By Brian Edmondson

Alan went fishing – the streams and rivers had just been stocked with trout and he was looking forward to catching some nice fish.

He was completely ready with the right equipment. Alan had the perfect rod and reel. The perfect lure and the perfect wading boots… but he wasn’t catching any trout.

He couldn’t figure out what was going on. Finally Alan gave up. He got out of the water and as he was walking back to his car he noticed a guy cleaning his catch for the day. This gentleman had 5 trout waiting to be cleaned and one in his hand.

So Alan stopped and asked what this guy was doing. He wanted to find out if he had missed something. The gentleman told him what equipment he was using and it was the exact same as Alan’s. The only difference was where he was fishing.

Since this guy was done for the day, Alan asked where his fishing hole was. The gentleman told him and Alan decided to give it one more shot. So he went to the same place and started getting bites.

So what does this have to do with you and marketing your business online?

To get results you’ve got to fish where the fish are biting

Alan didn’t get results from buying some new, fancy equipment. He got results from going where the fish were biting. And the same rule applies to connecting with your customers online.

It’s not the tools and gizmos you buy (although tools can be very helpful in business). It’s about knowing who your target audience is and making sure that you are connecting with them.

Here’s how to do that:

1.  Identify your target market

Some people know this instinctively – if you are selling diapers than your target market is parents with children under 3 years old. But sometimes it’s not so obvious – like if you are selling a fitness program like P90x.

If you don’t know who your target market is there are some simple ways to find out. The easiest way is to make sure that you are getting this right is to ask your market. Have people who visit your website or are on your email list fill out a survey.

It’s AMAZING what people will tell you. I like Survey Monkey for surveys and I like to include questions that reveal age, gender, lifestyle and also to include some open ended questions. By asking people a little bit about themselves you will gain valuable insights and see who is REALLY in your target market.

2.  Know where your target market hangs out

People are amazingly predictable. And they tend to gather in groups of likeminded individuals. The first thing I always recommend is to go with your gut. Where do YOU think that the people who visit your site would also hang out online? Once you’ve identified a few of these sites you can use keyword tools to identify more.  Here’s how to do that:

Search for the Google Keyword Tool in Google

google-keyword-tool

Click on the link at the top (should look like the one with the red arrow). Then insert the domain where you think your site visitors hang out into the Google keyword tool.

google-keyword-tool-results

You’ll get a list of keywords related to that site. And you can then search for similar sites using those keywords.

Make a list of the sites that you find and then go to Alexa or Quantcast and enter them in there.

These two sites will tell you the basic demographic makeup of every site on your list. Once you find some matches to your own demographic you’ve hit paydirt.

3.  Leverage this knowledge to reach your target market

Once you know what sites attract your demographic you’re ready to go to town. There are several ways to approach this depending on your budget. I’ll cover a few of them here.

Ask to do a guest post on their site: When you guest post on someone else’s site you provide really great content in exchange for a link back to your site. Guest posting is a great way to gain visibility in your niche. All you have to do is contact the owner of the site and ask. Count on asking 10 people to get 1 guest posting opportunity.

Find out if they take advertisements in their emails: This is one of my favorite ways to advertise. A lot of people sell space in their email lists. Sometimes you can buy an ad in the middle of an email, but my favorite way is to buy a solo ad. This is an email that you write directly to their list and it is the only thing they get in that email.

The most effective way to do a solo ad is to promote the next step. If you have a free report that you want people to see, make sure that you promote that. Don’t try to promote your end product. Just talk about the next step.

Advertise on their site: There are lots of people that sell blocks of advertising on their sites. Sometimes you need to place advertising with a third party (like Google Adwords) and sometimes people will allow you to advertise by contacting them directly. Whatever the case, advertising your own site on a site that caters to your same demographic can be very effective.

By taking these three steps you’ll start fishing where the fish are biting. It improves your results. Increases your traffic and gives you the ability to earn more money. Remember to keep good records of what works and what doesn’t so you can return to the same fishing hole again and again.

What are your favorite methods to get traffic to your website?  Let me know in the comments below.  And don’t forget to share this article with others!


Brian T. Edmondson
Brian T. Edmondson

Brian T. Edmondson is an author, speaker, and online business expert who helps you get more traffic, build your audience, and increase sales online.