The one nightstand
The image that got 9 million hits and $0 sales

Catchy title right? The image was even better, garnering 9 million views worldwide. It was taken by an employee at a furniture trade show of the JTB Furniture company in Columbus, Mississippi. Do you know how many sales they got from that one amazing picture that went viral? $0! Can you think of why that might have happened? There is absolutely no information about who this company is in this picture. No url, no phone number, no company logo or even name.
This is a classic case of when visibility doesn’t convert to clients. Here are some marketing mistakes that explain why this might be happening:

Your business has no clear or defined niche

My client Gary owned a recruiting business. He had done numerous trade shows, speaking engagements and was a seasoned networker. He was frustrated because he didn’t seem to be getting many clients from all this investment of his time and money. When we niched him in finding engineers for the oil industry, suddenly he had a clear map as to what associations and conferences he should be speaking at as well as what meetings he should be networking at. Within half a year, he had met his annual target.

Your business has the wrong niche

I met Lola at a networking event. She was an event planner who wanted to start her own business. Her pet died and she felt such sorrow over the loss that she decided to organize a major Pet Event. After struggling to sell the idea to vendors and sponsors and to sell tickets, she lost $20,000 and went back to working for someone else. It turned out that basing your niche on your gut guesses and your passion was the wrong way to do business. There simply wasn’t enough market demand and interest in having a Pet Show in her city.

Not Enough Intelligence About Where Your Target Market Hangs Out

Terry had a leadership coaching business. She felt that her target market was not hanging out together. Even if they were, she didn’t know how to reach them. Once we redefined her niche into one specific industry (food manufacturers of less than 100 employees), we built her a marketing plan around the very simple premise of where food manufacturer owner operators gathered. We looked at what media they consumed, as well as joint ventured with their other vendors. Terry now knows exactly how and where to reach her key target. She even has a plan with specific events, dates and costs to combat the seasonality of typically slow seasons like summer and Christmas.

Wrong Messaging

When any type of visibility you have is based on you and your products or services, it is doomed to fail. All of your marketing messaging-from your elevator pitch to your website has to be an actual solution to your target client’s pain. For example, a client who helps small industrial manufacturing firms train their managers to become better decision makers, her url became problemsolvingleader.com. Similarly, when a client who niched in helping small businesses save on the tax they were paying, her url became businessdeductions.com.
If you dream of your brand going viral and getting 9 million hits, make sure you’ve covered your bases and avoid becoming a marketing cautionary tale like the One Nightstand guys.
Want to find out if the market needs you? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

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