There is one aspect of Internet marketing that very few new marketers get right.
They don’t realize the importance of understanding their niche market audience.
Most new business owners sell a service or product that has become their “baby.” They fall in love with their offerings without a second thought about their audience. In fact, it is quite common that the owner assumes he is just like all the prospects he is trying to attract.
Once in a while the owner wins in this game of guessing what the prospects in the niche really want. Usually though, he doesn’t.
Market research and developing a plan and strategy based upon that research is critical to business success.
If I could give one bit of crucial advice to Internet business owners just starting out, it would be to understand your audience (both prospects and those who have become customers.)
Focus on your audience, what they want and how you can best reach them and satisfy their desires.
Who are your marketing targets?
My initial advice would be to first set a profile of your perfect prospect. Narrow the field and be as focused and specific as you can … male/female, age range, annual income, geographic profile, income tax bracket, occupation, trading affiliation, etc. Until you really focus on who are your very best prospects, you don’t know how to craft your marketing offer, your advertising, and your follow-up with back end products.
Where can your perfect prospect be reached?
Next on the “to do” list would be to determine where your perfect prospects would “hang out” or at least be found online. Be observant and watch how and where the biggest concentrations of your prospects come together to get information in the niche. Magazines, newspapers, forums, chat rooms, niche portals, niche blogs, online groups, professional associations, etc, are all typical “hang outs” for an audience. These are potential venues for your advertisements and lead generation.
Identify your competitive advantage
What is it about your company that sets you apart from your competition? Why should your prospects pay attention to your message? What’s in it for them? This exercise is not really about you – it’s about your audience and what you can give them that others in the niche don’t or can’t. It is very important to differentiate your business from your competitors. Any number of advantages can be singled out and become your “brand” or your company message. Some call this differentiation your USP – unique selling proposition.
Due to the popularity of the Internet, and the mass of competing information messages that exist there, rising above the crowd so your voice can be heard is critical to your prospects finding you.
One caution here: be careful if you plan to promote your business on the basis that it’s the cheapest alternative around. Trying to compete on low prices with your competitors is almost always a losing game. Low cost foreign labor will almost always trump you. And your competition will go to great lengths to be the low price leader. Who wants that?
Laser-focus on the action you want the prospect to take
Are you trying to build an email list of subscribers? Do you want your prospect to call you? Are you trying to get visitors to your web site? Do you hope they will visit your squeeze page? Have a plan for the actions you want!
Be very precise about the physical action you’re trying to inspire. Obviously it will change from time to time as the prospect moves through your sales funnel. You’re going to have to communicate exactly what you want from your prospect – don’t allow any confusion in your “call to action.” Lead the prospect by the hand to the place where you want him to be.
Understand your niche with perfect clarity
You’re going to carve out a space in the market and “position” your business in that space as the clear and logical choice of companies to deal with for anyone that is seeking what you offer. Again, this focus is not so much for you as it is for your potential audience.
You have to quickly and easily be able to explain where you are and what you do so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding about your business mission and capabilities. When your prospects are extremely targeted and your business is positioned to receive your audience (with its products and services), the magic happens!
Remember that it is not your purpose to convince your audience that they need your product. Just the opposite is the case. Your effort should be in discovering what your audience already is clamoring for … find out what they are hungry for and you will be in a prime position to step in front of them with an offer crafted to meet their exact expectations and desires! Do you understand the difference between trying to convince the audience that they need something … as opposed to simply giving them what they have already expressed as the desire they have?
Once you have these steps figured out, you will be in a position to analyze the best types and venues for distributing your message. Your answers to these discoveries should drive the why, how and where you market.
If you start from the premise that you have the perfect product for your customers, you stand a chance of wasting a large amount of time and money when you discover, that in fact, the prospects want something completely different! It happens all the time.
To your online business success!