Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The long tail, a concept popularised by Chris Anderson in 2006, proves that selling less of more is the most profitable way to do business. For years the film, music, and literary industries (to name a few) focused their attention on a small segment of the talent that made up their business. Why? Because it costs money to promote and sell products. It doesn’t make sense for a publisher to invest in an unknown author who is going to sell 500 books (max) that they’ll never be able to convince the supermarkets and Waterstones of the world to buy. In fact, when publishers do take on these “pro bono” projects they’re exactly that- an undertaking that will produce zero income but will make their brand look good.
Online retail changes all of that. There is no cost to listing a product online, no shelf space to take up. So Amazon does it. And what has Amazon proven? That when customers are given the chance to “search” and are lead down the “customers who liked this also liked…” road, they wind up finding and purchasing the same obscure title Waterstones turned away. And this happens all the time, which means that Amazon is making a small fortune from selling few copies of a large number of products.
Well the same is true of the long tail of SEO. Eric Enge notes that it is at least four times easier to rank for a long tail term than for a head term. What's more, a specific query indicates that the searcher is closer to a final decision and is at least twice as easy to convert. Multiplying this out, the business you get from your website is 56 times more accessible in the long tail terms than in the head terms.
Isn’t ecommerce refreshing?