Common Branding Mistakes and Myths To Avoid

What Makes a Brand Identity?

Branding is an aspect of every business that consists of visual elements and are used to build a brand for the company’s marketing purposes. Therefore, most business owners would hire a professional logo designer to execute the concepts laid out by the company, which they believe will help communicate and differentiate the company’s business to the marketplace. This logo will then be used as a part of their marketing materials that will appear on business cards, envelopes, letterheads, or other professionally related materials, and their Online presence, like a website or social media profile.

Establishing that brand identity is one of the initial steps that must be taken by a company if it wishes to achieve market penetration and ultimate success. Hence, this process must involve careful brand planning and thought to avoid sending the wrong message about your business. You must also look into how a client might perceive the message being delivered by your brand, to avoid having it work against you.

Designing the Brand

There is no need to reiterate the importance of your brand identity to the success of your business. This is an area of your business planning and startup that must be left to the professionals, especially if you are new to the business industry or are looking to develop a new niche or brand. Although you might have a sense of creativity, graphic designing becomes an entirely different concept when it is associated with using it as a marketing tool.  Even beyond the creative aspects, having your materials in the correct formats and sizing can make a huge difference in the consistency of how your brand will be portrayed in different mediums.

Apart from being creative and visually appealing, the brand logo must have meaning and be able to convey essential information about your company. Here are some benefits you can get from hiring a professional to design your logo:

  • The creation of your brand logo will serve as priority. Hence, you are able to set a specific time-frame for the completion of the job to ensure that it is being focused on closely.
  • As a professional logo designer, it is their job to utilize their unique skills as a graphic designer and incorporate their expertise on the importance of the logo in relation to the marketing side of your business.

Customizing Brand Design

Contrary to popular belief, designing your own company logo to use on marketing materials is not expensive. With a sound concept and a skilled logo designer you will be able to produce a strong brand. It is certainly money well spent.

After all, this is a business investment since your brand can impact your sales. This is a relatively inexpensive investment with a potential for a lucrative profit.

Understanding the Importance of Branding

Many entrepreneurs may tend to neglect the creation of a brand identity. This could tarnish your reputation and make it much more difficult to compete or differentiate yourself from your competitors. A brand identity is as essential as some of the basic priorities in every business. And if ever a brand is created, many business owners may not look into the details of the brand and thus end up with a brand that misrepresents their company.

Below is a list of common branding mistakes that should be avoided:

• Failure to create an efficient brand plan.

• Not giving full commitment to the management and review of the brand.

• Inability to establish internal branding.

• Lack of a sound marketing plan.

• Trying way too hard to create distinction to the point of inaccessibility.

Branding your business is never easy but once you recognize the factors that could impede your business’ progress, then you’re on your way there.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

5 Things To Consider When Publishing An Electronic Newsletter

Providing an electronic newsletter for your opt-in list subscribers provides many benefits in terms of driving traffic to your site, as well as, boosting the sales and profits of your company. This is a marketing ploy that will not put a big dent in your marketing budget and will not require a lot of hours in development.

With an electronic newsletter, you can inform prospects about your company and its products and services. You can keep them posted and updated about what’s going-on with your company and many of your promotions and offerings. This will keep you and your company top-of-mind so that when the need arises, your prospects will think of you first.

An electronic newsletter also allows you to educate your subscribers on your knowledge about the problems and challenges your products or services can solve. It can show and establish your expertise about the topic at hand and the many benefits you can offer them. When you impress people, they will become potential clients or they can recommend you to their friends, colleagues and family. Many of them could very well be clients in the future.

If you do not have the necessary electronic newsletter software, you will need to do some research to consider which platform will work best for your needs and offer an easy way to process your newsletter regularly.  Be sure they also offer options for creating sign-up options to subscribe to your electronic newsletter and continue to drive traffic to your site using some well placed links within the newsletter template.

In the next few paragraphs, I will provide you with some things to reflect on when you decide to start your own electronic opt-in newsletter for your site. Here are five things to consider when publishing an electronic newsletter.

1) Make sure that the content of your newsletter pertains to and closely associates with your business or the theme of your site. Do not dwell too much on what could be regarded as your field of expertise. Let your website content do that for you.  Your newsletter should be focused on information and resources that establish you as the expert.  You may also consider using it to introduce clients and prospects to your staff to help them build relationships with your clientele, too.

Remember that visitors to your site are there because they are interested in what the site has to offer. If they sign up for an opt-in list or for a newsletter this means that they want to be updated for that certain theme or subject. Be sure that when you publish your newsletter you are providing for the need of the subscriber as well as their interests.

2) Ensure that you have well written, informational and content rich articles. Your articles will be the body of your newsletter and they should be able to excite your readers and provide information. Articles should be well written and checked for errors such as spelling and grammatical errors for it to look professional and believable. The trust of your clients and prospects is at stake here.

3) Fact-check your articles. Make sure that you provide true facts and figures so that your reputation as an expert and knowledgeable in that field is not questioned. If you lose the trust of your subscribers it may persuade them to unsubscribe to your newsletter. This could cause you to lose potential sales.

4) Provide fresh and new article content to keep your subscribers engaged. If you publish stale and old news in your newsletter, there is a chance that your subscribers have already read and know about it. This will cause them to lose interest in your newsletter and you take a chance they will unsubscribe.  Or they may simply not open or read any of your succeeding newsletters losing them as a potential or on-going client.

5) Never use copyrighted materials such as photos and articles. This is outright plagiarism, and you can get into a lot of trouble. You can lose your business and get sued over copyright infringement. If you do not have the time to write your own articles, there are many willing and able professional article writers that can do it for you for a reasonable fee. All your investment in writing and publishing articles will be well worth it when you see your list build up and your website traffic increasing. 

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

Getting Referrals

Getting referrals takes time and work.  Just because you do a good job for your clients doesn’t mean they’re going to naturally send you referrals.  Attending networking events and making connections with people who could potentially provide you with referrals isn’t automatic, either. 

Just like everything else to do with your business, it’s hard work!  But it doesn’t have to be drudgery.  Once you start asking for and listening for the openings to make a request, it becomes a habit that will help you expand your business and increase profits.

A big part of it is your mindset.  Are you excited about your products and services?  Do you express excitement when talking about what you do?  Is there a smile on your face?  Do you think about the many potential clients searching for your products and services and how you are the best option to solve their problems?

Are you confident when you are speaking to a client or friend about passing along a referral (do you even ask?), and when your client or prospect is speaking are you focused on them and being a good listener?  Are you making eye contact?

Be sure and ask current clients periodically if they know of anyone, like them, who might be in need of your services.  You may also want to find out from any long-term client why they have not referred any business to you, should that be the case.

What I’ve found many times is that the client was hesitant to pass along referrals because they feared that it would take your time away from doing their services, so they hadn’t even considered connecting you with others.

Make them feel comfortable that you will be able to serve them at the same level you always have; and help them to understand how important it is that you grow your business in order to keep your business profitable and allow you to stay in business to help them for years to come.

You might also consider some sort of a referral program where they could receive a discount on their next purchase, or possibly a gift of some sort, in appreciation.  Whatever that might look like, it’s a great way to develop a good continuous stream of prospective clients who will already have an understanding of the value and benefit of working with you.

These are all great ways to prepare yourself to ask for referrals.  And don’t forget to provide them, too.  Find someone that fits a need for this person that is not in your expertise, or suggest their products/services to someone else, and be sure to let them know you referred them.  Nothing helps solidify your relationship better than reciprocating and creating a partnership and deeper relationship with your current clientele.

Create a basic script for asking for referrals and practice it until it is second nature and flows naturally.  You’ll be surprised at just how many great prospects are out there just waiting to find you if only you would ask.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

Social Media for SEO: Three Ways to Control Your Front Page Results

Before you think of a positive social media strategy, think of a strategy that can counteract the force of negative feedback. These three tactics can help you control the first page of Google’s results for your company’s name. If you value long-term brand power and the positives of social media, it’s a move that’s certainly worth taking.

Build ‘rank only’ social media profiles.

The idea that all of your social media profiles need to be active is, simply put, wrong. While it’s wise to concentrate your promotional efforts on just one service, it’s equally smart to spread your company as wide as possible using the authority of other social media websites. With a collection of accounts indexed by Google, the chance of negative feedback creeping into your results is lowered.

Don’t always respond to criticism.

Social media is the perfect avenue for responding to criticism. It’s public, easily accessible, and read by millions of users across the world. When unfair comments are posted that are easily refuted, it’s a smart move to publicly respond and clear the air.

But it’s also a move that alerts the search engines to that page, and if the response turns into a major topic of discussion, it’s one that could move up the ranking pages. If you would like to keep certain pages on the ‘down low’, it might be best to ignore them completely.  Hard as that may seem, just one negative topic can get out of hand and draw more attention to the bad instead of the good.  If you do end up creating such a situation, be sure and create your positive posts with a steady stream of new information and feedback from your fans.  Your relationship with your contacts and followers can help offset any negative topics from the past.

Build links to social media profiles and discussion pages.

Most search engine optimization professionals recommend building links to and from your website. For direct response advertisers and online companies, that’s often a wise choice. But what about socially powered companies? Your market’s not the same as theirs, so why should your strategy be the same?

If you want to truly control your Google ranking pages, ensure that you spend a small amount of time building inbound and outbound links to your unused profile pages. While it’s unlikely they’ll generate leads or help your business succeed, they can create a useful ‘Google barrier’ that prevents inaccurate information and controversy from rising to the top of the ranks.

They will also increase your site visitors and bring your site farther up in the rankings for any specialized keywords you may have determined attract your target market.  While links coming into your site top the list of valuable assets, outbound links are equally helpful in improving SEO success.  Consider what resources or products your target market might find beneficial and setup a page to link them out from your site to these other resources.  Be sure to set them to ‘open in a new page’ so that when the prospect is done considering your resources they can easily transition back to your site and continue surfing.

Creating a consistent program for promoting yourself and your site through social media will go a long way in increasing your search engine rankings.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

Finding New Customers through Online Investments and Social Media Marketing

Women Business Owners Challenged to Find New Customers

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) recently posted the results of their State of Women-Owned Businesses Survey.

Results indicated that women business owners found that gaining new clients was one of their biggest challenges and they were considering what marketing tactics would have the greatest impact.  Here’s what they found:

When asked what they see as their biggest challenge to running their business, nearly two in five (39 percent) of Women Business Owners said that it was gaining new customers. To gain customers, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of WBOs plan to invest more in marketing. Specifically, they will invest in social media marketing (36 percent) and search engine optimization (SEO) (36 percent). This is not surprising, as nearly half (44 percent) predict that social media and SEO are the future of small business marketing. Conversely, WBOs anticipated that traditional outreach approaches, including print and direct mail (1.6 percent), online advertising (4.4 percent) and email marketing (6.2 percent), will have less impact on small business marketing in the future.

When considering what marketing tactics currently have the greatest impact on a business’ bottom line, more than half (52 percent) of respondents indicated that website design and maintenance was very important, followed by social media marketing and SEO (38 percent) and email marketing (25 percent). And WBOs indicated that LinkedIn (27 percent) is the most valuable social media platform to them, followed by Facebook (26 percent), YouTube (18 percent) and Twitter (17 percent).

“Women business owners are laser focused on reaching new customers, and their strategy for doing so is focused on improving their businesses’ online presence,” said Web.com executive vice president and chief people officer, Roseann Duran. “This is great news for time-strapped consumers, as they can expect to have an improved and more socially engaged online experience with many of their favorite businesses.”

I disagree that email marketing will have less impact, I believe that using it as a tool to drive traffic back to your website and social presence is the best way to continue to drip on clients and prospects and increase SEO.

These are the challenges we help our clients manage.  If you’re struggling to organize and implement your online presence and social media marketing, or you know it’s not the best use of your time, please contact us for a complimentary consultation to see if we can help you gain new clients by focusing on your Internet marketing and social media.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

4 Crucial Things You Need To Do To Build your List

Online marketing has caused a sudden surge in successful marketing these past few years, but many in the know have felt its rise for much longer.  As more internet-based businesses are popping up, the need to develop new marketing skills and knowledge based on this new medium have risen significantly. More and more marketing strategies are being discovered and developed to cope with the changing face of business and the business world.

The demand for online marketing tips and strategies have drastically grown and a new opportunity for this type of business has been born. While there are companies that are all too eager to help your site and business build a clientele for a fee, there also many ways that you can spread the word about your site’s subsistence in a more low to no cost way. One of these options is Opt-in email marketing, also known as permission marketing.

Opt-in marketing requires the permission of a willing customer to subscribe to your marketing materials, materials that can take the form of newsletters, catalogs and promotional mailings via e-mail. The more opt-in marketing mail you send, the more chances there are to capture more sales. To do this, you must build a list of targeted prospects who want to subscribe to your opt-in marketing list.

Since they have already shown interest in what you have to offer and sell, you will grow a great list of targeted customers. These are the people who have liked what they have seen on your site and have decided they want to see more and maybe even purchase a product or service your company has to offer.

Many people would think that building their lists would take hard work and a lot of time to build and collect names and addresses. This is not the case; it takes a bit of patience and some good strategies, but in creating the list, you open your site and your business to a whole new world of qualified prospects. These efforts can take your business to the next level, as it will increase your site traffic and provide opportunities to grow your sales and profits.  An opt-in list can do wonders for your business.

There are many sources on the Internet that suggest lots of ways to build a list. Sometimes they may be confusing because there are so many different ways. Different groups of people with different types of products and services would have different approaches in building an opt-in list, but no matter how diverse their methods are, there are always some crucial things to do to build your list. Here are four of them.

1) Put up an easy and visible web form on your site’s pages, especially the home page, that immediately grabs their attention. While some may say this is too soon to request a website visitor’s information, but try to remember that your home page should provide a quick and lasting impression. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention and get them to sign-up.

A good web form for subscribing to an opt-in list is not hard to do. Just write a simple short statement about what information and updates they will see through your site. Then there should be an area where they could put in their name and e-mail address. This web form will automatically save and send you a notification of the data they input. There are many online options to maintaining your opt-in database like Constant Contact, MailChimp or aWeber. As more people sign up, your list will be growing.

2) As mentioned in the first tip, make your home page very, very impressive. You need to have well written articles and content on your site. Depending on what your site is all about, you need to capture your website visitor’s attention right away. Make your site useful and very easy to use. Do not expect everyone to be tech savvy. Invest in having good programming on your site, make your graphics beautiful but don’t overdo it.

Don’t waste your time making the home page too large, megabyte wise. Not all people have dedicated IT connections, the faster your site gets loaded, the better. Go for a look that borders between simplicity and sophisticated knowledge.

3) Provide excellent service and products. A return customer is more likely to bring in more business. Every now and then a satisfied customer will recommend your business to their friends and family. Word of mouth and referrals alone can rake in more business than an expensive ad.  As your client list grows so will your business. With more people on your list, the more people who will get to know about what you have to offer.

4) Keep a clean and private list. Never lose the trust your customers have entrusted in you. If you provide e-mails to others and they get spammed, many will probably unsubscribe from your list. Remember, a good reputation will drive in more traffic and subscribers as well as strengthen the loyalty of your customers.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

Ten Tips to Increase Website Traffic Without Any Expense

While I realize I am a Web Development DIY (Do-it-Yourselfer), there are several things I do regularly to help increase my rankings at the major search engines.  SEO, or search engine optimization is a key component to attracting your ideal client to your website, blog, or social media presence.

Since blogs are ‘open source’ they are looked upon more favorably by the search engines, and are much easier to update regularly than a static website.  Make sure to regularly post to your blog and encourage replies to help increase activity that will bring your site attention online. 

Inbound links are also important and help you rank higher in the search engines – so make sure to use lots of links on all your social media, blogs, and websites.

Here are 10 simple ways to improve your search engine rankings with little to no expense (depending on whether or not you’re a DIY or have website support and maintenance done by a Virtual Assistant (VA), or in-house staffer/IT Support.).  I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Schedule regular updates/changes of information on your main website pages.  This activity spiders out to search engines to let them know something’s happening at your site.
  2. Add resources and links to other sites, even affiliate sites where you can make a second income stream would be helpful.  It also brings attention to your site.
  3. Update or add keywords and meta tags.  Search your niche and see what pops up, ask your clients what words they might use in a search engine if they were looking for you.  They may come up with words you hadn’t even thought of.
  4. Add features such as a newsletter subscribe or survey questions.  Rotating survey questions is a great way to bring visitors back again and again.
  5. Use your website in your marketing pieces.  Write articles that would be of interest to your clients and include the URL on the print or electronic marketing piece to drive more traffic to your site.
  6. Create private areas of your website where clients can login and retrieve projects or files.
  7. Add a blog, or connect to your site from your blog, to increase search engine rankings.
  8. Find out what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be done manually and set a regular schedule each week, or several times a month to increase your rankings at major search engines.
  9. If you get an article published, post a link to it somewhere on your website, or include your website URL in the article so that people will have easy access to your site.
  10. Include your website URL on your letterhead, business cards, online directories, and anywhere else you can reasonably post it.

If you incorporate several of these tips into your regular website maintenance, you’re sure to see your numbers grow.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

Attraction and Attitude – How They Fit Into Your Business Success

One of the things I enjoy most about having my own business is the freedom to choose who I’ll do business with.  Not that I’ve always enjoyed that luxury, but my business is at a point where I can be a bit picky about who I decide to do business with.  Add to that a very specific ‘ideal client’ vision, and I find that I seem to attract clients who fit nicely into that vision without a lot of hard work.

I just spoke to one of my clients in Florida recently, and he reminded me how enjoyable it is to do business together.  He always seems to have fun projects that fit perfectly with my expertise and his positive outlook seems to extend from his business to his personal life!

This made me stop to think about my other clients, and how they fit into the same enjoyable relationship I have built with my Florida client.  To my amazement, they too have the same positive attitude, are fun to work with, and we share a mutual respect and appreciation for each other.

WOW, how cool is that?  This all makes me wonder, how did I get here?  How did this happen?  Could it be the law of attraction?

I think that it does have a lot to do with attraction, and my attitude, and the fact that many of my new clients come to me as referrals.  We usually hang out and have stronger relationships with people who are similar to us, or have the same values as we do.  So it stands to reason that my clients would be referring prospects who are similar to them, who have the same attitudes and values.

Over the years I have had to sever my relationship with a number of clients.  In looking at who they were I can easily see that they had different values, our work was less positive and their attitude towards our work together was what finally made me sever ties because I felt they were bringing me down in my own business.

But I think it’s also something else; I think it’s the brand I’ve created for myself.  I believe that along with the logo, website, tagline, etc., that creates my brand, so does my appearance, professional image and ethical standards.  And I want to do business with people who appreciate my expertise and with whom I can share a mutual respect.  Ifthey find no value in our work together, we’re just not a good fit for each other. Don’t we all want to do business with people who respect us and appreciate our expertise?

I guess I’m not at all surprised that my clients share these same traits; hopefully, some of that comes from working together and sharing these common goals…that’s in essence what I do, help my clients market and brand themselves to establish that polished and professional image they’ve worked so hard to achieve, and help them to attract clients and prospects that share those traits.

After being in business more than 20-years, I’m grateful for all the clients and colleagues who have helped make my company such a great success; and helped me to establish such a professional and enjoyable brand. 🙂  I wish you all the same!

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

Internet Marketing Strategies that Won’t Empty Your Bank Account

Any business will benefit a lot from various Internet marketing methods. But you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars just to get some decent exposure for your company. There are ways to make your business be seen and felt without doing overkill with your marketing dollars.

Make use of your online power – through Internet marketing. Here are simple methods that you may consider to boost the visibility of your business without shelling out more than what you can afford. However, these techniques need patience and some footwork to produce the best results.

First, you need a website before you can make use of these low cost Internet marketing strategies. If you don’t have one, create one using free technology like WordPress.org, or hire someone to develop a site for you. This will be used in employing the following Internet marketing techniques.

1. Affiliate Marketing

This is the process of recruiting a network of smaller websites known as affiliates to drive targeted traffic to a website. Ad copy and links will be provided by the companies you will be promoting; or by you if you are looking to setup an affiliate program. You will have to pay a certain percentage of the sales profit to your affiliates in order to take advantage of this type of program.  If you become an affiliate for someone else’s products, you will earn the commissions for any sales generated through your site.

2. Links

One of your goals should be to attain a good ranking with search engines. One way to do it is through link building. This could be done through trading links to other businesses that are related with yours, or using social media posts to drive traffic back to your site.

3. Newsletters

Sending out electronic newsletters to your subscribers (those who signed up for your newsletters) will help greatly in establishing a good working relationship with your customers or prospective customers. It has to be short, sweet, consistent and written for a general audience.

4. E-mail Marketing

As one of the best cost-effective Internet marketing tools, it is a very important method of keeping your customers aware of your products and services. Just make sure to avoid spamming or soon enough you will have chased off potential clients and could elicit complaints.

5. Articles

If you put quality content in the form of articles in your website along with your products and services, search engines will have to index your website. Getting you website indexed by popular search engines means more traffic for you.

6. Forums

Expand your Internet networks by joining forums that mainly discuss items related to your products and services. Actively posting responses or answers and asking relevant information will build your reputation as that forum’s member and boost your company’s visibility through the connections you’ll make.

While these are certainly not the only low to no-cost marketing options to increase your Internet presence and grow your business, they are some of the best ways to start to develop a marketing plan that includes a number of platforms, on and off the Internet, to establish a profitable and growing business.

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com

What My Cat Taught Me About Niche Marketing

Some people are “dog people,” others are “cat people.” I’m a cat person. Regardless of which pet you prefer, we can all agree that pets enrich our lives in many ways. They provide unconditional affection, they don’t care what we look like, and sometimes they even teach us a life lesson.

But I never expected my cat to teach me a marketing lesson! A niche marketing lesson, to be more precise.

At this point, the dog lovers reading this are saying that this cat person is crazy. But I’m not. Here’s how it happened.

Like millions of other pet lovers, I bought plenty of pet toys. We all want to be able to interact with our pets, yet still want them not to be bored when we’re away.

My cat went through the usual toy assortment: feathers, balls with bells in them, foam balls, catnip, string, and an assortment of stuffed rodents. Because we all want the best for our furry friends, I bought the biggest stuffed rat I could find. It received an occasional sniff but was mostly ignored.

The medium-sized stuffed mice received more attention, but only if I moved the mouse or threw it for the cat. He wouldn’t play with it on his own.

Then my cat was given a pair of tiny stuffed mice. I thought they were too small and would be ignored just as the giant rat was.

Boy was I wrong!

Like a lion on a gazelle, my cat pounced on the tiny mouse and gave it a beating it would never forget. He played mouse hockey through the house, scoring goals under the refrigerator and under the stove. He played baseball, tossing the mouse high into the air and catching it again, or hitting a home run on the way down. He played jungle lion, proudly carrying his prey back to his waiting pride (me!).

So what does all this warm fuzzy cat stuff have to do with online sales?

It’s a metaphor for niche marketing. The cat is the consumer. The cat toys are your products. The ultimate goal is to match the former with the latter.

Your first product, the giant rat, was of vague interest to the consumer (the cat). The consumer sniffed at your ad or sales page, but did not like what he smelled, and moved on. No sales.

Your second product, the medium-sized mice, was more interesting to the potential buyer. He would take action, but only after intensive prompting on your part. You would probably have to spend a lot on pay per click ads or gave away lots of bonuses to get his business. A few sales might be made, but it would be expensive to get those sales.

But your third product, the mini-mouse, was pure magic! Your cat consumer took one look, something in his brain clicked, and a sale was made. It was as if your product was a key that unlocked the part of the customer’s brain that triggered the buying impulse. Jackpot!

That’s what my cat taught me about niche marketing. You must find a product that somebody desperately wants (preferably a large group of them). That product must be exactly what they were looking for, even if they didn’t know they wanted it! It must be so tantalizing that your customer is more concerned about playing with his new toy than he or she is about paying for it.

You see, I made a classic info-product mistake with my cat. I gave him what I thought he would like. I wasted money promoting large stuffed rodents and heaps of other toys to him. What I didn’t do is ask him what he needed and give him that!

Don’t make the same mistake! Figure out what your customers want FIRST, and give them that. Then watch them pounce on it so fast that the payment process is almost an afterthought for them.

I have since learned that the mini-mice are about the same size as real mice. No wonder the cat was sold on them immediately! He had never seen a real mouse, but there was a mini-mouse sized niche in his brain that was instantly gratified by the smallest mouse toy.

Don’t give your customers what you think they need. Ask them what they want, and give them that. Then you will have truly created a better mousetrap, and they will beat a path to your door (and your bank account)!

Jeannine Grich, CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: https://accbizsvc.com, or contact her at Jeannine@accbizsvc.com