Niche marketing: How many websites do you need?

By Jim Kendall

This column originally appeared in the December 8, 2014 Daily Herald

                Don’t give Brian Basilico a website for Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate): He already has 22.

Niche marketing         At least 22 was the number of Basilico-related websites – 20 live and two being developed – when we talked Thanksgiving week; there may be more now, all part of Basilico’s business transition from selling his time, as many of us do, to selling his knowledge, as more of us perhaps should.

For Basilico, the distinction between selling time and knowledge becomes niche marketing expanding exponentially – a strategy worth exploring and possibly worth mimicking. What Basilico, director of direction at B2b Interactive Marketing, Aurora, knows about marketing and selling in today’s digital marketplaces adapts fairly easily to different business sectors:

* There’s a website that tells college professors how to integrate Basilico’s relationship marketing book, “It’s Not about You, It’s about Bacon!” into various college courses.

* Google’s ever-changing business relationship rules are explained on a Basilico webinar site.

A virtual staff of four helps Basilico with scheduling, content and proofreading.

The purpose behind Basilico’s websites is serious business-building – putting his name and services in front of specific audiences with specific messages designed to resonate with the target. “I can repurpose some content,” Basilico says, “but each site has its own content and own lists.”

The website expansion is recent. Basilico took a social media success course in June and, by August, had refashioned his thinking and begun to create targeted websites.

But is it necessary to have 22 websites? That’s a strategic decision.

Lillian Bjorseth has five sites, primarily event focused. There is a site, for example, that promotes what will be the 13th annual Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza, in May; another for a conference that Bjorseth is developing aimed at businesswomen over age 50; and a third,, intended to provide executive training for young professionals.

“Of course (the sites) work,” Bjorseth says. “I target my markets. It gives us an opportunity to say so much about the event – and to register people on the specific site.”

Bjorseth, president, Duoforce Enterprises Inc., a Lisle-based networking and communications skills business, put her first site up in 1995 to promote both Duoforce and a leads group (Better Business Contacts) she owned at the time. She understands how to use the web to target market.

“You have to know your market,” Bjorseth says. Once a market and product are matched, Bjorseth uses her sites not only to promote events but to give event sponsors valuable eyeball time and, not so incidentally, “promote my business and products.”

Her sites, Bjorseth says, are “very intertwined.”

* Meeting planners need speakers and should be interested in ones who can talk intelligently to audiences about e-marketing’s many applications. is Basilico’s speaker-trainer site.


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