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Traffic's Nice... But Who's Driving
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In the competitive marketplace of the new millennium, the demand for specialized products or services will increase. If your site sells everything or to everyone, chances are that your audience will not perceive a value in shopping from you any greater than from anyone else. Keep in mind that price is *never* an issue -- it is the value behind the price that is.
Price is an arbitrary figure that merely represents the value of an offering. Here's an example: You walk to your local home furnishings store. You ask the sales clerk, "How much for that washer?" to which he responds, "$600." "Wow! That's a lot of money," you exclaim. "The price is way too high for me. I just can not afford that." This is a typical knee-jerk response.
Moments later, you walk by a car dealership and notice that favorite new car you've been itching to buy for the last month and a half. You walk in. "It's $25,000," says the salesperson. "Wow! That's great!" You drive it off the lot that same day.
If you could not afford the $600 washer, why could you afford the $25,000 car? So price is never an issue. In the case of the car, the value (and that's perceived value) matched or surpassed the price, which wasn't the case with the washer.
Therefore, if *your* value is perceived as equal to that of others, naturally the cheapest alternative will win. Price is only a metric -- a symbol, if you will. And it is only used when there's nothing to which one can compare your value. (Price is not the only metric either.) Thus, if you're too similar to your competition, price will always be an issue.
So, if you try to copy your competition, or trying to promote your offering as one that's better than your competition, like it or not you're only reminding people of that which you are better ... Your competition! So don't compete. Differentiate! Or as Earl Nightingale once said, "Don't copy. Create!"
Admittedly, being all things to all people is not a negative concept -- of course, you will likely stumble onto some people who will visit your site and respond to your offer. That's not the problem. The problem is that you must generate a fairly large quantity of hits in order to produce a certain result.
The more general or broad you are, the more you will need to paint your website, content and marketing messages with broad brushstrokes in order to appeal to everyone. In the end, the traffic you do generate will be just as general or broad.
Even if your product is a perfect fit for some visitors, it will only be a fit for a small percentage. Additionally, the "generalness" you project will likely convey that your value is equal to that of others and that there's no added value in buying from you than in buying from others. Therefore, out of those qualified prospects that hit your site, a large number of them will likely leave your site due to your apparent lack of understanding of their specific needs, goals and concerns.
In short, the more general you are, the less value you have.
However, the sales you generate will increase dramatically if your site is narrowly centered on a specific theme, product category or outcome. And niche marketing has an added benefit: The need to produce a sufficient quantity of website visitors to produce similar results will lessen considerably.
Here's an illustration: Let's say that your best client is the corporate executive earning $50,000 annually or more, and that your site receives approximately 200,000 hits per month. If your website's message aims for the public at large, you have a problem. There will only be a small percentage of that ideal market (i.e., corporate execs earning $50,000 or more) that will hit your site (and an even smaller percentage that will genuinely be qualified for, and interested in, your offering).
For the sake of example, let's say that this percentage is around 0.1%. That means that, out of 200,000 monthly visitors, only 200 will fit your perfect customer profile (and that's a very optimistic figure). And since your site is too general or too vague, an even smaller percentage of those 200 executives -- let's say about 0.5% -- will be truly interested in your offer and eventually buy. In this case, 0.5% (of 200 qualified visitors) would equal to a mere client for an entire month.
Looking at it in reverse it means that, if you want to achieve at least a single sale per month from this ideal market, your site will thus require at least 200,000 visitors on a monthly basis. If you want to generate at least one sale per day, it means that you will have to generate over 6 million visitors monthly. So based on the law of averages, your promotional efforts will need to multiply exponentially as to create a high enough quantity of traffic and yield acceptable results.
Of course, the above example is when all things considered are equal -- there are many variables here. But the spirit of this illustration is clear: It's the fact that it took an equal if not lesser investment of time, effort and money to achieve 250 sales per month than it did to achieve a single one.
So, there is much truth to the statement that you will get more with less. And online, where there is so much more of nothing, less is indeed more. Therefore, by narrowing your focus, you will likely broaden your chances of online success. And remember, "Don't compete. Differentiate!"
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