How To Diversify Your Internet Marketing Business
This article will share the process of identifying, testing and launching new verticals along with how to use your existing business as leverage to greatly improve the chance of success.
How to Identify a Potential Vertical
Identification of a potential vertical is the first step when truly beginning to see if there is an opportunity of leverage. Verticals are present in every business but are only noticed under a keen eye or fresh insight from community members. Verticals come in many sizes, opportunities and potential for growth.
As a set of examples go, here are a few options:
- Offer a product that correlates to your existing offering such as an upgrade or ‘premium level’
- Create a higher tiered support option for those that choose to buy a larger product package
These types of verticals can be applied to nearly any existing business model with the right set of tweaks. In many ways, you can think of it as a ‘Microsoft’ model where they offer multiple options of their operating systems that each have different features depending on the type of customer purchasing the product.
Now that you understand what type of vertical to seek, here are a few ways you can identify them:
- Pay special attention to common problems or inquires from existing customers about your products or services. People that have problems may actually be a new market.
- Read and record community comments on your blog and social networks. People that are willing to express their ideas are goldmines for new vertical offerings for your affiliate business.
- Ask employees for their own input about your product offerings or let them have exclusive time for creative control; this time is perfect for problem solving and playing with the business model which may reveal new opportunities.
The techniques for extracting new verticals or leverage have many different approaches but the best way is to keep an open mind and build a flexible business that can expand as time passes.
A Real-World Example of Vertical Leverage
Let’s hark back to the Microsoft example of releasing multiple instances of their operating system, Windows.
Microsoft has seen that there are niche markets within their customer base because, after all, not every customer needs every available feature where as some may actually need way beyond the basics of the general consumer base (hence the heavy emphasis on enterprise level versions of Windows).
As a general example, Microsoft has pushed a few of the following versions (verticals) with their most recent release of Windows:
- Windows 7 Home Premium
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows 7 Ultimate
The example is to show that there are segments already existent in your customer base but only if you take the time to seek out each group.
Once a vertical has been discovered – it can be truly leveraged into a new revenue stream.
The Science behind Leveraging Verticals
The options are endless when it comes to promotion of new offerings but one vital element that many businesses should never skip is the testing process.
This moment your business history should be dedicated to testing out the new vertical within a small segment of your customer base to see the positive or negative reception; however, a positive reaction may not necessarily mean you have a successful offering on your hands.
Testing should be used to reveal a multitude of vertical elements such as:
- How much an audience is willing to pay for a product
- The simplicity of adding a new offering to the existing product base
- The reception of the vertical within a hungry buyer’s market
- The feedback of the general consensus and marketplace
There’s no shame if a vertical does not properly pan out as planned which is why it’s very important to do small scale tests before a very large product launch. New products define a brand and the release of something off-setting to the existing community may alienate the early adopters of your brand.
Let’s look at an example that can be used in an affiliate business:
Affiliate Company has many different products ranging from freelance services to eBooks for their customers but they want to expand. One option for Affiliate Company is to begin offering services for their freelance services that go hand-in-hand with common problems that customers may face after utilizing your services. Likewise, eBooks can easily become new mediums such as video and audio productions for those that rather consume information in different formats to their leisure.
Affiliate marketing can benefit from leveraging verticals, as well. A large market will always have multiple players with a multitude of product offerings. Your business could find different tiered options for every type of visitor to your website so you’re no longer only offering resources to those stuck to a fixed budget.
An example of this would be if you offered a $37 eBook that taught people how to exercise properly. A new vertical could be a $397 affiliate video course.
The options are truly endless when you’re in the right mindset.
A Step-by-Step Process of the Leverage Process
So now that we finally understand what and how a vertical can be discovered and properly used – it’s time to take a look at an actual process that can be used when integrating it into your business model.
The following is a set of steps that this writer would use in their own business:
- Discover a new vertical after much research and feedback from the community; try to sell a few copies of the new product even before actually creating the offering which, in turn, signifies that the opportunity is worth pursuing.
- Run a few test copies around brand ambassadors, high profile bloggers, long-term customers an business associates. Use the direct feedback from the best community members to tweak and optimize the vertical. Also, track and record testimonials which can be used as trust reinforcement during the launch process.
- Create buzz about a new vertical that will be offered through your business by reaching out to email lists, guest posting on relevant blogs, directly contacting existing customers, tuning into social media an enticing high profile individuals to openly talk about the vertical.
- Launch the product with full force by leveraging existing customer lists, social media, and endorsements of trust agents, discounts, press releases, advertising and any other option that gets the word out.
- Keep the momentum rolling by creating on-the-fly testimonials and case studies about individuals that are early adopters of the product. Share a discount with proven buyers to further leverage the community and offer a platform for them to discuss and buzz about the launch.
Of course, the process includes a lot more technical know-how along with heavy amounts of work but the opportunity is there and is definitely worth the taking.
Final Thoughts and Suggestions
There are verticals in every business model when you have the right mindset; it’s really only your drive to discover them and place them into action that restricts your ability to leverage them.
The examples and guides in this article should give you a firm understanding of identifying, testing and launching verticals. See if your business has these opportunities and leverage them to your full potential to create an ever growing revenue stream.