When I was 14 years old, when the Internet was still ARPANET and “Amazon” was a female warrior from Greek mythology, I discovered science fiction. Satisfying my craving for new and exciting stories each week meant riding my bike to the nearest bookstore, which was just over three miles away, but felt more like ten. Soon, however, the ache in my legs (and posterior) began to pale in comparison to the joy of getting lost in a bookstore. An hour or more of searching the shelves for “just the right book” was all part of the experience, and the discovery was at least as satisfying as devouring the book once I got home.
With all the hype surrounding QR Codes, it begs the question: Is anyone really using these? If the amount of code reader app downloads are any indication, here are some raw numbers:
Marketing—especially web marketing—is much like building a house, because a successful outcome depends on many disciplines, much more than a single person possesses. And this is becoming even truer as web marketing fragments and becomes more social and more mobile.
I love dark chocolate, and I can justify my indulgence because it’s the healthiest of all chocolates. Vegetables, on the other hand, are not nearly as sexy; and at the risk of offending any vegans out there, I’d go so far as to say that vegetables are downright boring. Yet, there’s no doubt that eating more of them would be better for me in the long run—albeit less exciting.
Previously, I wrote about how to make print ads interactive using QR Codes. Depending on who you listen to, QR Codes are the next wave in advertising, or they are Internet’s equivalent of the pet rock.
I’ve been writing about how to use targeted marketing to attract better clients and clone your best ones. One way to do this is by focusing on a vertical market.
To recap, a vertical is simply a specific industry, like photographers. Yet there are different specialties in photography, from wedding photography, to food photography, and more. You could narrow the field and focus exclusively on wedding photographers. But here’s another way to look at a vertical market:
“A set of customers having the same product needs”
This means that bridal shops, florists, disc jockeys, caterers, and banquet facilities also fall into the same vertical as wedding photographers. This is important to consider when targeting a vertical, because you can focus on marketing to all the companies serving a common customer base.
In my last article, I talked about how setting your sights on “small to medium-sized businesses” was casting your net too wide. That was the problem I faced when I took over our telemarketing department in 2007. I had tons of leads to call, so at the start of a canvass, my team would simply start at the beginning and call through the list. By the end of the calling canvass, sometimes the lists would be completely called through and sometimes not.
This meant many businesses received only two or three calls at most. If the first two went to voice mail and the third was unanswered, then we never even came close to reaching a decision-maker. Once I identified that problem, the next obvious question was, how much time and how many calls should we invest attempting to reach any one particular business?
Here’s how segmenting your market can address that question.
I belong to a couple of web-related groups on LinkedIn. While these are a great source for news and information, they are also notorious spam magnets. In the Web Development group, I commonly see postings from web companies offering their services. If you’re advertising (or spamming) your web services in a forum full of other web designers and developers, clearly you don’t understanding who your target market is.
Defining your target market is crucial if you want to be successful. Yet most of us fall into the trap of describing ours as:
“Small to medium-sized businesses”
Or even worse:
“Whoever wants my service at the price I’m offering it”
While the first example is a tad bit better, it’s still horribly unspecific. Defining a target market is like setting a goal—the more specific you are, the better chance you have of reaching it. Which goal do you suppose you have a greater chance of achieving: “Make a lot of money next year” or “Earn $60,000 by the end of 2012 by gaining 20 new clients”?
In a recent article I wrote for SitePoint, I pointed out the tendency for consultative sales types, particularly web designers, to hide behind a proposal instead of directly asking for the sale … something of which I was equally guilty:
But the fact of the matter is, I would do anything to avoid directly asking for the sale—especially if it meant I had to quote a price. Instead, I took the softer, gentler approach and buried the cost somewhere on page nine of my 10-page proposal. But after a few years, I began to grow weary of the “prepare a proposal and hope” strategy. After some struggle, I emerged with a method more effective than letting the proposal do the selling for me.
… advertisement is engraved on the memory by the expensive process of mere repetition. It may be a crude and an expensive method, but it seems to be effective.
Over 100 years ago, Dr. Walter Dill Scott, pioneer in applied psychology, wrote that in his book, Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice. In today’s advertising vernacular, this is known as frequency, the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made.
In his 1885 publication, Successful Advertising, Thomas Smith described how frequency works, based on 20 exposures to an advertising message:
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Thanks for visiting. I’m a Marketing Evangelist, Blogger and Sales Trainer.
I get excited about geek stuff. But I’m also passionate about helping people and companies reach their fullest potential and becoming wildly successful.
That’s why I love helping businesses figure out how to market (especially web marketing) and why I train sales people to be the best they can be at what they do.