I'm a beekeeper.
I'm doing pretty well selling my various honey and honey-related products to friends and neighbors at the local farmers' market. But I've got a lot of extra honey supply and I want to grow my operation. I'd really like to boost sales of my bee products and services. Someone says, "Hey David, you should get A WEBSITE." A website - what a great idea! I'll take my enterprise into the information superhighway. That'll get me tons of exposure!
Though impressed by this programmer's in-depth knowledge of what sound like very cool acronyms, I wonder aloud: "Hmm, that sounds all very well and good, but will it help me sell more honey?"
After speaking with several more general purpose web developers who know their acronyms well, I come across a booth that has a large sign that says in big bold letters:
"Boost Sales of Your Bee Products and Services."
Hey that's exactly what I'm looking for!
I walk up and am greeted by Elise of itmustbee.com. On the side of her booth is a stack of free booklets with a sign that says "Sell More Honey." I pick one up and the cover reads: "Strategies to Boost Your Honey Sales 30%." Yes please!
Elise and I chat for a while about the beekeeping world. She shows me some of her high quality bee photography. We talk about her passion for bee advocacy and education, the reason she built the website savebees.org. Did you know that bee populations are declining due to pesticides and the destruction of food sources and nesting grounds?
By now I am thoroughly convinced that Elise gets bees, and the business thereof. She explains her services that include website development and online marketing with a beekeeper focus. An excellent business partnership is formed and Elise delivers an amazing system for selling my honey online. As I knew she would, since everything about her presentation demonstrated that she understands not only web development, but also (perhaps more importantly) the business of beekeeping.
In the book Purple Cow, Seth Godin declares that all obvious business ideas have already been done to death, but not all unobvious ideas have already been done. It would be very hard to start a new line of dish soap to compete with Dawn, Ajax, Dang, or any of the other soaps you find in the Walmart cleaning aisle, but it would be very possible to make dish soap with strange writing all over it, since that would stand out like a purple cow in a sea of brown cows.
How do you stand out in a sea of web developers? You become unique. And positioning yourself to a specific target market is one very good way of becoming unique.
If Elise just said, "Boost sales on your website," that could apply to any website. I might come to her site as a dentist or a bicycle shop owner or a florist and say, "Hmm, but can Elise boost sales on _my _website? She doesn't know my unique needs."
By narrowing her focus to just beekeepers, she does reduce her possible market, but consider what happens when someone who is actually a beekeeper comes to this site. "She is talking directly to me!"
There are thousands of web developers, but I know of only one web developer for beekeepers. And if a beekeeper asks me who they should get to do their website, I know of the perfect person for the job.