How to Target Your Market Effectively

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Most Internet marketers are trying to appeal to a market that is simply too large. The Internet is a gargantuan machine with a very diverse group of users -- it is extremely difficult to target a mass-market because of the sheer number of competitors out there. Unless you target your market fairly precisely, your marketing message will be drowned out. One of the fundamental principles of marketing on the Internet, or anywhere else for that matter, is to focus on a tightly defined niche market.

Here's an example: if you put the search term ‘sports’ into Google, you will get around 971,000,000 results.  This is a huge potential market with a mind-boggling amount of competition. Define this a bit further to ‘extreme sports’, and you'll get 84,900,000 results -- definitely better!  Now, drill down a bit further and try ‘surfing’, and you'll get some 45,600,000 results -- now we are getting there!  You can even drill down further again and try ‘kite surfing’ and you get 4,070,000 results – excellent!  Can we do even better than this to find a really tightly focused niche market with the potential to make money here?

Let's try to drill down a bit more and try ‘kite surfing lessons’ and you get 84,200 results – brilliant!  We now have 84,200 potential customers looking for ‘kite surfing lessons’.  You could target this even more tightly by defining a certain geographical area.

Now, don't you think that people looking for ‘kite surfing lessons’ will be closer to a buying decision than people searching for ‘sports’? Of course they will, because they know precisely what they want and are on the lookout for it.  All you have to do is be there with your kite surfing lessons at a reasonable price and you will bag your customers!

If you apply this strategy to your own business, you will massively improve your chances of success -- it is also much cheaper than using a scattergun approach to mass marketing where there is a huge amount of competition. If you are concerned about marketing to a small potential market, don't forget that you can always have several niche markets -- the point is that you focus on potential customers who actually want what you have to offer.

Qualify your prospects

As with a mass-market approach, most Internet marketers are frantically trying to get large numbers of traffic to their site, regardless of whether their prospect of qualified or not. In other words do you want enquiries from people who actually want the product and services you have to offer? It's all very well getting thousands of visitors to your site but if they have no interested in your products, what's the point? It's all about targeting your market and getting the right sort of people in front of your marketing message. It's far better to have a small but responsive list than have thousands of contacts that never open your e-mails. Not only is it better but it’s cheaper to reach those people too.

So how do you go about getting qualified prospects? First, brainstorm all the possible ways that your prospects might come across your marketing, including Internet marketing, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, directory listings, off-line marketing and advertising, local leaflet drops, telemarketing, press releases and advertorials, classified ads in the national press, article writing both online and off-line, radio advertising, blogs, forums and so on. You can even use online auctions like eBay as an advertising platform -- why not sell a product that is derived from your main product, such as a report, review or a sample of your physical product.

When you have an overall picture of all the possible ways to reach your customers, rate them in order of effectiveness and pick three or four strong methods that would work for your business. For example, if you have your prospects e-mail addresses, try an e-mail marketing campaign; if you know for sure that they use social media marketing (like surfing groups in or above example) you can reach them that way, or if there is a specialist printed magazine or journal, try a small classified ad. Always test your marketing methods before you roll out a big campaign to save costs and time.

You should be employing several strong marketing methods that work your business to generate genuine enquiries from qualified prospects -- in other words people who are actually interested in what you have to offer and are prepared to part with their money to get it.

Simply driving more and more general traffic to your site is pretty meaningless and can be very frustrating because it doesn't work. You need qualified prospects and you find these from a tightly targeted niche market.

Also, don't worry about people unsubscribing from your list -- again if they are not interested in what you have to offer, there's no point in flogging a dead horse!