You have full confidence in your ecommerce store. You stand behind its products. After all, you’ve invested significant time planning, launching and running the business. It may even be difficult for you to see why someone wouldn’t become a customer—you believe in its universal appeal for online users of all kinds.
The fact of the matter is it’s inefficient to try to appeal to everyone on the internet, or even a large subset of consumers. Although specificity may seem limiting, it’s actually the key to effective and efficient marketing.
Here’s why it’s so important to understand your ecommerce target market.
What You Need to Know About Your Audience
Targeted marketing helps you avoid paying for ineffective messaging. Without proper targeting, you’ll end up spending money promoting your ecommerce brand through the wrong channels. Or, you’ll market a less-than-optimal message across the right channels. Either way, your campaigns will fail to connect with consumers, meaning you’ll see poor returns on your investment. This is also why trying to reach everyone with your message is fruitless—you’ll end up alienating most people with your generic communications.
As one entrepreneur writes for Practical Ecommerce, online retailers can benefit from asking these questions:
- Who will be using my product? Determine the demographics of your audience.
- Where do these people spend time online? Consider the other media, blogs and websites they consume.
- When are they most likely to buy from me? Identify promotional opportunities based on seasons, holidays, etc.
- Why do these shoppers want my product? Figure out what problem your product can solve, or what desire it fulfills.
She goes on to elaborate upon this concept for her business, which sells wedding favors and gifts. Her target audience is single women planning a wedding, aged 21 to 40. They typically do not have children. They do have college degrees and jobs. These women read blogs about home décor, fashion, crafts and weddings. Their preferred social media platforms are Facebook and Pinterest.
All of this information is crucial to know.
Only by nailing down the “who” and “why” can you develop a framework for impactful branding and marketing. You can even go so far as to create buyer personas, or example customers with fictional names and specific attributes who represent your target audience at large in a more concrete way.
The Benefits of Targeted Marketing in Action
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages you’ll gain by understanding your target market—and the consequences you’ll face if you skimp on this step.
Hypothetically, you’ve decided to open an online business selling furniture. You’ve researched how to set up a furniture store using a platform like Shopify. You know where you’ll source the products you sell. Your payment gateway is set up and ready to handle transactions. Now, where are the eager buyers ready to fill their homes with your wares?
Even within the category of furniture, there are many different subsets of seller and buyer. Does your store sell multi-thousand-dollar Eames chairs and other pricey mid-century modern furniture? Or are you selling affordable pieces buyers assemble themselves? These two types of furniture stores will have vastly different audiences. Hint: Marketing the former to young professionals living in apartments will be a colossal waste of your ad budget. Similarly, marketing the latter to middle-aged homeowners in rural areas will miss the mark.
Developing an understanding of the right mix of demographics and psychographics will help you reach your target market. Your success in this department will do wonders for your bottom line.