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Narrow Your Focus to Broaden Your Sales

by Michel Fortin

An important aspect of marketing online is the fact that people have the opportunity to effectively achieve targeted, measurable results. Too often however, marketers are told again and again by the Internet establishment that traffic is the solution to online success.

Based on the law of averages, that premise is not too far off the mark; the more people hit your site (or see your offer), the more responses you will naturally receive. Quantity is therefore an important aspect of surviving online. And to accomplish such, people will sprinkle the likes of banners, posts, links, ads, and search engine submissions all over the Internet.

It is absolutely true that, if you want a lot of hits, you want your site (or access to it) to be in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But what about quality? Would it matter if your site generates an incredible quantity of uninterested visitors that will simply never buy from you?

For those who wish to find more effective and cost-efficient means of selling more successfully online, then attracting a higher quality stream of web site visitors -- that is interested, pre-qualified visitors that are ready to buy -- is definitely a better alternative.

For example, shots in the dark must be repeated multiple times in order to finally hit if ever one's target (or audience, in this case). But when that target is in plain view, one's chances is obviously greater. More important, if at the same time the weapon one chooses to hit that target is a little more sophisticated and precise, those chances are even better.

However, the challenge facing most people is the idea that they feel they must contend with a choice: Quantity versus quality. But it should not be a choice -- the ability to achieve both is possible. It is to simultaneously have a better target and use a better weapon.

It's called "focused marketing." Focused marketing is to consistently combine both niche and target marketing. Applying either one can multiply your results. But by applying these two simple approaches together, your results can multiply exponentially and also quickly.

Niche Marketing
If your online business or web site targets everyone, then your marketing message must be therefore painted with broad brushstrokes in order to appeal to everyone. And the challenge with such an approach is the fact that you will lose a greater percentage of visitors.

While they may fall into your target market, visitors that leave are those who likely feel left out or become uninterested fast. And there are other who will simply choose a competitor that might provide them with greater perceived value since it caters to them specifically.

In the competitive marketplace of the new millennium, the demand for specialized products or services will increase. If your site sells everything but the kitchen sink, chances are that your audience will not perceive a value in shopping from you any greater than from anyone else.

Remember that price is never an issue -- it is the value behind the price that is. And if your value is perceived as equal to that of others, naturally the cheapest alternative will win.

Many business owners tend to fall into the "trying-to-be-all-things-to-all-people" trap. And being all things to all people is not a bad concept -- of course you will likely stumble onto people who will take a risk and respond to your offer with such an approach. But what's bad is the fact you must generate a fairly large quantity of hits to produce a satisfactory result.

The number of sales you can generate will increase dramatically if your site is narrowly centered on a specific theme, idea, or outcome. Conversely, the need to produce a sufficient quantity of web site visitors to produce similar results will lessen considerably.

To illustrate, let's say that your best client is the corporate executive earning $50,000 or more and that your site receives 200,000 hits per month. If your site's message aims for the public at large, there will only be a small percentage of that ideal market that will hit your site.

For the sake of example, let's say that the percentage is 0.1%. That means that, out of 200,000 visitors, only 200 will be executives. And since your site is too general or too vague, an even smaller percentage of those 200 executives -- say, 0.5% -- will be interested in your offer and eventually buy. In this case, 0.5% would equal to a mere client for an entire month.

Looking at it in reverse, it means that, if you want to achieve at least 1 sale a day from this ideal market, your site will thus require 6 million hits per month. Stated differently, it means that you will have to laboriously (and expensively) multiply your promotional efforts.

Now take the example of another web site dedicated exclusively to corporate executives earning over $50,000. This site however receives only 5,000 hits per month -- agreeably, it's not a whole lot, especially when compared to the other. But the percentage of those visitors falling into one's target market will be 100% in this case -- that's a 10,000% improvement.

Furthermore, the percentage of interested leads that are in a much better position to buy will be far higher by virtue of the fact that the site caters to their specific needs, goals, and concerns. To be conservative, let's say that this percentage is only 5%. It means that, out of 5,000 hits per month, one can achieve 250 sales -- that's 8 times more than the other.

The beauty of it all is the fact that it took an equal if not lesser investment of time, effort, and money to achieve 8 sales per day than it did to achieve a single one. Therefore, there is much truth to the statement that you will definitely get more with less. By narrowing your market or focus, you are thus broadening your chances of online success.

People often tend to shy away from narrowing their focus, for they feel that, by doing so, they will also narrow their chances of making sales. In the 50's and even in the 80's where competition was considerably less, this fear was indeed justifiable. But in today's overcommunicated, highly competitive marketplace, nothing can be further from the truth.

The more specialized your site or online business becomes, the more qualified, interested leads will come to you and consequently the more sales you will likely generate.

Target Marketing
If you say that your ideal client is a technical programmer, between the ages of 25 and 35, and earning over $25,000 per year, then your chances of reaching such an audience by plastering your link all over the Internet will be fairly miniscule. And even if your message does happen to appear in front of your specific market, chances are that it will go unnoticed due to the general nature of the location in which your message appears. This is not good.

Although most business owners are aware of clear, target marketing strategies to achieve results that could be far more effective and cost-efficient, the ideology remains: To be successful one must be everywhere. That statement may be true to some degree and should not be discounted. But it is far better to be everywhere that matters.

In other words, your message should appear in front of those people who will likely read your ad and take action. If you promote your online business in places in which your target market is likely to congregate, it is fair to admit that your immediate costs will likely be higher.

Targeted marketing is not cheap. However, the bottom-line is the fact that your cost-per-visitor (or cost-per-lead) and even cost-per-sale will have decreased substantially as a result. That's more important. In essence, it will certainly be cheaper for you to spend the money in these targeted areas than it would be in trying to find those ideal clients any other way.

Remember that your goal should be to attract people to your site who have a genuine interest in what you have to offer. Targeting as many people as possible particularly with a message that appeals to only a portion of them may produce a fair amount of hits. But it will mostly consist of people who will never be your clients anyway -- the curious and not the serious.

For example, banners are reported by certain research firms as losing their effectiveness. On the other hand, targeted banners have conversely increased. Moreover, if your banner not only appears in front of targeted audiences but also appeals to them specifically, it is likely that the number of clickthroughs consisting of potential, qualified clients will be much higher.

With all things being equivalent, if your ad appears on a site that caters to your ideal market (versus a more general site like Yahoo!, for example), you may get less hits but you will certainly get more sales. (However, it is worth mentioning at this point that Yahoo! also offers targeted banner impressions on search result pages based on specific keywords.)

Nevertheless, combining targeted and niche-based marketing strategies can make substantial improvements over general, non-focused marketing. By lessening your market as well as the market to which you advertise, you will proportionately increase your sales.

About the Author
Michel Fortin is a consultant dedicated to helping businesses turn into powerful magnets. Visit http://SuccessDoctor.com to receive a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning." He is also the editor of the "Internet Marketing Chronicles" ezine delivered weekly to 90,000 subscribers -- subscribe free at http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/.

Tags: Sales and Marketing



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