Target Markets: Learning How to Fish in the Vast Internet Ocean

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Finding your target market is tough but rewarding when you're selling products and services online.

You’ve finally given up on MLM schemes and product testing on the Internet and got a great idea for an online business that you think really has some legs to make you rich.

You’re excited and rightfully so. There’s gold in them thar cyber hills and lots of it but only if you can execute. 

One of the first things you’ll need to learn is restraint. Putting together a small business in your town or neighborhood is like standing on the bank of a familiar lake and looking across at the landmarks you recognize on the other side, at the familiar cottages and boathouses of the people you know who will buy from you.

Related Article: Mobile Ready: 4 Things to Ask Yourself Before Mobile Strategy Planning

Into Cyberspace

Not so when you make the decision to go into cyberspace. When you stand on that online shore, you won’t be able to see all the way across that vast ocean of possibilities and potential customers. You might think that means you’ve just scored a worldwide customer base to go with your bigger ambitions, but you need to recalibrate.

You’ll need to learn how to fish in the vast Internet ocean for the right schools that will buy what you’ve got to sell. Sure, you’ve got more opportunities than you might have thought possible, but you still need to narrow down a target market so your business runs smoothly.

You can start by having a look at the kinds of tackle your competition has and what kind of market they are targeting with it. You’re not looking to compete directly with them for the same demographic, but knowing who they are selling to can help you find a niche they might have overlooked.

Hook #1  

Social media is a great place to start putting this information together. Here’s an excellent idea to get you moving forward. Following a competitor’s Twitter account will give you a good idea of the tone and kind of messaging they’re using. You can even surmise who they hope is reading these messages at the other end.

Of course, there are other ways to find your target market. Sometimes you can even start with a more old-fashioned approach by being shrewd enough to recognize a need and filling it. That’s the case with Recall Guide. This online resource supplies information about the prescriptions Americans take on a regular basis.

This portal gets credible information from reputable sources like the FDA and DailyMed and has a Most Followed Prescriptions section and News & Education section as just some of its attractions. The service is free and a great way for people to keep track of all their medications. Filling a need this way means that traffic and more business will come your way and the demographics of your target market will take care of itself.

Hook #2

However, sometimes you have the cart (your product or service) and need to more clearly define the horse (or target market) to pull it along, especially when you’re trying to decide how to market in cyberspace. That’s where choosing a specific demographic to target comes in. You need to know how to bait the hook properly.

Related Article:Reach Your Target Audience: A Fool-Proof Guide to Influencer Marketing

Age, location, and gender need to be considered. There are some benchmarks you want to gather information on like:

  • Education and income level
  • Occupation and marital status
  • Ethnic background

Brainstorming with partners and staff helps here. Once you’ve got that done, you’ve painted a picture of the people you need to start going after. In fact, you’ve got a good snapshot of your target market.

Chum Into The Water

It’s not good enough to know who they are, you need to add some chum to the water by understanding their personalities, attitudes and behaviors. For example, the esteemed Wharton School of Business did a study and found that shock, fear, humor, positivity and poignancy are the emotions most people respond to the best. In fact, those are universal triggers that work right across the target market board.

It’s all more than worth the effort. Statistic Brain reports that online sales alone will increase to $440,400,000,000 by next year alone. That’s a lot of Ben Franklins and your fair share is waiting just under the waves of the Internet ocean in the guise of a target market. 

Here’s a final piece of advice about focusing your efforts using some of the methods the good people at Recall Guide did. Staying tuned in to trends and current events helps attract like-minded people. Maybe it was the stat about the annual healthcare revenue being $1.668 trillion that spurred the innovators at Recall Guide to get involved in the field.

Related Article: It's Not About Numbers: Finding the Right Social Audience for Your Business

Finally, staying on top of updates and announcements appeals to your target market and actually helps to expand it. Check out the job Recall Guide with the blood thinner Xarelto. 

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