If you’re watching one of those wild animal shows on the National Geographic Channel and they pan to a herd of elephants, your eyes will immediately zoom in on the lone baby elephant. In a world of giants, sometimes the only way to get noticed is to be the runt, and the Internet today is a jungle of giants.
With that perspective in mind, let’s look at three areas where going small – “micro” in tech lingo – can make a lot of sense.
People who sell a narrowly focused assortment of goods usually flock to sites like eBay, Etsy or Amazon associates to conveniently offer their items for sale. It seems like a good trade off; all the nuts and bolts of order taking and money collecting are built in. All the vendor needs to do is supply a product feed and do fulfillment…more or less.
However, opting for this approach is like being in a room at a party that’s full of drunken revelers and finding one person that you want to have a serious conversation with. You can’t be heard above the ambient din.
Many small e-tailers find that it’s better to have their own website rather that get lumped in with all their competition and just hope for the best. The advantage of being one of many on a site like eBay or Etsy is that there is traffic to the site. However, when you divide the traffic between the number of people selling, maybe that isn’t such a huge advantage.
Not only will you not stand out because of the sheer volume of sellers, you won’t stand out visually. All of these marketplace sites look pretty much the same, and honestly, they’re all pretty bland – like the model homes in an entry-level housing project.
Chances are you’re going to get a blog going right away so you can do some content marketing, so why not just bite the bullet, get your own domain and sign on with some kind of shopping system? It may cost you something above “free” but it will be worth it for several reasons. The various website builders available today will probably give you everything you need.
You can design the best look to support your line of products. Your blog and other content marketing items will be on the same domain as your shopping system. You create a location and a develop a real feel. Someone might say, “Hey, have you ever checked out Kittymittens-dot-com?” No one’s ever going to say, “Hey have you ever checked out ebay-dot-com-forward-slash-usr-forward-slash-kittymittens?”
And if we step back and look at the big picture, it’s almost impossible to do branding within one of these huge sites and if you can’t establish your brand today, you’re merely a commodity seller and that destroys any chance at a decent profit margin.
I read every post that has a headline something like this: 9 Easy Ways to Come Up With Killer Blog Topics. Let’s face it, keeping the content marketing beast fed can be a bear. We all have those days when we know that we have said everything there is to say on our topics.
Lighten up and start leaning on some micro-content. Here are some ideas:
- Look at previous posts and create images with type that go with their headlines. Post these on social media and link back to the original articles. Create a calendar so you’re constantly including these in your program.
- Quote someone, even yourself. Quotes are some of the most shared content across the various social media platforms. And hey, when you say something funny or especially insightful, capture it and turn it into a quote graphic. If you feel embarrassed quoting yourself, attribute it to good old Anon (who seems to be the most brilliant person who ever lived).
- Create a mini-infographic. Yes, your micro-content can be a mini-infographic. Pull out one interesting statistic from previous content or something you read over breakfast in the morning. Use an app like Piktochart, send it off to a Fiverr provider, or do the art yourself, perhaps using an icon or two from the Noun Project.
- Swipe something from someone else. For example, Quora can be a great source for interesting, insightful and sometimes offbeat ideas. I might grab a paragraph from what someone wrote on Quora, add a comment or two of my own and link to the original post. Of course it doesn’t have to be Quora; any good content from another source works. Further, the creator will appreciate the link back to the original post.
- Take and post a photograph. I won’t give you specifics here, but I don’t think I need to.
One of the golden rules of direct marketing, whether you’re using a traditional mailing list or a list of email addresses, is to break the list into segments. This concept is a reflection of the fact that people do business with you for a range of different reasons and they are in a variety of different stages in their sequence of buying.
You need to recognize all the subtle variations between your buyers. Once you have this information, you may want to use it to create micro-sites. Each site will specifically address a different group of consumers.
Someone who sells software to musicians might have a micro-site targeted to guitar players, another targeted to keyboard artists, another to singers, and so on. There are several advantages to using micro-sites:
- Lower bounce rates. Using our example, when the guitar player lands on the guitar site, he doesn’t have to click again to get to the specific guitar content.
SEO. Each micro-site gives you increased leverage with the search engines. You can still have one general site, but with the micro-sites added in, it greatly increases your visibility in searches.
- Improved prospect engagement. You can immediately grab your visitors with copy and headlines that address their pain points. Have you ever played the game, 20 Questions? It can be very frustrating. When you use micro-sites you answer many of those questions immediately and move on to doing business.
There are almost unlimited ways you can apply these three micro-strategies to your online business. Review them, find the ones that you can start using this week and go for it. The results could be enormous.
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