Big Fish, Small Pond

Does the Internet have you feeling like a small fish in a big pond?

Do you have a great product or service that’s being lost within the information overload of the World Wide Web?

If so, don’t forget your often most-fertile marketing territory—your own backyard!


The promise of the Internet is that it can literally bring your product or service to a global marketplace, quickly and economically. Just think of all the potential customers you might reach in “cyber” mode versus a traditional “bricks and mortar” approach. The numbers can be staggering.

We must ask ourselves, however, if the lure and promise of greater reach via the Internet is “real” or if it’s simply “wishful thinking”? Does the Internet represent reality for our business or just possibility?

In my opinion, for most of us, it’s the latter. The Internet makes it “possible” for us to reach a wider audience, but it does not guarantee we will. After all, the person on the other end of the cyber pipeline needs to first know about your product or service. He or she then needs to discover your Web site, take the initiative to visit your Web site, and then once at your site, actually buy your product or service.

And just as the Internet might open up the whole world to YOUR product or service, so too does it open up the world for the products and services of hundreds (if not thousands) of competitors—many of whom are likely to have deeper pockets that can get them noticed more quickly and more effectively than you.

Simply put, when you introduce the Internet into the mix, the pond in which you swim is suddenly a whole lot bigger!


To market my first published novel, CURRENTS-Every Life Leaves an Imprint, I took a different approach—an approach that paid some small, yet encouraging dividends.

Sure, I built a Web site (the credibility of any business without a Web site these days is questionable), got my book on, and entered into several affiliations designed to bring my book to a wider audience. Granted, some business has resulted from this more “global” approach, but my marketing really began to take off when I shifted from a “small fish/big pond” mentality to a “big fish/small pond” mindset.

First, I divided my marketing “backyard” into geographically distinct territories based on proximity to me as well as likelihood of interest.

Then I developed a marketing approach for each region, noting that the “selling” points for my book were likely to be subtly different in each market.

I then researched media and other means of outreach within each territory, including local newspaper, radio stations, and even retail outlets.

Lastly, I put my plan into operation a little over three weeks ago, starting with the region containing my former hometown.


The immediate result was a 750-word article and full-color picture on the back page of the local weekly newspaper—an article that included my Web site URL and publicity for a book-signing at a local retailer. I also garnered additional publicity for the book-signing in two regional daily newspapers.

The book signing activity was brisk, sales through my Web site picked up, and I received a special order from a nationally-known book seller. All-in-all, not too shabby a result from just one well-targeted press release to a local market.

So, while the Web opens up the whole world, don’t lose sight of your backyard and don’t lose sight of more traditional marketing methods to bring your product or service directly to a specific audience.

As youngsters we first learned to walk by taking tiny steps—tiny steps that soon became confident strides. The same can be said of our marketing: by starting out as a big fish in a small pond, your “pond” is sure grow as each tiny “splash” you make sends out yet another concentric ripple.