B Y   T O M   T O R T O R I C I

Chances, are you’ve pondered this question at some point.

If you only sell one thing, to one market, well, you’re a specialist by default. But it’s more common these days for companies to either offer a variety of products/services, or to cater to more than one category of buyer, or both.

If one of your products can resolve a specific unmet need within a certain business sector, it’s just smart business (and potentially profitable) to position yourself as the go-to specialist. On the other hand, by narrowly specializing, you’re afraid you’ll miss out on revenue from selling your other products to other markets.

It’s a classic dilemma, but to me, it’s always been a false choice based on self-limited thinking.

Who says you can’t specialize in one area and also be a generalist?

The answer is startingly easy: All you need is two separate brands, with two different websites and two business cards. Creating a brand new second brand is easily achievable with the help of a marketing writer and designer. The only other steps are registering a DBA (Doing Business As) subsidiary with your county court, and informing your bank.

And guess what – you can now pursue business as a specialist in high-potential area, without forsaking a wider universe of other potential prospects.

Separate brands make sense in a variety of circumstances.

Here’s my rule of thumb: if you sell multiple products to a single market (market specialist), OR a single product to multiple markets (product specialist), you’re probably okay with one brand and website. But if you offer different things to different buyers, it may be time to have more than one brand.

That way, when the appropriate visitor lands on each site, they’re engaged by messages and images tailored to their specific needs, sensibilities, and circumstances. This is far more important than most companies realize.

Visitors tend to engage when the first headline they see speaks directly to them.

Unfortunately, too many sites try to talk to everyone at the same time, which results in a muddled and unfocused word salad that never really connects with any particular type of buyer. There’s also a tendency to talk too much about the company, with no acknowledgement of the pesky issues that triggered the customer’s search in the first place.

When companies say that their websites aren’t bringing them business, it’s often hard for them to see that inadequate strategy and writing are what’s pushing visitors away, not the website itself.

If having a separate brand is too radical a move, there are other options.

One approach that I sometimes recommend to my clients is to treat their website Home page as mostly a brief portal page. In other words, one or two general messages, and then, say, 3 prominent side-by-side boxes targeting each of the firm’s main markets. For example, for a residential real estate company, those boxes might be labeled For Buyers, For Sellers, and For Investors. In each, after a brief intro, you’d include links to dedicated pages for each of those audiences. For maximum impact, those pages should have a Home-page, rather than text-page, format.

A lot of sites already have 3 side-by-side boxes, but most often they focus on their 3 types of products, or 3 benefits of working with them. My point is, if the focus shifts to their 3 types of customers, each one can read about products and benefits through the lens of their own particular needs.

Visitors tend to engage when the first headline they see speaks directly to them.

Wait – didn’t I use that line already? Yes, I did. But I’m repeating it to remind us how crucial this is as a web visitor makes a split-second decision whether to dig further into your site … or back out and look elsewhere.

All I’m saying is that if you have an offering that solves a particular problem for a particular market, give it your best shot by building a fresh new ‘specialist’ brand around that opportunity. By retaining your original generalist brand, you now have two potential revenue streams. If one or the other really takes off, put your main focus there. Isn’t that just smart business?

Need help creating a specialist brand? It’s easier than you think. Let’s talk.


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Tom TortoriciAbout the Author:  Tom Tortorici is an Atlanta copywriter and web content writer who helps companies make a genuine connection with their audience. His classes and conference presentations have focused on how writing, strategy and design can work together to grab attention and interest even among readers with short attention spans. In addition to working directly with businesses, Tom regularly partners with web designers and marketing agencies.

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Tom Tortorici Inc. | Tom@TomTortorici.com | 770-934-7861 | 3101 Rockaway Rd | Atlanta GA 30341