In businesses, niches are your bread and butter. Learn how to cater to them with longtail marketing.
Have you heard of longtail marketing?
That’s OK. Not many people have. They may have heard of longtail keywords, but not longtail marketing. Chances are you’ve heard on niche marketing. Niche marketing actually has its roots in longtail marketing theory.
Long tail marketing isn’t new. It’s actually been around for about 60 years, employed by renowned companies like Apple and Google with great success.
Keep reading to learn what longtail marketing is and how you can use it to gain a competitive advantage in your business.
What Is Longtail Marketing?
Longtail marketing has evolved from a theory about human behavior. George Zipf was a professor of linguistics at Harvard. How did a linguistics professor develop one of the foremost marketing theories?
He developed the principle of least effort, which was about how often people used the same words when speaking.
He ranked how people gravitated toward word usage and found that the most frequently used words were used twice as often as the next group of words.
It turns out that theory could be applied to just about anything-human behavior, psychology, web design, and retail sales, just to name a few things. It’s a little similar to the Pareto Principle-80% of the results come from 20% effort.
What you’ll see is a similar pattern. The most popular words and the greatest impact of effort will be at the crest of the curve while the longtail of the curve is reserved for less popular words.
In business, you’d think it would make sense to compete in the crest of the bell curve because that’s where the most opportunity lies.
Think again. Longtail marketing is about competing in the longtail of the curve. There’s less competition there, and there’s still enough demand to make a difference in your business.
Longtail Marketing Examples
Longtail marketing seems to go against reason, but it works for large companies every day. If you shop online, it’s very likely you have shopped on Amazon.
After viewing a product, you may have seen the recommended products section at the bottom of the product pages. That’s actually a form of longtail marketing.
Amazon knows that most people are going to its site for popular products, like a bestselling book. Consider the bestseller to be at the top of the curve. Based on what bestselling book you’re looking for, Amazon can present less popular books for you to purchase (longtail of the curve).
Longtail Marketing Is Kind of like Baseball
One way to think about longtail marketing is to use a baseball analogy. Most companies go for the home run. They want that one post that goes viral and brings thousands of views to their website. That one product that sells a million times over. They really want to have that one thing that will make all the difference, like hitting a grand-slam home run.
Longtail marketing isn’t about swinging for the fences every time you step to the plate. It’s about consistently getting a base hit with each swing.
Statistically speaking, who will be the more successful batter: the one with a batting percentage of .900 and no home runs or the one with a batting percentage of .195 with 20 home runs?
It’s the same thing in business. The business that consistently gets base hits and can do it on demand will out-compete the giant business that relies on home runs.
Doesn’t Longtail Marketing Have Something to Do with SEO?
You may already be familiar with longtail keywords in SEO. Longtail marketing and longtail keywords share the same concepts. Niche down a little bit to something in your industry that doesn’t have as much competition as a general search term.
For example, let’s take a look at the fitness industry. If you were to target the keyword fitness, you would be competing against every single fitness business-equipment suppliers, gyms, nutrition companies, and more. Most of these companies will be larger than yours. They’ll have brand recognition, and they’ll have a much larger competitive edge.
For a smaller company, there’s no real way to gain a foothold unless you invest millions of dollars in building your brand.
What’s a smaller company to do? Look at several niches to break into. For a fitness company, they can dominate in TRX training, kettlebell training, fitness training for beginners, or HIIT training.
If the fitness company dominates in its chosen niches, it can then expand out into more niches, slowly building a stronger business. But if the fitness company were to continue to try to compete against the big-box gyms, they’d feel like they were swimming upstream.
That will only leave you feeling frustrated and exhausted because the revenue needle isn’t moving at all.
How Can You Apply Longtail Marketing?
You can apply longtail marketing principles no matter what type of business you are.
If you’re primarily an online business, you can use longtail marketing in your keyword and SEO strategy to drive more traffic to your site. Instead of focusing on the broad keywords in your industry, come up with the top keyword searches that are 4-5 words long.
Restaurants can use longtail marketing, too. You can use longtail marketing to bring people who don’t consider themselves to be frequent diners to your restaurant. These people make up over half of all diners.
Your Business Can Thrive with Longtail Marketing
Longtail marketing is the secret sauce to growing your business. You have to be prepared to compete against all kinds of businesses, from the big conglomerates to the business next-door.
What longtail marketing allows you to do is slowly build your business by dominating the marketplace one strategically chosen niche at a time. It’s like niche marketing on steroids.