Internet Marketing 101 – Specialization

Three times this week I have talked to clients about how critical specialization is, so I thought I would do a quick re-cap on specialization and getting a niche.

One person had a brick and mortar bookstore with a shopping cart website with a huge number of titles. A top ranking for the single keyword “books” is not an option for a long list of reasons, not the least of which is cost. Out of curiousity, I did a search for “books” on Google just to see. 804 Million results, and the heavy hitters you would expect on the first page:


Now that is some very serious competition!

Even if they were able to achieve a top rank for such a general keyword, would the effort and expense be worth it? Browsers searching for such a general term could have any number of things in mind, and it is doubtful that a website could deliver on those expectations, unless of course you are Amazon or Barnes and Noble, which is another reason why they are are the front page!

OK – so you have to specialize just to be viable. Here are some suggestions, using this example, more specialized keywords such as:

Discount Science Fiction
Westerns in Australia
Technical books
Murder Mysteries

are attainable and viable for a small business. When browsers searching for Murder Mysteries, find a site devoted exclusively to Murder Mysteries are likely to buy, bookmark, add your site to Social Bookmarking sites, and come back often.

That is the theory, but will they come back? Just because your site specializes in a niche doesn’t make it memorable. Nobody wants to click through to a website and find a shopping cart. Anyone can find that anywhere.

Which is the second key to specialization — What makes you different? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Why should I visit your site?
2. Why should I return to your site?
3. What makes you special?
4. Why should I link to your site?
5. Why should I bookmark you site?

There are loads of bookstores online and locally for everyone. I can buy most any type of book within a 5 minute drive or on the phone any time. So how are you going to get people to buy from you instead of picking up the phone?

That is the critical question to answer, and if you get it right, much of the promotion of your website will take care of itself. If you have compelling content, other people will link to your site, and browsers will return again and again.

Here are some ideas:

1. Make Lists. Many popular posts and much of the interenet forcuses on lists, which may also generate controversy, which will also attracts traffic. If you are a Science Fiction fan, you probably know about If You Liked This…, which has unbelievably large listings of every conceivable genre of Science Fiction. While the site isn’t attractive, it certainly delivers.

Other examples are: 10 best articles on…, 10 best websites on…, 10 best free…

2. Interviews can make you an instant expert. Interview 8 or 10 people and publish it on your website. You would be surprised how willing people are to speak with you. Most large companies have media relations people who will speak at length.

3. Practical advice. Create content with tips and information that people can use right now in their lives. This will attract links from Governments, Universities, Schools and others which will consistently deliver high quality traffic day after day.

Here is another favorite example: If you are into gaming, this is a great resource that browsers will bookmark, link to, and return to again and again.

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1 Response

  1. April 22, 2008

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