With everyone jumping on the bandwagon of niche marketing, finding the topics folks are most interested in BEFORE the rest of the world knows it is key. Matt McGee over at Small Business SEM points out what many social media marketers are already learning. Green (environmentally friendly) is the new black.
Matt's post shows the increased interest in the phrase "go green" over the last year with charts from Google Trends. He goes on to offer a few example of how to leverage this market for your business.
I'd add to his post by pointing out that the green community is a great example of a growing niche as well. The popular eco-friendly site Tree Hugger has launched a green social bookmarking site called Hugg that's a great outlet for anyone looking to promote eco-friendly content.
When I teach about viral marketing and blogging, I often point out that marketers should watch the news for new trends or popular topics they can capitalize on. Keeping an eye on things like Google Trends and the most popular topics on Technorati can be a great way to see these points of interest popping up. Following the conversation backward can help you identify leading blogs, points of interest and points of contention and can basically set you up with some wonderful data for forming a campaign of your own.
That said, I'd issue the obvious warning that you shouldn't try to play in these spaces if your news or offerings are not legitimate. As Matt points out:
If you run a service-oriented business ... well ... I'm not sure how many people will care that you just switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs, but they might care if you do that, and make your fleet of service trucks eco-friendly, and get your employees involved in an outdoor cleanup/community service-type event.
If you want to be taken seriously (and not flamed massively) you need to put some serious effort into these niche pitches. Of course sometimes, it's in how you present it.
I think about my local church (about a 600 person congregation) and the fact that they've just added recycling bins at the back of the church and are encouraging people to deposit their bulletins there on the way out. While that may not seem like a big step worthy of promotion, consider this.
600 bulletins a week times 52 weeks a year equals 31,200 bulletins. Let's say they weigh about an ounce a piece (they're pretty good size). That's almost a full ton of paper each year being recycled instead of sent to a landfill. Now let's say the church got together with the rest of the churches in my village and helped encourage them to do the same. While my village is tiny (about 3500 people) we have a ton of churches serving the surrounding area. Get enough churches involved and you may be able to kick that number up to 10 tons a year.
Let's say they continue in this line of thinking and install compact fluorescent bulbs in every light socket in every church in the area. Then let's say that the largest churches have recycling drop off bins for the community placed in their parking lots. Suddenly, you've got a program worth promoting in the local news and on some green communities online.
See how this works?
This idea really isn't that far off from the point I made last week about watching for your competitors to stumble and capitalizing on their mistakes. It's really about learning to look beyond your office walls to find creative ways to present your product and your services. That's what good marketing and good link building is all about.
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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