest established user base of any mainstream location based service.

Gowalla Another strong contender in the LBM space, Gowalla also has a substantial user base and offers a “city pages” where you can feature specials and deals for customers to browse online, a great way to showcase your offers to new and perspective customers.

Facebook – Facebook is involved directly in the LBM space with Facebook Places, which allows you to set up a a location page for your business. Facebook Deals is a new Facebook platform that lets you offer specials and reward programs to customers. Facebook’s Fanpage is also a great way to keep your fans updated about your latest specials. All around, Facebook is an excellent tool for building and strengthening your fan base and ultimately your sales.

SCVNGR SCVNGR is a smaller up and coming location based service. With the help of some recent VC investments and a big deal with a major consumer brand, SCVNGR has definitely put itself on the map. Given the lack of users, its hard to get as much traction, but keep an eye on this service.

Geotoko – Geotoko is a third party LBM platform that allows you to monitor your location based marketing campaign across multiple locations and platforms. With an easy to use and sleek interface, Geotoko is a great way to manage your LBM campaign in one place. This service does cost money so keep that in mind.

Place Punch – Place Punch is similar to Geotoko and offers another platform to monitor your LBM campaign from one place – the software isn’t quite as sleek but its a little cheaper than Geotoko. Both services offer a free trail so give them a shot.

Twitter – Twitter doesn’t have a specific location based component that lets you offer deals to customers, but its such a powerful platform for customer engagement and PR that it needs to be integrated into any successful LBM campaign. You can use twitter to broadcast your LBM campaigns to customers and generate buzz about your latest check-in special.

What are you waiting for? Start learning more about these great software tools right now and get your LBM campaign off the ground. This could be the opportunity to make your small business as successful as it can be. You can get these campaigns set up in no time.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Visit his blog http://www.LBMGuru.com to learn more about location based marketing and get the latest updates. Matt also offers tips and strategies for using location based marketing to grow your business with a free how-to guide you can download right now at: http://www.locationbasedmarketing.biz.

(C) Copyright – Matt Bodnar. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Review: How to Market to People Not Like You

I have recently read the book, “How to Market to People Not Like You”, by Kelly McDonald. This is not your traditional, ho-hum book on marketing. Rather, it is an eye-opening read that changes the marketing paradigm with an approach that is both fresh and exciting.

McDonald focuses on the importance of identifying the “unlikely” customer – those customers who are not like you – how to tap into those customer segments with confidence and how to avoid mistakes and pitfalls when marketing to new customer groups. She has distilled this process into what she calls the “seven steps for selling to new and unfamiliar customers”.

McDonald asserts that, who you are is not defined by the color of your skin or the shape of your eyes or what generation you belong to; it’s about values. It’s about understanding that different groups have differing values. Traditional marketing approaches focus on demographics like gender, race, age, lifestyle and socio-economic groupings. To these, McDonald offers less conventional examples to the mix, including:

  • Rural vs. metro
  • Military vs. civilian
  • Stay-at-home Moms vs. working Moms
  • Home schooled children vs. children who attend public schools
  • Foreign-born residents vs. U.S. born residents
  • Political views and religious beliefs
  • Vegans vs. meat-eaters

Each group has a set of values that is different from their counterparts. As a marketer, if you can recognize and understand these key values, and their differences amongst groups, you can then design effective marketing messages to reach the members of those groups, thus creating the opportunity for expanding both your customer base and market share.

I especially like the discussion about the differing values that each generation (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, etc.) have, and how marketing messages must be tailored to each group in order to be effective.

Using real-world examples from successful business owners and managers, “How to Market to People Not Like You” demonstrates how to create a deep, emotional connection between your products and new customer groups. The book is full of examples of successful – and not so successful – ads and marketing tactics from companies such as Toyota, BMW, Harley Davidson, AT&T, Apple, and many others.

The latest Census numbers are going to show that the U.S. population is the most diverse that is has ever been. As such, thinking about diversity will be more important than ever. Whether you are a niche marketer, a mass marketer, or somewhere in between, this book will provide you with insights into reaching new customer pools by tapping into the values of these consumer groups. By doing so, you’ll reach their hearts and minds and, ultimately, their wallets and purses.

This 209-page book is an easy to read, step by step guide, loaded with tactics that can be implemented just as easily by the owner of a local retail shop or the V.P. of Marketing of a Fortune 500 business.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is responsible for expanding their sales base and attracting customers unlike the ones they already have.

 

(Please note that the above link is an “affiliate link”. If you purchase the book using the above link, I will receive a commission on that purchase. If that bothers you, do not purchase through the above link. Rather, go straight to your favorite on-line book seller and purchase the book directly).

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How To Use Foursquare For Businesses

Foursquare and niche marketing

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[Editor’s note: The bottom line for any marketing strategy is whether or not it increases sales leads and/or customers. Everything else is simply academic. Today’s guest article focuses on Foursquare, a location based service, and how you can use this service to drive traffic and get more customers.

As more and more consumers are moving towards mobile technology, and as Foursquare is orienting itself towards providing business owners with traffic building tools, Foursquare is becoming an important piece of any overall marketing strategy.  Local businesses and niche marketers should pay attention to the recent advances in location based marketing services, as it is almost certain that your competitors are. ~Scott]

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Foursquare is a new location-based app that lets customers check-in to locations and access free rewards or deals. This presents a substantial mobile marketing opportunity for owners and social media markets to use Foursquare for business. How can you use Foursquare for business?

Foursquare is a cornerstone of any location based marketing strategy. As the market leader in location-based services and the platform with the widest user base Foursquare should be the focus of any mobile marketing or social media marketing campaign for small businesses.

Crunchbase describes Foursquare as: “Foursquare is a location based social network that incorporates gaming elements. Users share their location with friends by “checking in” via a smartphone app or by text message. Points are awarded for checking in at various venues… In addition, users who have checked in the most times at a certain venue will be crowned “Mayor” until someone surpasses their number. Various venues have embraced Foursquare, and offer special deals to users who are “mayors”.”

Here is a quick guide for using Foursquare for businesses as part of your location based marketing strategy:

Set up your Foursquare campaign – go to http://www.Foursquare.com and set your campaign up. You need to register, find your venue, and register. Once you are registered you can get your campaign rolling.

Start running specials – start running specials and deals to reward your mayor and your loyal customers – use Foursquare to acquire customers and get them into your store.

Get more customers involved – get your customers on board – tell them about your deals and get them on Foursquare – the more customers you have on board, the more you can use the platform in the future to market your deals.

Track your results – use Foursquare’s built-in functionality to track your results and see what’s working, learn from your mistakes, and build a better campaign.

This simple strategy can make Foursquare a cornerstone of your marketing strategy. The best part about using Foursquare is that the only cost you incur is the cost of the deal itself – the software and functionality are free to use for small businesses – this is a tremendous marketing opportunity.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Matt offers tips and strategies for using location based marketing to grow your business with a free how-to guide you can download right now at: http://www.locationbasedmarketing.biz

(C) Copyright – Matt Bodnar. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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