online marketing bullseyeWhen most of us play darts, we usually focus on hitting the bulls-eye. But when you seriously play a game of darts, you find out that there’s actually more to it than that. In some dart games, in order to win, you’ll have to target other areas of the board. In a dart game called cricket, you actually want to “own” certain parts of the board in order to win.

With online marketing, we’re often taught that to get the most ROI you have to target potential customers. You have to spend most of your time and effort into marketing to a specific group of people in order to maximize marketing efforts and get the most conversion.

Basically, it’s like always targeting the bull’s eye on a dartboard. It makes sense, it looks good, and in most cases, it’s the way to win. Focus all your efforts on your target market, convert as many people as possible in that demographic and you basically win.

But conversion and market dominance are not as straightforward as hitting the bull’s eye. What most online marketers forget to take into account is that target groups are often influenced by other groups that can affect their decision to buy. Or that by simply tweaking your message you can expand your target demographic and sell the same product to a completely different market.[Tweet “When most of us play darts, we usually focus on hitting the bulls-eye. But when you seriously play a game of darts, you find out that there’s actually more to it than that.”]

With the rise of social media and consumer-driven marketing, now more than ever do we see the value of diversified targeting. In keeping with the darts analogy, it’s not about going for it with your eyes closed hoping that some of your darts hit high scoring areas. It’s about studying and making strategic moves for the entire campaign. Looking for small targets all over the board that can give you a high score and prevent your opponents from gaining ground in a limited market.

We see this every day when we turn on the TV and see a commercial. We see celebrities endorsing products we know they probably don’t use, but we buy them anyway because of the influence they have on us. Examples for this would be like when we see female celebrities with naturally fair skin endorsing whitening products. Or single celebrities endorsing products to married couples. Action stars starring in family movies and used to sell toys and snack foods to kids.

This is still evident even when we buy and use products based on product reviews and the recommendations of friends and family. Our commonalities to the people with know and interact with on a regular basis does give more weight to their opinions on the products that we want to buy.  But they also are influenced by individuals who may or may not be within our network of connections. They may be influenced by people we have absolutely nothing in common with, people who may not be within the target demographic. But by targeting these influential groups, you’re able to achieve a broader reach by taking advantage of their extended networks.

Bald Spots, The Hunger Games, and Freezing Cold Water

In order to cover all the bases with online marketing, you’ll need a diversified strategy that covers your target group primarily and also your influence groups.  Following the dart analogy, marketing to influence groups isn’t about blindly throwing your darts blindly on the board in the hope one of them sticks. You don’t have a captive market like in the “Hunger Games” where the Capitol controls the media for all 12 Districts. Marketing to all groups just for the sake of marketing is going to cost you a lot of time and money.

You have to find these influence groups by studying the demographic of your target market and its possible relationships with other market groups.  When you do that, you’re able to maximize your online marketing efforts without expending too much extra effort or resources.

Let’s say you’re targeting a market of men in their 30s to 50s and you have a shampoo that stops hair loss and promotes new hair growth. They’re a great market because most of them would be employed and would have a significant amount of spending power. A significant portion of these men would also be married or in a relationship, which means that even though they do bring home the bacon, someone else maybe holding on to the purse strings. That someone would have a bigger influence on what products they should use to improve their appearance.

So while it makes a lot of sense to go after balding middle aged men going through a midlife crisis who want to recapture their youth back through their looks, you may also want to also look into their wives and girlfriends who want their men to look a little better the next time they attend a dinner party.

Diversified online marketing isn’t just about making a person want to buy; it’s getting that person to buy because he’s got a thumbs-up from the people around him to do so. Your customer gets gratification from his purchase and the approval of his peers.[Tweet “Diversified online marketing isn’t just about making a person want to buy; it’s getting that person to buy because he’s got a thumbs-up from the people around him to do so.”]

The best example for this is the ALS ice bucket challenge. Normally, non-profit campaigns like this are directed to people who are in varying degrees connected to the cause. But with the ALS bucket challenge, we see people from all walks of life willing submitting themselves to water torture and lose their money and for what?

I can bet you that a lot of them have probably never heard of ALS before the ice bucket challenge. But when you look at the scope and the reach of that campaign, it went viral. It went beyond everyone expectations. Why? Because everyone loves to brag about how good they are and get approval for it. It’s a good cause that preys on bad human traits like envy and pride. Plus it helped that the campaign itself was beautifully designed. So by targetting the usual market (ALS celebrity advocates) plus a few influential groups outside their usual scope (YouTube celebrities who thrive on challenges, celebritie who do anything for attention, pranksters etc)  and the campaign spread like wildfire

Every online marketer will know how to sell to your market. But online business consultants will also know how to find what groups influence your target market, how to approach these influence groups, and find ways to expand your market base.  Just imagine the potential of having this done for your business.