With so many online tools and channels, it can be very difficult to decide where to start and which ones to focus on. What makes any one online marketing tool relevant to you?
Most don’t actually start out that way…
- At first, it’s so new that few marketers know what to really do with it. Twitter was a good example: 140 character long “tweets” about where you’re having lunch or which movie you just saw? At first, its marketing value wasn’t quite clear.
- But then, some really creative people figure out how to use it to expand their reputations online and connect with new prospects and clients. As this happened, its cost-effectiveness (time invested, not just money) goes straight up. This is the online marketing sweet spot.
- Unfortunately, once marketers discover something, more competitors start saturating the channel and raise the cost to compete. End users start to get sick of all the noise, or just get bored with it altogether, and jump on to the next best thing. We’re seeing this with email today. Spam nearly killed it as a viable marketing option, and although it’s still a critical part of any online marketing campaign, it’s definitely past its prime. People block out so much of their incoming mail while at the same time companies like Facebook and Twitter have shifted how people communicate with their friends and coworkers.
- Which leads to the last step: the death plunge into obsolescence (remember Friendster?).
Lack of specialization is one reason why the industry is seeing such downward pressure on pricing. Companies that don’t specialize are stuck selling a commodity in a market where new competitors enter every day. The only way to compete selling a commodity is branding (think Quaker Oats) or price (think $5 logo design).
The narrower your specialization:
- The more money you will be able to charge, even if your potential market is smaller.
- The easier it is to answer the question “Who are my customers?” and start marketing to them.
- The easier it will be for the right clients to find you.
- The easier it is to reach out to the right repeat users/connectors with enough depth and consistency to become relevant to them.
- The more selective you can be about which clients and projects you take on.
- The less effort it will take to convince clients that you are the best choice for their specific project.
- The easier it will be to create an effective web site, search ad, blog and every other marketing campaign you will need. You’ll be clearer about what to say and why, because you’ll understand the real value of what you do.