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Archive for the ‘marketing strategy’ Category

The Digital Marketplace “Wild West Days” Are Over

Gone are the days where the individual or smaller company could contact a few manufacturers, or wholesalers, negotiate for a variety of products, and make any reasonable money in digital marketplaces like Amazon (especially Amazon).

Over the past 4 years I have sold extensively in the digital marketplace arenas, with the bulk of that activity on Amazon. Over that time, I have been responsible for generating nearly $3.2 million dollars in sales. What I have seen over that time tells me that it is going to become ever more difficult for the smaller, general merchandise seller to successfully compete in these marketplaces.

There are a number of reasons for this. First, there hes been a huge influx of manufacturers and distributors who now list their items directly on sites like Amazon. When manufacturers go direct, the retailer can’t compete on price.

Second, marketplaces like Amazon have made it apparent that they would rather fulfill orders at their end, rather than have the seller do their own fulfillment. They have set up fulfillment centers in such a way that the independent sellers have a tough time competing against 2-day, 1-day, or in same cases, same day delivery times.

Third, with the influx of sellers mentioned above, there is a lot more downward pressure on pricing, leaving everyone with a race to the bottom, and ever smaller “average order volumes” (AOV).  Of course, if you are big enough to survive on ever slimmer  margins (think <10%), then you will likely survive. If not, then, well, you better have another strategy in hand.

So what does the smaller seller do to, not only compete, but also thrive, in the digital marketplace landscape? Narrow your focus! Forget the idea of selling general merchandise to the masses. Focus instead on finding niches where you can truly compete, and where there is truly a need that you can meet. In other words, get as close as you can to your customers and figure out who they are and what they really want – then provide it to them.

This means a lot more up front work on your part – market, competition and product research to name a few – but, in the end, you’ll stand a much great chance of surviving the ever changing terrain that is the digital marketplace.

I’ll explore some specific strategies for doing just that in upcoming posts.

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R.I.P. Google Reader

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Google Reader going away on July 1st, 2013

Niche marketers rely on a steady stream of new, niche-oriented content to fill their web sites, blogs and social media posts. For most business owners, it is a challenge to create that content, with many opting to curate existing content rather than creating from scratch.

One of the best ways to curate that content was through a wonderful, free service that has been offered by Google, called Google Reader.  With Google Reader you could selected specific RSS feeds from around the Internet and have them neatly, and cleanly, delivered to your email account on a daily basis.

Sadly, the folks over at Google have decided that  Google Reader is going away.  As of July 1st, 2013, Google Reader will be history.  I’m not a happy camper about this announcement. Google Reader has been a workhorse for me over the years and I will sorely miss it’s ease of use and clean, simple format.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to Google Reader. Specifically, there is Newsblur, NetVibes, and Feedly. I have not explored either Newsblur, or NetVIbes, but have begun using Feedly and, I must admit, I am starting to get used to it.

So, while I will miss Google Reader, I am glad to see that there are some alternatives on the Internet which will performs many of the same functions. You’ve been a good friend, Reader. May you rest in peace.

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Social Media – Not For All Niche Businesses

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Social Media and Niche Businesses

By Scott Spooner

Social Media. The promise as that all businesses coan take advantage and profit from a niche marketing strategy that includes social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like. While this may be true in theory, the reality is that many smaller businesses – and especially those in niche markets – aren’t ready for a social media strategy, and would be wasting both time and money by pursuing one.

Strong words? Let me explain.

I have spoken with dozens of small business owners who want to establish a presence in social media. They see the vast number of people posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, and following each other on LinkedIn. With such an enorous prospect pool, why shouldn’t they jump in? Why indeed! In short, they have nothing to talk about.

Even now most business owners know little about social media. They may be aware that their children, or grandchildren, post, follow, or tweet, but they have little or no direct experience with either the platforms or the process. They focus on the “media” side of the term, and completely ignore the “social” side. So they find someone to create a Facebook page for them, start posting sales messages, then don’t understand why no one is stopping by that page and liking them. Worse yet, they don’t grasp why the Facebook page, or Twitter account, isn’t generating web traffic to their home page or foot traffic to their store.

The truth of the matter is that there is no reason for the traffic to flow.

Social media is about creating conversations and developing a community. It isn’t about, “hey, come over here and buy this”.  When I am called in to remedy the situation, one of the first questions I ask is about the source of the content that they are posting up. Invariably, it is always tied to the latest product or service promotion. And that’s where the online conversation stops.

To be successful with social media, a busienss owner needs to think in terms of community; i.e. what is the business doing in the local community? Tell me about the community events you sponsor, or the charities you support. Tell me about the last Chamber mixer you atteneded, or the local Little League team you cheer. Give me a reason to become interested in your company and then I will follow you. Sales will follow from there.

Can sales messages be added from time to time? Of course. Just remember that the bigger part of social media is the “social” side. You wouldn’t attend a cocktail party and spend all of your time meeting people to hand out business cards would you? So don’t do it on the social media sites. Let people get to know your business and the role it plays in your community. That’s your story. That’s your lead in. That’s how you get people to listen to you and follow you.

And that’s when the traffic starts to flow and sales start to increase.

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Brick and Mortar Social Media Marketing

[Today’s guest article takes a look at the role of location based marketing (LBM) services for the “brick and mortar” (i.e. physical) business, and how a business owner might be able to leverage these services to promote their business. Tell me what you think? Have you used any LBM services to promote your business? How did it work out for you? Leave a comment below.  ~Scott]


Brick & Mortar social media marketing is the next frontier in the marketing and advertising space and the next step in marketing for traditional small businesses that have previously used less effective methods of advertising such as print or television ads. Instead of relying on these outdated and expensive marketing strategies, using foursquare for business promotion is the next step for small entrepreneurs such as restaurants and retail locations.

What do I mean by Brick & Mortar social media marketing? I mean old school “mom and pop” businesses starting to use social media and more specifically location based marketing to promote their businesses. I think that the next step for social media marketing and location based marketing specifically is for more mainstream adoption by traditional brick and mortar or mom and pop type businesses.

Social media is currently the playing field for big national brands and tech startups – but a space largely ignored by smaller businesses. Smaller businesses in the restaurant and retail industry specifically will be the next people to start really getting involved more actively in social media marketing. As customers become more familiar with services like Foursquare.

These marketing strategies for small businesses offer a great return on investment and provide a much more effective marketing strategy than traditional small business marketing. Using software like Foursquare for business advertising offers a great way for these small businesses to take advantage of social media. Instead of spending several thousand dollars on an expensive print or TV ad campaign, a simple coupon or promotional marketing campaign using location based marketing can yield huge dividends for a small business for tens of dollars.

The key to this transition is location based marketing. Why is that? Because location marketing is a way for those businesses who may have previously had no interest in social media, twitter follows, or Facebook (as an aside – I think every small business that faces consumers should have a Facebook page) can now use location services to drive customers physically into their store and to track those visits with check-ins.

This is a very compelling value proposition for small restaurant and retail locations – one that I think smart business owners will be jumping on sooner rather than later. Businesses that take advantage of the benefits of location based marketing will have a leg up on their competitors by attracting new customers and keeping their advertising costs down. In this tough economy, these are huge advantages.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Visit to learn more about location based marketing and download a free how-to guide giving you tips and strategies for using location based marketing.

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

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How Location Based Marketing Is Revolutionizing Social Media

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Foursquare and location based marketing

[Editor’s note: This week’s guest article focuses on “location based marketing” and how you can use it to increase sales. Have you tried some form of LBM? Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below. ~Scott]

By Matt Bodnar

Have you tried using social media for your business and found that it just isn’t working? A lackluster Facebook fan page or twitter account really doesn’t provide much value for the traditional brick and mortar small businesses of today.

The problem with these social platforms is that they don’t provide customers a direct incentive to walk into the store and make a purchase. When someone logs onto Facebook, the last thing they want to deal with is a local restaurant spamming their news feed with deals or promotions. People log onto Facebook to see updates from their friends.

How do you overcome this barrier? Use social media to market to people who are ALREADY in your store. That’s right. It sounds a little bit ridiculous, but with location based marketing, its a reality.

Not only can you market to people are physically present at your store, but you can also market to potential customers and give them incentives to stop by.

You can also craft deals and specials that entice people to return more frequently and to bring friends, leveraging social media to increase your customer base even further.

But before I get too ahead of myself, let me explain a little bit about location based marketing. I am a restaurateur and have used location based marketing successfully in my own businesses.

Location based marketing is the hottest new trend in online advertising and social media marketing. Location based marketing takes advantage of GPS enabled “location based services” or LBS such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Deals, and SCVNGR in order to allow customers to access coupons, deals, and specials in real time on their mobile devices.

Location based marketing is changing the way that businesses both big and small are engaging their customer base. Also known as geomarketing or proximity marketing – location marketing let’s small businesses reach their customers in real time using mobile technology.

Small businesses have often wondered – how does social media really help my business? It is very difficult to quantify exactly what benefit social media marketing has on your bottom line. It’s great to have twitter followers or fans on Facebook, but until you can monetize that revenue stream – there is no tangible impact.

Location based marketing turns these soft social media platforms into concrete social distribution platforms that can be used to directly increase your sales. The best part is that these service can be used for free, just like other forms of social media, drastically increasing your marketing ROI and the return on your marketing dollars.

Matt Bodnar is a restaurant entrepreneur with a passion for social media. Visit to learn more about location based marketing and download a free how-to guide giving you tips and strategies for using location based marketing.

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

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Is Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Jeopardizing Your Business?

Advisor Marketing The Right Way In The 21st Century

Evolutionize specializes in providing independent financial services firms with a suite of proven practice development solutions including Web site development, inbound and outbound marketing tools and compliant social media marketing program support.
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Optimize This! 10 Q&As on Customer-Centric Marketing with Lee Odden

Marketers need to understand the roots of these changes and how to apply the principles of optimization for a more customer centric content and social media marketing strategy.” – Lee Odden For those who already familiar with Lee, he's CEO of TopRank
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Viestly Social Media Publisher Taps Into the $15 Billion Social Media and …

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Event: Social Media Marketing Group | Marking the Beginning of a …

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Is Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Jeopardizing Your Business?

By Charlotte Howard, Published April 16, 2012 Social media marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of any company's advertising and online presence and it is easy to see why. Social media keeps people and businesses connected all over the
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Perch: The One Stop Social Media Tracking App for Small Businesses Is Coming …

Social Media Marketing & Mobile Marketing by Sigma Infotech for Higher ROI

Sigma Infotech is an industry leader in social media marketing and mobile web design services, which, when integrated into the marketing plan of a business, can yield visible, perceptible and profitable results. Social media is all the rage in the
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Worldwide Social Media Usage Trends in 2012

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Perch: The One Stop Social Media Tracking App for Small Businesses Is Coming …

Perch aims to help small businesses maximize their social media marketing by providing a personalized stream of local promotions and events being publicized online. Perch, whose CEO is original Mapquest founder Perry Evans, keeps track of social media
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Targeted content marketing growing substantially in 2012

Speaking Engagements: OpenDialogue Presents Content Marketing …

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Becoming Your Own Media Company: 5 Content Marketing Tips

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Fast Company

Targeted content marketing growing substantially in 2012

Veronis Suhler Stevenson recently published its annual Forecast Mid-Term Update and found that targeted content marketing campaigns are driving massive growth in the communications industry. Investment in internet-related media is driving the largest
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4 Walls Unveils New Social Media Marketing Tools

How To Make Pinterest Part of Your Social Media Marketing Plan

By Jessica Bedore, Published April 11, 2012 Pinterest is now the third most popular social network in the United States, according to a recent report by Experian, a global leader in providing information, analytical tools and marketing services.
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Pinterest Webinar to Help Entrepreneurs and Professionals Master …

ATLANTA, April 11, 2012 — Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) invites business owners and business professionals to a must-attend webinar entitled “From 0 to 40000+ Pinterest Followers in 5 Weeks: Discover the Right Way to
eReleases Press Release Headlines

Social media gives 'Hunger Games' an edge

This represents one of the biggest marketing success stories in recent years. Moviegoers will likely see more studios and distributors pushing social-media marketing in the future. After all, it's cheap, easy and deafeningly effective.
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4 Walls Unveils New Social Media Marketing Tools

NARBERTH, PA, April 12, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — Today, 4 Walls added two new products to Respage, its suite of social media marketing tools for the multifamily industry. The products promise to give property managers more flexibility in achieving
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How LocationBased Marketing Can Help You Connect with Customers …

5 Ways to Market Your Brand With LocationBased Networks

Between the rise in locationbased social networks like Foursquare and the mobile market's meteoric growth a new marketing avenue has opened up Locationbased

5 Ways to Market Your Brand With Location-Based Networks

Location-based marketing is a nascent frontier, and marketers are clamoring to take advantage of it. Already, about 30% of smartphone owners access social networks via their mobile browser, and that figure will continue to grow, according to an
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QuantumDigital Launches QuantumCards, the First Direct Mail Marketing App for …

"Location-based marketing technology is on the radar for many major brands, and 2012 is the year that this technology will not only be present but become the norm on many smartphones," said Freddie Baird, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating
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How LocationBased Marketing Can Help You Connect with Customers …

Some real-world examples of how companies have successfully used these tactics and how you can too.