Alacrify Ltd

Long Tail Website Marketing - Practical Examples


4th November 2010

Long Tail Website Marketing - Practical Examples

One of the most helpful ideas in website marketing to have emerged over the past few years is the concept of the "Long Tail", as proposed by Chris Anderson in 2006. It says that in the world of the internet, the niche is King.

Mainstream products and companies will always be battling it out for the centre ground and the vast majority of popular opinion or sales, and will be relying on mass media advertising and huge marketing campaigns to out-do one another.

The Long Tail on the other hand acknowledges and celebrates the micro markets that exist around specialist interests and niche service offerings. The graph below shows the centre ground to the left, with high volumes of "standard" items, while the Long Tail that stretches off to the right represents the infinite number of specialist and unique items that may be on offer. These Long Tail offerings can be unique and are almost certainly in short supply.

The Long Tail

A good example is with books. Mainstream books, both fiction and non-fiction, would be in the left with lots of companies from Tesco to Waterstones to Amazon supplying them at highly competitive prices with lots of traditional print and tv advertising. On the right of the graph would be obscure, short print run books, or even those that are out of print that may be sold individually or in very small numbers for a higher price to a very small market.

What the internet has allowed us to do is to talk about and display these niche products for the same price as the mainstream ones. The cost of adding an additional product or service page to a website is practically nil. This means that so long as you have time to maintain the stock or services list you can sell and market to the infinite niche as much as you like.

The key to the success of these niche opportunities is Google and the other search engines. Their ability to accurately match niche search term with niche search page means that any niche marketing you may do on your site (adding in specialist pages) are likely to perform well in Google for that niche topic.

Recently we added the concept "scientific website design" to this site; maybe not an extreme niche as niches go, but much more specialist than "website design". Within a couple of days we had our first visit from someone who typed in "scientific website design" into Google.

Similarly we added a blog story about configuring a piece of web software called CKEditor. We've had about 30 visits to the site just from this story.

The distinguishing feature of this type of internet marketing is that the volume of visits will always be lower than for more broad and mainstream terms, but when all the niches are added together the Long Tail out performs the mainstream every time. Additionally the likely quality of visit to a niche page is likely to be much higher, both in terms of the quality of the sales lead and in terms of the visitor's experience of the site. They're immediately getting something specific that they are interested in, rather than a lot of general information.

If you're interested in discussing the Long Tail capability of your website or business on the internet then do get in touch. Phone Jon on 01305 753769 or email

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