Month: August 2018

Is The Long Tail Approach Right For You

Back in 2004, the Long Tail Theory was first published. It basically says that the internet has put an interesting twist on the Pareto Principle by making it much easier to service the 80% of the products that are not the top revenue earners for a company and that many companies like Amazon, Netflix, etc. have made a wonderful business out of them.

Having the hard to get stuff is what separated them from their brick and mortar cousins and helped grow their subscription rates…and most importantly, if the products are digital, the inventory is virtually free (just another song or movie taking up space on a hard drive somewhere, but not physically collecting dust). This last point is the most important…the Long tail is interesting, but it is also very challenging for physical products as holding inventory poses all kinds of challenges, but in the digital arena, it barely moves the needle in terms of cost to service.

In a long tail business it is more costly to bother evaluating whether something is a hit or not, so instead the best plan is just releasing all of it and letting the consumers sort them out, even letting the consumers vote them up or down to give them some say so in winners and losers. The long tail is really long due to unlimited selection, so there is a lot to be made all along that last part of the tail. Worth noting, trying to provide a niche service and just servicing the hot items or just the dogs has mostly been a recipe for disaster, but those that have serviced it all (Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, etc.) have done amazingly well…pick a niche but cover everything in that niche (although not sure Amazon is a niche business any more).

One big thing that has changed is the idea of a big ‘launch’, with press releases, and a big unveiling. It’s not as important anymore. Instead, plan on the gradual build that turns into a tidal wave. The fact is, the curve of money spent (big hump, then it tails off) is precisely backwards to what you actually want anyway…so roll with it, launch, build, build, build, success.

Is your business made for servicing the long tail? How can you take advantage? Or, maybe you still live in the physical world…Pareto still holds pretty true here…just know where you sit and plan accordingly.

Under Promise, Over Deliver

How many times have you been over-promised and under-delivered…it happens daily, so if you really want to create separation, be the exception!

Getting that first order is hard, you want to make sure that you give them a reason to come back for that second order as well. Even if your business sells big one and done items like a pool or a house, you still need those referrals. Maybe a follow up with a 10% discount as a thank you? Maybe a discount for a referral? Maybe give them a coupon to hand out to friends who need your services (winner for both of them!).

Make it impossible not to refer you because you more than did what you promised!

How To Create Separation…Build Your People Up

This was a really well written article from Carrier Management I found from the insurance industry on the need for creating separation from competition and how to go about it…the focus should be on building your people up!

I love the point he makes about not just telling an individual what procedures to perform, but to help them understand their role and their value to the company. His explanation of the CSR’s position and role in the company (in the last section titled…”Oh, I’m just a…”) as the customer’s first line of contact is fantastic…”Oh, so you’re about the most important person in the agency.”…well said!

B-to-B Blog Post Ideas

There are tons of posts on blog ideas for makeup, food, travel, gardening, lifestyle, books, etc, but how about B-to-B. I’m running 2 blogs and have only been doing this a little over a year, so I’m still learning, but here are some B-to-B blog ideas that seem to work well:

  • Help customers get the most from whatever you are promoting…that’s adding value! How-to’s, videos, step-by-step, webinars, complimentary products that work well with yours, etc. These are really good for B-to-B…either do some of the above yourself or help direct people to good content you know is already out there.
  • Current Trends: latch on to what’s hot. Sometimes pushing B-to-B is hard, associate yourself with something trending to make it more fun…Comic Con, a hot App, new Star Wars movie, etc. No idea what’s hot, just look on the left hand page of the Twitter home page for hot trends for the day and jump in
  • Similar to the above, use Annual or Weekly Events and relate them to your product or service: Elvis’ Birthday, St. Patty’s, #TacoTuesdays, etc…it’s endless. Sometimes it helps to map it out. It’s then easy to jump into the social media hype over that topic when that day hits…build out your content so you are ready ahead of time and then hit up social media when everybody’s eyes are watching your topic
  • Show how you failed: everybody wants to know they aren’t the only ones with struggles…these can be huge hits, even bigger than victories as showing someone what not to do is hugely helpful! Sometimes people also just like to hear somebody else is a bigger failure than they are… #FAILURE
  • Mentioned it above but review or mention complimentary and/or non-competitive products: reciprocal help for both of you to grow traffic…reach out and see if they will return the favor. All B-to-B marketers need help to get traffic, reach out and find a friend.

I’m still working at getting better at all of the above.

No matter what, focus on the quality of your content. Also, what do you want, just lots of traffic, specific customer traffic, or just to ramble? All are fine, but be relevant to the audience you are going after..

Help a brother out…What are your favorites?

Here are some other links with some great ideas as well:

 Five Post Ideas for Your Business Blogby Krista Stevens (@wordpress)

60 Blog Post Ideas For Entrepreneurs, Marketers, And Businesses (@bloggingwizard, @elnacain)