Last October, I made a statement that was pretty strong, even for me: Long Tail Marketing is the single most important issue for your business’ growth and your business change that you will encounter. Any time. Ever.

Now, even Microsoft is copping to the importance of the long tail, and admitting they had underestimated it.

It’s an astonishing admission, both because the beast from Redmond isn’t know for such open acknowledgments of their failures and because it speaks out loud about how important long-tail marketing has become.

Imagine this: you’re a medical practice. Maybe an Obstetrician. You decide to undertake an on-line marketing campaign. Do you take aim at big, general phrases like OB-GYN (or the alternative OB/GYN, or OB GYN), or do you instead focus on more specific, lower-traffic, but still mainstream phrases such as cervical biopsy? Or perhaps you focus on the obscure and relatively new hydro-thermal ablation?

If you choose OBGYN, you’re going down a very expensive path that will likely lead you to either no results  or a tremendous amount of traffic from people who are doing research; neither result is OK. If you go middle ground and work to become the leader for cervical biopsy, your results will be better, cost less, and maybe even bring some of the right visitors to your web site. But when you focus on finding and becoming the leader for the more obscure you have a pretty good chance of waking up a leader for hydro-thermal ablation. Want even better? If you’re a locally-oriented business, be specific; become the leader for “hydro-thermal ablation in Monterrey County“.

I could turn this post into a commercial for Answer Guy SEO and SEM Services now, but let’s stay with the more general point: the long tail matters, because in a business and marketing environment where smaller businesses are trying to effect business change in a way that puts them in direct competition with larger ones, piecing business together with long tail marketing techniques . . . just . . . plain . . . works.

I don’t usually say this because is sounds silly: sometimes you just don’t want to be Microsoft. Long tail marketing is one such place.

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