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Online marketing campaigns: aim for targeting or saturation point?

Marketing Wisdom | Online marketing campaigns: aim for targeting or saturation point? 

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote an article for “That’s business”, so I thought it was time to reflect upon this topic.

In mid 2007, I set myself the following simple goal: to quadruple the number of web visitors by the end of the year. The target was 200 daily web visits, which at the time seemed like an immense number. I’m pleased to report that visitor numbers are up again substantially in the last 2 months; there were 9271 visits in January 2008, and 10,550 visits in February! This result is actually almost double my anticipated aim, so I couldn’t be happier! There’s no secret or hard and fast rules to increasing web traffic, but it does require a serious, continuing effort to achieve these visitor numbers.

First and foremost, visitors don’t come from nowhere. They have to be attracted to something. Although I am not formally educated in this subject, I do have a few personal theories about how to improve exposure to my internet business. For one thing, social networking theory has helped me to understand complex interactions that take place all over the internet.

Targeted Exposure:

Nothing beats targeted exposure for effectiveness. Imagine selling something to somebody who’s already more likely to buy the product! It’s not actually that obvious until someone points it out to you. With respect to online communities such as myspace for example, yes of course I try to search for cycling enthusiasts - in particular from Germany, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and the UK. 

I have designated these as my targeted customers, who through prior detailed statistics analysis are shown to be more likely to buy what I am selling once they have seen my website. Sometimes I don’t get too obsessed about super-targeted advertising because it might take 10 times as much work to actually find & target a Finnish cyclist in comparison with an English one. Besides, all this work of mine is my own time, hence it is free. But I don’t stop there because I don’t like to limit the possibilities either.

Saturated Exposure:

I suppose the theory here is that if you are known by everyone, like Coca Cola or “Tom” on myspace, then there is not much need to target anymore. Why? Because once you reach saturation point in the marketplace you instantly have much much more exposure that before, and hence loads more potential customers. Think of it this way: if your client base is already enormous, there isn’t as greater need to target because most of the work is done. Everybody knows you already. The trouble is getting there…

On myspace for example, I usually don’t stop anyone becoming my friend. Who knows? Perhaps even though they don’t look like a cyclist, they in fact are one or they have a friend who is a cyclist, and they in turn will see my site. One small problem with this theory (at least on myspace) is that if I include all the many online freaks of myspace and a potential customer sees this, it could negatively influence their decision to visit if they think I am indiscriminate. In this sense, I like to think of social networking as a form of chaos or synchronicity in action- you just never know what will happen or who you can influence.

But the main reason for not choosing this route is that it is extremely difficult to become world famous. Just ask any nobody. With social networks, we are severely limited to the number of people we can reach. I have just over 350 friends on myspace and judging by their avatars, most of these are cyclists. Truth be told, in seeking out victims-err… customers… I lost count of the number of times I encountered the very same myspace profiles, people who were already my friend. It must have happened 50 times! This seems suprising as there are 300 million myspace accounts floating around in cyberspace.

Six months after I wrote this article, things are starting to become self-automating… I suppose this is the all-important phase of growth during which time you develop an all-important repuation. As far as blogs go, cyclebetter now links to every single one of my articles -even though I never approached them- although it is a bit heavy with the advertising. (Incidentally, this was one of the final factors for placing a small number of advertisements on my own blog, if you had noticed. I thought if everyone is going to earn money out of it but me, then why not me?) Then finally last week, someone else must have added my own blog to the quality cycling directory within blogged. I’m also automatically appearing on some cycling holiday directories.

What I find amazing is that some people refer to sites such as keywordspy in an attempt to gather their competitors keywords. I stumbled upon this link many times while browsing through my internet logs. Well I for one believe that if you aren’t intelligent enough to think of your own keywords and you have to resort to cheating in this way, you probably shouldn’t be in business.

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