It is only natural to want to set your marketing strategy for your business to as wide an audience as possible, especially in the early days. The idea that just a small percentage of enquiries from a broad audience could change your business sounds good in principle but how does that work out in practice?
The idea of marketing to niche markets or general markets will depend entirely upon your type of business, but sometimes it is more worthwhile to dominate a niche market as opposed to being a small player in a large market.
1. Marketing strategy: Targeted marketing
It has been proven time and time again that the scattergun approach to online/offline marketing does not necessarily bring the rewards you might expect. In many cases, you will end up marketing your products/services to individuals and companies who have limited if any interest in what you have to offer. They may visit your site out of curiosity but from the outset there is likely little chance they will buy anything from you. Your traffic figures look good; it looks as though your site has been “noticed” but what the bottom line is? You need to convert as much of your traffic as possible to actual sales to be successful.
The easiest way to start is to write down exactly what you have to offer concerning services/products and then relate these to a type of individual, areas of the country and companies which may have an interest. You will very quickly see the emergence of many niche markets which you can target and hopefully target very successfully. If you know they have an interest in your products/services from day one then there is more chance of them visiting your site and placing a purchase order.
2. Try different marketing approaches
There are many different ways to take when looking to market your business which can incorporate both online and off-line activities. In general, many people who have a purely online based business will find that off-line marketing activities have limited impact on their bottom line. If you have a shop or you offer a service to a region, this is very different because they can visit you or you can visit them.
One marketing strategy which you should consider if you offer services to a particular region, such as outside catering, is to build up relationships with complimentary businesses. For example, if you have an outside catering company, are there any self-catering holiday lets in the region? What about hobby groups such as walking associations with regular social events? Then there is the corporate market which can be very lucrative concerning lunches, parties and special events.
3. Commission based sales
For many complementary businesses such as self-catering holiday lets, there is the opportunity to offer a commission in exchange for promoting your outside catering services to their underlying customers. The simple fact is that each party checking into a self-catering holiday let will need to eat it and if you can offer them quality catering at an affordable price surely that must be tempting? If they have the holiday let for a special occasion this is even better because who wants to cook while the party is in full flow?
Commission based sales are also applicable to online-only operations, and indeed there is the opportunity to cross marketing particular products and services. If you’re able to retain underlying customers within a group of complimentary connected businesses, then there is less chance of them looking elsewhere. Whether you have a formal or casual arrangement with complimentary businesses will depend upon the circumstances, but in a perfect world, a written agreement would be best.
Many online businesses make the mistake of casting their net far too wide at which point they become a small fish in a large pond. If you can target markets where there will be an immediate interest in what you have to offer then you’re, potential conversion rates will be much higher.
Some online business people fall into the trap of measuring the success of their activities by the amount of traffic to their websites when in reality sales count. Would you rather have £10,000 worth of sales and only a few hundred visitors to your site or 10,000 visitors to your website and just a few hundred pounds of sales? Targeting niche markets also allows you to build your reputation which will then help greatly when pushing your products/services further afield. Make yourself stand out, adapt your marketing strategy to particular niche markets and then simply offer them what they are looking for. Sounds so simple when you read it?