If you want to be successful in niche marketing, you really have to have a system for your online brand. You have to think in terms of branding and you have to think in terms of system buildings.
Unfortunately, a lot of people think that as long as they have a hot idea, or they know somebody who is targeting a certain niche then everything is good to go.
They think they just need to come up with content that's targeted towards that niche and everything will fall into line. A lot of these people even have the idea that they should just buy their traffic.
That's all well and good but the problem is you're going to be spending a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money in your business only to end up with very little to show for.
You have to understand that paying for traffic is a very expensive way to learn the rooks. Assuming you learn the rooks at all. A lot of people actually run out of money before reaching that point.
I know that sounds kind of discouraging and depressing but unfortunately, that's the truth. You don't want to be one of those people. This is why it's really important to focus on getting free traffic.
Believe it or not, if you feature the right pieces of content on your online properties, traffic would be drawn to your website. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the moment you copy and paste this content onto your website, then all this magical traffic would instantly appear. I'm not saying that.
What I'm saying is that when you focus on the right niche content, you make your job so much easier because you only need to find the right places to promote this content. You have to promote. This is non-negotiable. This is something that you need to do. It's not an option.
The foundation of great niche success is excellent niche content creation paid with highly targeted and highly qualified niche content promotion. This is how you develop niche traffic. At the end of the day, people must feel like they can trust you.
They must feel that you know what you're talking about and that your website it credible enough for them to trust with their hard-earned money. This is all built on a foundation of solid content but the right eyeballs have to be exposed to that content. It can't just flow around freely on the internet, absolutely invisible to people it's intended to reach.
If you build such a business and you pursue such content strategy, you're going to fail. So understand the proper importance of niche traffic. You have to know where your intended readers currently are on the internet. You don't have the budget nor the time or patience to develop the market.
Focus instead on finding out where they are and communicating effectively to them. That's how you maximize your brand visibility and that's how you develop niche traffic as streams which can later on add up to a river which you can later convert into cold hard cash.
A lot of people are under the impression that making money on the internet is very easy. Too many people believe that if they put up a website and all these other people will show up and click on all sorts of ads, the website owner will make money.
If it only were that easy. Still, I really can't blame people for having such misconceptions.
After all, for the longest time, it's very easy to find all sorts of products claiming to help you make money online. There is even a whole industry and blog category that promise readers that if they do certain things they will make money on the internet.
Sadly, a lot of this is exaggeration, hype and yes, flat out lies. Still, there is a tremendous demand for this type of information. After all, who wouldn't want to work a few hours in a week to earn the same amount of money as a full time worker?
Is this true? Is this all a lie? Is this all just hype?
You can set up an online passive income system. You don't have to be there for your system to make money. You could be taking care of your kids, going on global vacation or simply sleeping and your online properties will make money all day, every day. That's the good news.
The bad news is that it takes quite a bit of work to get to that point. This is precisely the part of the jigsaw puzzle that these hypesters and marketers don't want you to know. They want you to just get all pumped up about online marketing so you would buy their products, sign up to their seminars and hand them your hard-earned cash.
They don't emphasize the amount of work and planning involved. Make no mistake, if you want to make money through online niche marketing, you have to do the work.
Thankfully, this doesn't mean that you're going to put in the same kind of work as if you worked in a factory or as a security guard. No. This is not physical work. This is mental work which is, if you think about it, harder.
When you do physical work, you're just physically tired. When you do mental work, you are forced to confront your expectations and assumptions. You're forced to think outside the box, and essentially, stop thinking habitually.
That's a lot of work. It's no surprise that a lot of people who get into niche marketing and try to build an online passive business, flat out fail. They fail not because they're dumb.
They didn't get the results that they're looking for not because they're lazy or there's something wrong with them. Instead, they just did not have a system.
That's really the bottom line. I don't want to discourage you or bring you down but the sad reality is that 90% of online business just like offline businesses, fail.
Either you fail immediately after you start or you fail down the line. But sooner or later you will fail if you don't know what you're doing. This is why it's really important to wrap your mind around the single most common mistake online marketers make.
If you are thinking of trying your hand at niche marketing, you cannot screw this up. What I'm talking about is niche analysis. Focus on that term for a second. Analyze your niche thoroughly.
You have to have a system for telling niches apart and figuring out which niche you should build your business on. If you do not have such a system or you're completely clueless about the need for such a system, I'm sorry to report but your chances of failing are quite high.
You have to remember that if you pick the wrong niche, you might find out that there's not much demand for it. Even if there is demand, there might be so much competition out there that it's not worth doing.
Even if you find a niche that has low computation and high demand, it still may not be worth your time because there should be no money to be made in it. It has such low commercial value that it's not worth your time and effort.
There's just so many things that could go wrong, there are at least 5 factors you need to pay attention to. If you truly want to maximize your chance with success, then you need to pay attention to additional factors. To learn about these factors, click here.
While branding has always been a complex field, paradigm shifts in technology and consumer behaviour have presented some modern challenges. The same rules that worked in the 90’s for Blockbusters, Lehman Brothers and Yahoo are not working today.
Marty Neumeier wrote in the ‘The Brand Gap’ that brands can lead through innovation, differentiation, collaboration, validation and cultivation. While these elements are still critical, they need to be grounded with a brand development system that is geared towards the digital age.
At our Digital Agency’s office in Farringdon, London, Cyber-Duck allows users to ‘hack’ its logo to create a new dimension of engagementWHAT’S CHANGED
In today’s world, you don’t decide what your brand is, your customer does. Brands’ values, personality and promise can sway customers to purchase again and again… even sharing with others, so generating a ‘tribe like loyalty’ is now the aspiration of any branding professional.
The digital age, social media revolution and the wide range of subsequent technologies have made Einstein’s statement that ‘technology is exceeding humanity’ extremely pertinent. Today’s consumers interact differently with content, jumping from one channel to yet another new or improved channel and critically have easy access to endless choices of information sources through many types of gadgets. A digitised world has eroded traditional forms of consumer loyalty, making it easier than ever for users to shop around.
This in turn has made the field of psychology and Aristotle’s elements of persuasion ever more relevant to organisational communication and design strategies. Successful persuasion according to Aristotle must provide (1) the right amount of information and (2) convey credibility through trust. The differentiating factor and the one that organisations struggle with is (3) sparking emotional responses and alluring our imagination. The challenge for most organisations is that persuasion can take years and sometimes even decades to contrive which is why it is so important to bake it into the heart of a compelling brand.
BUILDING A COMPELLING BRAND
To develop a compelling brand system for 2020 and beyond, three pillars are needed: Personality, Behaviour and Communication.
The system needs to include Marty Neumeier’s facets of innovation, differentiation, collaboration, validation and cultivation. The facets should be interjected into the framework of these three pillars to aid in building a unique mission, strong narrative and a forward thinking marketing strategy. Doing this well not only protects brand loyalty in the digital age, but can even enable small, disruptive brands to cost-effectively hack their way to success.
Customers no longer buy brands, they join brands. And for them to do this, the brand needs an organising thought and a promise behind its existence. This thought and promise needs to be lived and breathed through every department, starting with marketing, all the way to production, operations, customer service, finance, HR and legal. Google is known for many things but if you ask someone for one thought or word that describes Google they will generally say: ‘search’. Google succeeded with search because of its brand promise which is to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” — this was their mantra from day one. Successful brands are generally known for one thing and when they do that thing well, they can enter new territories similar to Google with Gmail. In order to create a successful brand personality from the outset the brand must have an ambitious vision that everyone believes in.
The brand essence and underlying thought can be summed up as the one or two words you need to describe the brand — it’s central to the brand’s differentiation. Mini cars are ‘fun’, Innocent drinks are ‘healthy’ (although that’s now debatable) and AirBNB with its evocative “live there” tag line is ‘homely’. In the words of Brad Garlinghouse, a former Yahoo! executive, “if you’re everything, your kind of nothing”. Ironically, this lack of essence and focus was precisely Yahoo!’s demise. By 2001 Yahoo! had over 400 products, including an astrology hotline costing $15 a minute to call. It dabbled its toes in information, media, technology and entertainment with a lack of focus that resulted in an identity crisis.
An ambitious vision must underpin a brand’s essence — outlining what the brand really aspires to. When a company knows what it stands for (underlying thought) and where it is going (vision), it can focus its people and resources, enabling business units to run independently, while maintaining brand integrity. The most powerful example of a vision in recent history was in the space race, in which the USA relied on one ambitious statement to set the vision. John F Kennedy had originally wanted to go to Mars but engineers had to tell him it was just a “little bit too far”. Even when they settled on the moon, they didn’t have the know-how to get there — just a leader with a vision, determination and courage. By publicly stating their vision and earmarking a specific time period to achieve it President Kennedy gave America no way out. And to really succeed, brands should set their own ambitious ’space missions’ as part of developing their personality.
Great brands have an overarching narrative that users can identify with, and will want to share. This is the art of storytelling — building a framework that lets customers create their own narratives. As a result, the brand is more memorable, the consumer’s bond with it is strengthened and consumers are more likely to talk about the brand. When you buy a new Mini you’re given a ‘Mini Passport’ that looks like a person’s passport. In it, consumers are encouraged to affix a photo of their Mini, and name things like the Mini’s favourite stretch of road. This narrative encourages users to personify their Mini’s and I wouldn’t be surprised if, as a consequence, more Mini owners have named their cars, than any other brand of car.
Another great example is The Mast brothers — the poster boys for hipster gourmet chocolate. The brothers have an obsession with crafting chocolate and have crafted clever stories to create a narrative around their mission. Initially they claimed to make every bar themselves and also said “We’re from the 18th century, back when craftspeople were revered and took pride in working with their hands.” The Brothers said that they travel around the world by wooden sailboat to find the best cacao possible. Their narrative planted the seed in the consumer’s head, enabling consumers to build their own extended versions of the story.
This is the second pillar of the brand system: A brand’s behaviour is how it interacts with consumers, or rather the user experience of interacting with the brand through different types of interfaces or mediums. Modern, successful organisations need to create experiences around user needs and desires while removing obstacles through process changes, technological advances and integrative innovation. Failing to do so can have catastrophic results, as we saw in the demise of high-street retailer Blockbusters. The company failed to focus on user experience or innovate as the digital world transformed user expectations and video consumption behaviours.
Socrates said that without friendship there is no value in communication between people — the same is true of brands.
If you don’t care about your consumers there’ll be much less value in what you communicate with them.
User centricity is no longer confined to the realms of websites. It covers your offline service, the usability of your product or service and in fact touches every department of your company. Whether it’s a decision to add live chat support to your website (or even a social connected bot), offer free product returns, or provide wrap-around services, it’s all about keeping the consumer at front of mind in every business decision. Google sum this up nicely in their list of 10 things they believe — toping the chart at number 1 spot is “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”
Some nice examples of user centricity are Nespresso’s capsule brigade, which enables users (in the USA) to re-cycle their used capsules free of charge, or the Fiat 500 USB port, enabling you to download and analyse data on what type of driver you are.
Building habitual experiences
At its best, user centricity can result in habitual experiences where consumers come back, time and again, out of habit. Based on Nir Eyal’s Hook Model, this nirvana of the user centricity field, means the brand’s products or services have become sub-consciously ingrained in consumers’ daily routines. For instance, reaching for our iPhones to read WhatsApp when bored in the morning commute is a habit.
Our brains store these actions as procedural routines, so that internal and external triggers will generate future user action and provide them with rewards that keep them hooked. This kind of habitual interaction gives brand an enormous competitive advantage by making it much harder for competitors to steal users away. If the user’s rewards are also variable (i.e. sometimes there, sometimes not) the habit strengthens. For example, LinkedIn’s ‘how I rank for profile views’ feature can be quite addictive, providing ‘hooked’ users with the incentive they need to ‘invest’ in the brand (e.g. by inviting friends to join and uploading personal data).
Often user centricity requires brands to not just communicate differently with consumers, but to re-invest processes; forming new, better types of behaviours.
Virgin America reinvented the flight booking user experience from the ground up by creating a system focused on interactivity. The conventional user journey of having multiple screens for each part of the booking process was abolished in favour of a single screen. The key interactions, from selecting a destination, picking dates and choosing the type of seats are now presented via a single-page application (SPA) stripping out advertising. This ‘app like experience’ on a website required a reinvention of the visual language. The result is a web app that enables users to book flights at almost double the speed, across all devices.
In today’s interconnected world, another core element of a brand’s behaviour is integrative innovation. This sounds complex but it’s actually akin to someone going to a party and interacting openly with lots of different groups of people, versus someone who only interacts with their close friends. The downfall of brands like AOL, with a walled garden approach, coincided with values of openness and interconnectivity becoming mainstream.
Successful brands today need to behave in an open manner, interconnecting with third party touchpoints and weaving other brand platforms into the user experience. Interconnectivity also enables them to grow much faster.
Take for instance, the B2B instant messaging tool, Slack. It is the fastest growing B2B company in history, valued at $3.8bn. This is partly due to its personality and essence of efficiently but also largely due to its integrative, search friendly, channel enabled behaviour that makes it synchronise and easily integrate with a wide variety of apps and services (through APIs) that add complimentary value for its users.
Communication has always played a central role in brand building, but that role has now changed.
Communication is no longer one dimensional, but across multiple channels, and dialogue has replaced what previously was a branding monologue.
Some of the strongest brands have experimented with various channels, to see which combination works best for them. Nespresso, for instance, had been around for years but made a real breakthrough when they got their machines on first class and business class airlines. They also found that videos demonstrating how easy their machines were to use, really boosted sales, and in-store tasters resulted in a 6-fold increase in sales.
Furthermore, the growth of TED talks has been exponential since 2006 when their founder, Chris Anderson decided to make the talks (that cost approximately $5,000 to attend in person) more universally available to all via the web and social channels.
To make the most of a multi-channel world, successful brands put social connectivity at the heart of their communication, transforming multi-channel into omni-channel where there is a consistent user experience across channels, and communications are merely optimised for each touch point.
For instance, many successful brands by-pass a registration process and benefit from a seamless ‘single sign-on’ that also connects them to another brand. American Express users can now easily spend their points on Amazon without users having to do anything besides an initial ‘link-up’ and TED users can use their Facebook or Twitter login details to easily access their TED video lists when they move from one device to another one. In this way brands are developing a ubiquitous presence across channels and linking to their consumers’ ‘real world’.
Social connectivity allows brands to tap into the consumers’ wider network of friends and colleagues, offering enormous opportunities for growth hacking that has enabled disruptive brands to break through the noise and make a phenomenal impact, without needing substantial advertising budgets.
Some innovative brands have taken shareability a step further by merging the digital and physical user experience across channels through a new type of interactivity. Warby Parker, an eyewear shop, doesn’t consider social media as part of their marketing department but an integral channel that is ‘baked-into’ the customer experience. Users can order free samples of glasses from the website through their ‘Home Try-on’ service. Once they receive the physical samples, the user can upload selfies of themselves wearing the glasses to social media channels and get expert fashion opinions and live commentary from sales staff about which frame suits them better. Of course their friends on social media can also offer feedback, further sharing the brand’s messages. It’s not surprising therefore that in their first year of trading they hit their yearly revenue targets in 3 weeks with GQ Magazine calling Warby Parker ‘the Netflix of Eyewear’.
Dialogue replacing monologue
The growing number of user generated, online reviews has further supported this trend away from an advertising monologue and into a dialogue with consumers. Many brands now also offer live chat through WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter blurring the line between customer services, marketing, social media and business communication. The Dutch airline KLM has been trialling WhatsApp for frequent flyer communication.
Products marketing brands
Another innovative brand communication tool is creating products or infrastructure (be it physical or digital) that do the job of marketing the brand.
These aren’t the brand’s core products, but a sidestep created solely for branding purposes, offering yet another strong growth hacking opportunity.
In the early noughties, Guinness were losing 3% of their market share in Ireland and they realised they needed to engage millennials with their brand through a more tangible mechanism. They came up with the concept of renovating a warehouse plant, transforming it into a musical, theatrical and cultural centre. The Storehouse topped Trinity College in its inaugural year as one the top tourist destinations in Ireland. The launch event attracted some 4,000 people, featured a cast of 20 performers. Since that time the Storehouse has continued to re-evaluate Guinness’s brand experience.
Similarly, TED created TEDx, where institutions, such as universities, can add their own local talks, following TED guidelines that provided any new TEDx organiser a blue print guide to running a successful event. In doing so they managed to cultivate their brand and reach a further 123 countries adding tens of thousands of talks.
Finally, my company Cyber-Duck, produced a logo window display at our Farringdon office that connects to the internet allowing visitors to change the colours of our logo using a web app.
While just a fun gimmick, it has generated significant engagement with our brand, while showcasing our digital capabilities.
Whether you consider branding an art or a science, the rules of the game have changed. The digital age has brought with it almost infinite consumer choice, resulting in an erosion of loyalty and price wars.
Attracting and retaining your customer base, while protecting price points, is only now possible when brands create a tribe like following; inspiring consumer imaginations with their personality and narrative, behaving in an entirely customer-centric manner and interacting in a multi-channel dialogue with customers, through whichever medium they prefer. The pillars of personality, behaviour and communication provide some solid foundations for developing the brand systems of tomorrow.
Creative Design different visual communications for print, web, motion and video.
Engaging Ability to successfully launch, manage and measure campaigns to achieve business goals.
Teaching Skilled in teaching individuals about branding, marketing, entrepreneurship, martial arts & spirituality.
Strategy Able to formulate strategic plans for achieving ones goals whether they be personal or professional in nature.
Copy Writing Skilled in writing copy for companies, products, services or causes.
Brand Building Process A step-by-step process for your building brands from strategy to launch.
In today tutorial you’re going to discover how to define the core strategies for your premium brand. We will do this by going through four sections. Our discourse will take the form of my asking you questions and you providing the answers.
The questions will focus on five key components they are:
This is the first question a premium brand must answer, you can’t be a premium brand without premium customers so our goal here is define the trait of your premium customers. To create your profile make sure to answers these questions:
To be a premium brand you must be inspiring, got to have big dreams and ambitions, a grand vision or a cause that is worthy to die for. Premium brand can’t be meek or hesitant one must be bold and courageous.
How does it feel like to interact with our premium brand, here you must describe a feeling that you want to evoke when people interact with your brand. This will the core to your brand experience that your will refine later on.
Here we want to define the end result that our product and services will offer. You want define the goal or desire that your products or services will fulfill not the actual products or services themselves. A good example would be increase of knowledge or security.
What are the core principles or values that guide your choices and behavior, everyone is guides by beliefs or values. The goal is describe them here for your brand. This is internal audit, this answer must not come from the outside.