The phrase, “The Long Tail” was first mentioned by Chris Anderson in 2004. Chris was the executive editor of Wired magazine. At that time, he was writing about an important aspect of internet niche marketing, one that Amazon.com used to become the most successful online bookseller.
If you plot a line on the graph to show book sales, from the number one bestseller to titles that have sold just a single volume, what you will have is a very long descending line. It is the long descending line that is referred to as the “long tale”. This kind of line can be plotted for any market, not just books.
Although Amazon dominates a huge number of relatively narrow online niche market sectors all along the long tail of book sales, that does not mean that Amazon has a monopoly or that there is no opportunity for anybody else to build a successful business of their own using long tail keywords that are targeted at just one or two niche markets. Simply by learning to dominate one or two well-chosen niches, you will be able to establish yourself in a very comfortable position for doing business on the Internet.
When someone is new to internet marketing, they should not attempt to compete with the big companies at the top of the tail where the competition is very strong. Instead, focus on an online market niche that is lower down and you will stand a much better chance of dominating it.
So, how exactly should an Internet marketing newbie go about finding a niche and dominating it?
Firstly, find something which you are interested in. Then narrow it down to specifics. A sharp focus is vital for successful niche marketing. You are aiming to find a specific niche that is both small enough for you to stand a good chance of dominating, but large enough for you to be able to make enough money out of as the leading expert in the field.
Let’s suppose that are an avid fisherman. “Fishing” is a huge niche so you need to be more specific. Now “fly fishing” is an improvement but you still need to narrow it down to something more specific such as “fly fishing equipment”. This would be your primary niche. The name of your website will preferably be the same as your keyword phrase i.e., flyfishingequipment.com or fly-fishing-equipment.com.
Using your online niche market site to set yourself up as a fly fishing equipment supplier might be a viable idea if you have time to deal with wholesale buying, packing and shipping and enquiries.
The big drawback with this business model is that there is only a finite amount of goods that you can turnaround in a given time, so you will either have to stay small (which you can do by choosing a tighter niche) or hire staff to meet growing demand.
Another option would be to make your own information product. With this you will have to do a lot of research and writing before you see a return. However, once you have your information product up on your site you can sell it as often as you like without needing to handle stock or take on employees.
You may also want to find some relevant affiliate programs to promote in order to generate extra revenue on the back end. You will need to market your website so that you rank well for the keyword phrase, “fly fishing equipment”. Again, you are not attempting to compete with the big boys or trying to sell to the entire world. Your aim is simply to attract a few hundred people to your online niche market site each week and work on turning them into loyal customers.

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