Reaching your current audience online

If you haven’t done so in a while, write a paragraph describing your current customers: age, gender, income level, education, geographical region, or job title (if you sell business to business). What else do they buy? What do they like to read? It’s easy to research your markets online. If you need to, segment your customers into different groups that share the same characteristics.

When you design your site and implement your Web marketing campaign, use these profiles to decide what to do and where to spend.

Finding new customers

If you intend to use the Web to find new customers, decide whether you’re simply expanding your geographical reach; going after a new consumer demographic or vertical industry segment for existing products, or selling new products and services to completely new audiences.

All the guerrilla marketing aphorisms apply online. Rifles, not shotguns! Target one narrow market at a time, make money, and reinvest it by going after another market. Don’t spread your marketing money around like bees spread pollen — a little here, a little there. That will dilute your marketing dollars and reduce the likelihood of gaining new customers.

Write up the same type of profile for your new target audience(s) that you write up for your existing ones. As you read through the marketing chapters of this book, match the profiles of your target markets to a given technique to find a good fit.

Discovering the long tail of opportunity

You might hear the phrase the long tail to describe the market model used by successful Web sites. The long tail, shown in the graph in Figure 1-1, describes a situation in which a lot of low-frequency events (think sales for various products) add up to more than a few, high-frequency events. The low-frequency events tail off, but added together they make up more than half the total.

You might hear the phrase the long tail to describe the market model used by successful Web sites.

This theory suggests that the reach of the Web is so vast that you can have a profitable business selling many items to a few people rather than spending a humongous marketing budget to sell a few items to many people. It works for, Netflix, iTunes, and eBay. Why not for you? The trick is that those few people need to find your products in the vastness of cyberspace, or you have to find them.

Of course, that’s Web marketing, which is what this book is all about. If you’re curious, read more about the long tail at Long tail, or in Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More(Hyperion).

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