“Don’t try to be all things to all people.” – I’m sure that’s a recommendation that you’ve heard before. It’s good advice. If you are trying to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of customers, you may end up being so generic that you’re not meeting the specific needs of any one target group. Focusing on (and thoroughly understanding) a specific niche target market enables you to develop an effective marketing message that will resonate with your target customer.
There are basically two ways to make money selling a product or service. You can either sell it cheaper than your competition or you can differentiate your business by offering something of value to your customers. If there is no difference in your product or service, people almost always base their buying decision on price. (No one wants to have to compete on price.)
Finding products to sell online can be fairly easy. There are countless vendors out there that are looking for people to sell their goods. Problem is that unless you find some way to differentiate yourself, odds are your website is going to get lost amongst thousands of others.
Chances are there are lots of people selling something similar to what you’re selling. Because (and let’s be honest here), if no one else is offering what you’re selling… you either have something totally unique or you may be offering something that there isn’t a demand for (not good). Competition is good. It means that people already know that they either need or want what you’re selling.
What TLD (top-level-domain) should you choose for your website? Should you use .COM, .BIZ, .US, .ORG, .NET?
If you’ve built a brand and people already know who you are, your most obvious choice for your domain name would be to register your brand name. Chances are high that name will not be available but if it is, you’re good to go. If you’re doing business in the USA, it’s pretty much expected for you to have a “.COM” top-level-domain. If someone has already registered the .COM version, I strongly suggest that you find another domain name and not settle for something like a .ORG or .BIZ. If you do that, visitors looking for you will most likely land on the website for your competition.
In part 1 of this series, I recommended that before you or your website designer begin designing your website, you understand who your target customer is. What type of a website will appeal to them? Should your site have a fun and creative feel or should it look trustworthy and serious? Are you working with an existing brand that you need to integrate your website into or do you have free creative license to design it completely from scratch? Whether you’re building your own site, working with a designer or you simply want to understand what constitutes good design for a website, here are some basic tips:
We’ve all seen poorly designed websites. Some are obviously do-it-yourself attempts and others are honest efforts by someone who’s dabbled in a little code. Still others are built using free website builders that are offered by website hosting companies or built using a website template.
Getting ready to launch your first website or redesigning an existing one? There’s a lot of planning that needs to be done before you start. First, you need to understand what you need a website for.
Whether you’re starting a new business or growing an existing one, you need to know who is going to buy your “stuff”. (Stuff can be a product or a service. It can be something uniquely yours or something you’re selling for someone else.) Who will buy it? Who is your target customer?
As you identify who your target customer is, think about how they will benefit from what you’re selling. Is your customer a consumer or a business? (If you think it’s both, you may want to concentrate on one or the other and then branch out later because they’re 2 different customers and you’ll need different strategies to reach them.) Bottom-line… it’s critical to your success to understand who your customers are and why they would want to buy from you (and not one of the thousands of other businesses on the web).
Whether you’re looking for a way to turn your junk into cash (eBay maybe), a market to sell your crafts (maybe Etsy), want to start your own business (possibly home-based ) or already own a small business …. you’re in the same boat as a lot of other people. Many people seem to be looking for ways to raise a little cash these days. Some of us want to be our own boss and control our own destiny. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.
So, where do you start? Most business advisers will tell you to find something that you love or are knowledgeable about. (OK….. I love cats but how am I going to make money at that?) They also stress that you need to find an unfulfilled niche – something that you can offer that’s needed or wanted and ideally something that isn’t easy to get. If the niche you choose revolves around a product or service that’s abundant, you’re bound to end up competing on price. (Trust me, you don’t want to end up having to compete on price.)