Strategic Marketing For The Mainstream Audience

Practical tips for online marketing outside of marketing circles.

Many online marketers are so successful with selling programs and MLMs to other internet marketers that they build whole careers out of this. Trouble is, they never actually sell to the mainstream audience, other than to sell those programs. In fact, when new marketers begin working online, it’s easy for them to start thinking online marketing is “all a scam” simply because most of the marketing and marketing tools are so focused on marketing programs– and there’s very little advice on actually marketing a regular product to the mainstream audience.

In a way, mainstream marketing could be compared to “niche marketing” and it does share some of the same characteristics. However, the key difference is defining the audience. By definition, a niche is a small pocket or group of potential customers. But product sales are often too broadly based to fit into any one niche. But there ARE several effective ways to market to the mainstrain that are neither costly nor time-consuming.

First, to get started, there are a few important steps to take.

The first and most important thing for a marketer to do when promoting a product is to forget 90% of their usual marketing strategies and think, “outside the bun.” Forget traffic exchanges and safelists almost entirely because, while they are good for promoting opportunities (or the affiliate side of a product), the fact is, that particular audience is not as interested in actual goods. And, as any marketer knows, success is a matter of bringing the product to its audience.

While it could be argued that, “marketers are people, too” the fact is, their mindset while working is not on personal interests. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has ever tried to sell craft items at a garage sale– different market, plain and simple. Even though it’s the same people, their thinking and expectations are just different.

While other types of standard marketing can be used they must be modified in order to effectively market a product. These include forum marketing, article marketing and, to some degree, opt-in email marketing. Plus, there are quite a few practical online locations that can prove very effective, when used correctly. These are discussed in more detail below.

Common sense tells us to put our product before its most likely audience. So the next step is to define that audience in real terms. For instance, if your product is aromatic candles, it is less effective to sell them on a generic site than on a site for home improvements or home design or just about any site directly related to women’s issues (no offense ladies, but you are the most frequent purchasers of this product). On those sites, the aromatic candles will sky-rocket.

Or, suppose the product is audio books. In a case like this, the fact that this is a broad-spectrum product with mass appeal may actually work against the promoter– because it’s too general. So, to offset this, rather than promoting the whole audio books site, find two or three audio book titles that will suit a given forum or site perfectly– and just promote those at that site. Then, through that, customers will learn of the entire site and all the titles offered.

As mentioned above, finding the right audience is crucial. To do that, defining the audience is the next very important step. The best way is to think of who is most likely to purchase that product. As with our aromatic candles example, the obvious focus is anything related to women, home design and decorating, since these are the basic characteristics of the product.

So begin by thinking of who would be most likely to use the product.

But some products’ audiences are not as easy to define. As with the audio books, they are so broad, that it becomes a matter of needing to create a niche. But, from another perspective, being that broad, one could adapt the product to a marketer’s own taste.

For instance, if a given marketer is involved with horses and, when they’re not marketing, they spend a great deal of time on horse forums and at various horse-related sites, then by focusing on horse-related audio books and putting together a group of links to those books, this would create a focus-product for that niche.

By understanding the audience for a given product, the final step is simply a matter of bringing them together.

A. Article Marketing
For instance, with our aromatic candles writing an article about using the perfect knick-knacks or about how lighting or aroma can affect a mood would be a great way to promote it. With our broad-spectrum products, audio books, promoting them either on audio sites, download sites or, by focusing on one genre of audio book (for instance, our horse books), one could write an article about horse care or riding lessons… and put a link to a special page with all types of horse- and equestrian-related audio books.

There are quite a few specialty newsletters on the internet. In fact, there is one for just about any particular interest. Should there NOT be a newsletter for a particular article/product, then that’s a perfect reason to create one. Just remember to offer real content on the topic and, voila`!

B. Solo Ads
Another great way to promote a product on a newsletter is by buying solo ad space. Many offer space for a fee, just like an offline newspaper. And, of course, when creating an original newsletter, the extra effort is off-set with free solo advertising.

C. Effective Blogging
For marketers that don’t have their own site, a blog is the perfect solution. But, again, the blog should be about an interest that will encourage others to go there– NOT about the product itself. (Remember? Forget you’re a marketer!) And, while visitors are browsing the site, it just so happens that there are 12 links to various products in the side column, all conveniently related to the blog topic. (Google’s Adsense has been getting us to do this for years… it’s time we did this for ourselves.)

D. MySpace
Another way to promote products is by joining “MySpace” or one of its clones. But, again, it is better NOT to make the space ABOUT the product, rather about an interest that others who would buy the product share. (For anyone unaware of Myspace, it is a sort of a ultra inter-active blog. Originally created by and for the music industry to help new artists promote their work, teenagers were the first to discover and utilize it. In the last 2+ years since its inception it has mushroomed into a kind of “catch-all” for any type of networking.) Myspace members can create blogs, their own groups, forums, etc., all of which can be focused on just about any given topic.

E. Craig’s List
This is an especially nifty concept (not yet purchased by Google, at least, at the time of this writing), because it’s so simple. It is a very localized, specific free classified ad system. But it’s having a huge impact on marketing, especially product-based items.

F. Offline Marketing
Marketing a product offline is sometimes easier than it is online. NOT that one would pre-buy the product and then try to re-sell it (although some programs actually function like this). Recognising this, many product-based-programs create downloadable/printable media and advice for sales in such places as : work, friends, via school fund-raisers, charity events, flea markets, etc.

Most products are viable in all these areas. In the case of something that is exclusive to the internet, such as the audio books, simple flyers and business cards, all promoting the site can be strategically placed anywhere that people would wait — everything from laudromats to doctor’s offices (asking permission, of course).

There really are plenty of ways to promote a product to the mainstream. The trick is to do it, after spending so much time learning to think like a marketer, remembering what it’s like to think like a regular end-user again.–mo