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Taking Aim at Your Target Market

We are going to talk about target marketing what it is. Why it’s important for your business. And we’ll cover some tips and strategies for how you can incorporate this vital way of thinking into your business.

With that being said, let’s get started!

Target marketing is so critical to online business success it astonishes me to know that so few online entrepreneurs have even heard of these concepts, let alone put them into practice! And those that have heard about these fundamental concepts ignore them or forget about them because it seems like too much work to understand or take the steps necessary for success.

These concepts are not hard!
Not hard to understand.
Not hard to put into action.

But if you know anything about what it takes to become successful, you know that just taking action is one of the biggest factors to success. Deciding to learn something new and put it into play could mean the difference between making tons of money like the big boys or folding up your webpage and looking for a day job.

Decide right here and now to take action.
Decide to learn about target marketing.
Decide to define your market before it’s too late.

Starting an online business and not learning these concepts is like opening a car repair shop without knowing anything about cars!

Sounds silly, I know. But that’s exactly what most online entrepreneurs do. And if you do the same, your business will almost certainly be doomed! Spending some time defining your target market will propel you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.

Sound business strategy demands that you focus on your target market. You must clearly think about your customer and ask yourself all kinds of questions until you have a picture of that person in your mind. This research will become the foundation for everything else you will do in your business.

What is a Target Market?
Before you can even begin to think about your customers, you need to understand why target marketing so important. You have to know what a target market is and the reason you are going to spend so much time thinking about it.

A target market is a group of people with a common problem, need, or desire that can be helped by your product or service. Simply put, they are those individuals most likely to buy what you have to sell.

That doesn’t sound like such a difficult concept.

These people have a problem they want solved.
They have a desire that they want fulfilled.
They have a pain they want to avoid.

Your job is to make it so painfully obvious to them that it is in their best interest to buy what you have to offer. You have to convince them that unless they take advantage of your product or service, their need will go unmet, there problem will be unresolved, and their pain will continue.

Your success will be measures by how well you convince your target market that your product or service is the only option to meet their needs and wants.

And the bottom line is simple:
Unless you can effectively find ways to reach your target market and convince them how much they need you, you won’t make a dime. You won’t be able to sell anything unless you know how to match your product to their desires.

The Importance
Why is All This Important?
If making money isn’t a good enough reason, let me show you some other reasons why you should.

It’s impossible to be all things to everyone. There is no way your product or service will appeal to everyone – or even a very large group of people.

A lot of people spend time developing a product that they think is the next better mousetrap. They think that once they let people know about it, their web page hit counters will catch on fire from all the activity on their website. Naturally, they assume that everyone will want at least one of what they have.

The reality is often hard to swallow. Your product – no matter how wonderful it is – will only appeal to a limited number of people.

It’s foolish to waste your time trying to sell your better mousetrap to people who don’t already have a cat.

Think for a moment about coffee. In the morning, I only make enough coffee for about two cups. So, I only put a small amount of coffee in the filter and enough water for my two cups. And it usually comes out just the way I like it.

But what if I had a group of friends over for dinner and I wanted to serve coffee with dessert. If I put enough water in the pot for fifteen cups, but only added a few tablespoons of coffee – like I do for my morning coffee. I would be serving pitifully weak coffee.
My friends would hate me and never come back over for dinner.

Well, maybe not that extreme, but the coffee would taste that awful. It would be horribly diluted.

The same thing happens when you try to apply the resources you have to a market that is too big for you to effectively reach. You will dilute your message and your efforts will be very weak.

For example, rather than place one ad in one thousand general e-zines hoping to find a customer, you could run ten ads in each of a hundred highly targeted e-zines and your message would achieve greater penetration. If you’ve selected the right e-zines – ones you know your market reads – you will have a much stronger pull from repeated ads in fewer e-zines than you could ever hope to get with just one ad in ten times as many.

Don’t waste your time and money trying to tell the whole world. The whole world doesn’t care.

Think about how many times you get email messages in your inbox that don’t apply to you. I am always getting messages trying to get me to refinance my house, or purchase insurance, or buy Viagra. These are all things that I don’t need or want. Most of these emails never make it past a cursory glance at the subject line.

My point here is this: someone somewhere paid money to buy my email address from some list so they could send me some email promoting some product I don’t need and that only ended up in the trash.

The point of defining your target market is to find out who will buy what you have to sell. You must understand their needs and wants.

Once you know this, your job is to focus your limited resources on making sure your potential customers know about your product and know their only option is to get it from you.

I can’t stress this enough. This is the key to marketing success.

If you don’t do this, you risk:

* Spending money on things that don’t work
* Wasting time doing things that don’t get results
* Broadcasting your message to people who don’t care

The Competitive Advantage
Like most online entrepreneurs, you probably have some competition.
There are other websites trying to get your customers – and all your potential customers – to buy from them instead of you.

The secret to your competitive advantage lies in target marketing.

* Take the time to define exactly who your customer is.
* Focus on all the qualities that make them unique.
* Design your product to meet their specific needs and problems.

Once you do that, you can show your potential customers that the only way their problems will get solved or their needs will be met is through what you want to sell them.
If you do this well, no other product from any other competitor will be able to address their concerns.

And you will have scored a direct hit against your competition.

You move from being a generalist to becoming a specialist in your field.
As a specialist, you are much more capable of catering to the needs, desires, and problems of your customers.

There’s a difference between the Fettuccini Alfredo that I get when I dine at the finest restaurant in town and the frozen entre I buy at the grocery store.

The noodles may be the same.
The sauce may be the same.
But there’s something different.
When I want a gourmet meal, I don’t get it from the frozen food aisle.

You need the competitive advantage and target marketing will give it to you.

Taking Care of Your Budget
If you’re like me, you don’t have an unlimited budget for advertising and marketing.
You can’t afford to reach everyone with your marketing message.
So don’t even try.

There are too many advertising options, and unless you tightly focus on a limited market, you will be throwing good money after bad trying to reach the wrong people.

A High Impact Marketing Plan
You will be able to develop an organized, systematic marketing plan when you understand target marketing and take the time to do it right.

Your marketing plan is crucial to your success.
You must spend time planning how you are going to reach your target market.

When you understand your ideal customer, you can begin to think about the ways he or she gets their information.

Is it newsgroups?
Discussion lists?
How about e-zines?
Or do they make purchase decisions based on referrals from people they know?

Put yourself in the mind of your customer.
Once you know HOW they get information, you can begin to concentrate on WHICH sources they rely on.

If your target market relies on newsgroups to get most of their information, then you need to start by creating a list of all the newsgroups your customers might spend time in.

Then you need to design an effective method of reaching them on their own turf.
Your choice of marketing message will largely depend on the sources you come up with.
Marketing to newsgroups has a totally different set of rules than marketing to an e-zine list.

If you were to try to develop a marketing plan without a clear picture of the people who make up your target market, the job would be overwhelming. There is no way you could even begin to get a handle on all the different resources.

It’s better to start with a smaller group of resources and then refine your list, adding and deleting resources as you develop your marketing plan.

For example, let’s say your product is a how-to e-book teaching the finer points of golf.
Your list of obvious places to advertise might include a number of golf-oriented e-zines.
But then you remember that a lot of business deals are made on the golf-course.
You begin to add e-zines that focus on professionals and the art of the deal.

The possibilities are limited only by your creativity.

No matter which resources you rely on, you must chose them wisely.
Spend your resources only on those things that get the best results.
Eliminate those that are a waste of time or money.
You want bang for your buck.

And you can’t get it if you don’t know where your customers hang out.

How Do You Do It?
Up til now we’ve talked a lot about what target marketing is and why it’s important.
I’ve said very little about how to do it.

First . . . you need to understand that you need to do this BEFORE any other marketing takes place.

In fact, many purists will recommend that you define your market before you locate or develop a product.
The logic is that the product will sell better when it is based on the specific knowledge gained from your experience with the market.

In other words, find out EXACTLY what your customer wants and then give it to them.

There’s something to be said for this theory.
If you are thinking about creating an information product, then this would be the ideal approach, and would position your product for tremendous sales in the marketplace.

But, if you already have a product and have already spent time and money marketing it all over the Internet, by all means, don’t throw in the towel now! It’s not too late to change your game plan.
Define your target market now and re-focus your resources in that direction.

If nothing else, you will have gained a world of experience about what is already working and not working.

Knowing your target market before you begin your marketing activities will save you much time, effort, money, and aggravation.
It’s best to do it before you get too far ahead of yourself.

Getting to Know Your Customer
So, what is it you want to know about your customer?
Here’s a short list to get you thinking.

Use your knowledge of the industry and your product to come up with new factors that are important to you.
* Age
* Gender
* Marital and family status
* Employment
* Income
* Geographic location
* Primary language
* Recreational activities
* Hobbies and interests
* Politics
* Religion
* Attitudes and opinions

When you think about each of these areas, try to be as detailed as you can.
Write down anything that comes to your mind.
Try to capture as much on paper as you can.

Go online and find out what makes your customers tick.
Go into the newsgroups your customers are likely to target.
Ask questions.
Listen to what’s being discussed.

Visit websites your customers are likely to visit.
Try to identify the elements that appeal to them.

Try to get to the point where you can picture what your perfect customer looks like.
See every detail.
Give your ideal customer a name and personality.

Looking at Your Target Market
Once you’ve finished with picking apart your customer’s life, take a step back and think about your entire target market.

* Does your market want your product?

Make sure your market consists of people who want your product.
Selling sand to people living in a desert may not be a good idea.
They may be dying for water, though.

Remember, you won’t sell anything if your product does not satisfy a need, quench a desire, solve a problem, or prevent a painful situation.

Marketing is all about reaching people with a problem to let them know you have the solution!

Don’t waste your time making the market fit the product.
Spend your time making the product fit the market.

* Is it large enough to provide enough business for you?

It does no good if your target market consists only of you and your Uncle Fred.
You are not going to get rich that way!
Make sure there’s enough potential for you to make it worthwhile.

* Is it small enough to provide you with enough opportunity for specialization?

Your focus needs to be narrow enough to give you the competitive edge.
If you are marketing a product to blue-eyed girls, you may not be focused enough.

* Do you have the financial means to reach your market?

Even if your market is the right size, the methods used to reach them effectively may be beyond your financial reach.

If your market requires that you take out a full page ad in Time magazine, but you’re wallet can only afford a classified in the local penny saver, you’re in trouble.

If you can’t afford to reach your market, don’t.
Find another product or another market.

* Does you market have the financial means to purchase your product?

Just because you have a great product that solves the problems your customers have, don’t assume that they are ready, willing, and able to buy.
Are your customers the kind of people who use credit cards to pay for purchases online?
Is your product priced within their reach?

I have an aunt who uses her computer primarily for email.
I know of an ideal product that I could sell to her and her friends.
I could probably make a fortune with this product.
BUT . . . is she going to put her credit card number into a form on a web page?
My fortune just went up in smoke.

* Is your market easily reached?

You may have an ideal market, but if you have no way to reach them, you will spend more time and money to reach them than it may be worth.
Your market needs to be accessible through traditional internet marketing methods – newsgroups, discussion groups, email, joint ventures, e-zines, and so forth.

In other words, think about how you are going to communicate with them.
If you don’t see your customers participating in online communities like newsgroups or discussion groups, you have to find other ways to get in touch with them.

Make sure your market can be reached through a method that you have access to.

* Are your customer’s computer users?

If you are trying to sell products online, it makes sense that your customers need to be online, too.

There is no doubt that senior citizens represent a tremendous marketing opportunity for the right kind of products.
But, if your product is geared toward seniors, you may be out of luck trying to reach them through online marketing.

Now, I know a lot of senior citizens who are Internet savvy.
But I also know a whole bunch who don’t even own a computer.
If you were trying to achieve market saturation via online marketing, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

* Can your customers get the same or similar product locally or through traditional models?

People aren’t going to want to buy soda from your website and wait for it to come by mail when they can drive to the corner store for the same thing. If you do choose to sell something available through traditional models, you will need to come up with a reason for your customers to buy from you instead.

Wrapping Things Up.
Target marketing is an important, but often overlooked concept when it comes to internet marketing.
In order to propel yourself ahead of the competition, you need to spend some time thinking about your ideal customer.

Here is a recap of the step you must follow:

* Think about your customer – Who are they?
What do they like and dislike?
What are their hope and ambitions, their fears and fantasies, their needs and desires?

* Go to your potential customers and find out what they want.
Ask questions in newsgroups and discussion lists.

* Develop a product that fulfils their needs.
Or figure out a way to make your existing product lines do the trick.

* Create a marketing plan that details all of the resources you will rely on when reaching out to your target market.

* Go to where your target market hangs out and convince them you have the solution to their problem.
Let them know that you are the only person they can come to in order to get the answers they are looking for.
Convince them it would be foolish to go somewhere else.

These are the secrets of marketing that very few people on the Internet really understand and put into action.
Once you begin to think about target marketing, your sales will take off.

Good luck.

Author Bio:
Charles Davidson is a business consultant who writes articles about Internet marketing. He operates an online resource for marketers and business people at You can subscribe to his newsletter by sending a blank email to: