If you don’t have a target market and if you are trying to sell to everyone, my friend, you are in big trouble! You are apparently writing your own ecommerce death sentence.
Before we go any further, ask these three simple questions from yourself.
- What are the target market and target audience?
- What are”my” target market and target audience?
- Do I address my target audience through my marketing campaigns?
If you don’t have crystal-clear and definite answers to these three simple questions about targeting, you can just forget about your online business! 🙁
Or, you can just learn how to define a target market and refine your ecommerce business and target marketing strategy accordingly.
Whenever I talk about the importance of target marketing, a lot of people shoot the same question every time. “What about Amazon? They sell everything to everyone!”
Well, Amazon sells everything to everyone “NOW”. But, not when they start. Ecommerce GodMr.Bezos started Amazon by selling books online. That was a pretty niche business at that time. The Amazon had grown to sell everything to everyone from that particular starting point.
I am not saying you cannot start a business targeting everyone. Remember the sky is not the limit in today’s world. It depends on your creativity. But, here at EcommerceBuff, I am addressing an everyday ecommerce player, who is hustling to earn some good money.
Let us see how to select a target market for your ecommerce business 🙂
But first, do you know the difference between a target market and a target audience?
What is a Target Market in Ecommerce?
The target market is the specific set of people that your business is planning to sell your products or the services to.
Often the target market is the people who really consume your products. They are the end users.
Identifying and understanding your target market is essential to refine your products and business strategies. Also, it can help you to determine the trends and adjust your product portfolios to meet future needs.
The target market can be defined using the geography, demographics and behavioural aspects.
Let us have a closer look!
If you sell baby clothing, small children will be your end customers. And if you decide to sell only to the UK market, you can further narrow down your target market.
By narrowing down your target market, you can foresee the requirements to serve that target market. For example, during the winter time, you can add more and more winter clothing to your store, and allocate enough money to advertise winter clothing.
But what would happen if you sell to the tropical countries as well? Your customers, who are not experiencing winter, will not find winter clothing useful at all. So, they will get distracted, and you will lose the engagement with them. Also, some of your marketing budget for winter clothes will be wasted on them too.
Likewise, if you have a narrow target market, it is easy to create traction in your business. Once you grow your business, of course, you can expand your boundaries.
Another good example is the trends. Trends are not similar in different markets. Something popular in the UK might not sell well in the US market. So, if you are only focusing on the UK market, you can quickly refine your product portfolio to match the UK trends.
What is a Target Audience in Ecommerce?
Sometimes you will see people use the terms target market and target audience interchangeably. But, it cannot be true for all the time.
The target audience is the group of people who respond to your marketing message.
Sometimes they can be the end users as well, but not every time.
If we rethink about our baby clothing example, you can see that our target market (the babies) cannot respond to our brand message. We should address their parents instead because they are the ones, who decide to buy these products.
So, our marketing campaigns should address the parents. Likewise, the parents are our target audience in this example.
So, if you need to sell your products, you need to address your audience effectively. To address your target audience effectively, you need to understand their desires and requirements.
In most of the cases, the target market and the target audience can be the same.
It all depends on what you sell. For example, you don’t usually gift kitchen knives right? I don’t. So, if you sell kitchen knives, you can assume your target market and your target audience overlap almost 100%.
Targeting is Important in Ecommerce
As we have discussed at the beginning, if you are trying to sell to everyone, you may be writing your own ecommerce death sentence.
Not everyone fits for everything. If you sell something to someone who does not fit for that product, they will hate that product. And, they will hate your brand.
So, what can happen?
They will write bad reviews, and they will spread the bad mouth of word about your product in their networks, and repel all your potential businesses away.
Don’t let that happen!
And, if you have any experience in advertising, you may already know how hard it is to target a generic buyer.
If you sell dash-cams and if you target all the car owners in the US, it will be too broad. Not every car owner would need a dash-cam. If you target all of them, you are basically wasting your ad budget.
So, always start with well-defined and narrow target markets and audiences. So, you can create an awesome marketing campaign that will genuinely address those individuals, who would definitely buy from you, just because, your products and advertisements will be trailer-made for them.
Alright, no more fingers crossed!
How to Select a Target Market
Since you already have your product or service in your hand, now it is time for us to reveal your target market and target audience.
At EcommerceBuff we have a four-step process to select a target market and a target audience.
Define – Refine – Research – Assess
First Step: What Problem Do You Solve? – DEFINE
Identifying the problem you solve, or the desire that you fulfil makes it easy to clearly define your target market.
Need an example? Alright, let us assume that you sell food. So, what problem do you solve? You provide easy to cook, but healthy food, so busy mothers can save a lot of time to spend with their kids, instead of cooking.
This can help you to define a better buyer persona for your product. So, you can easily target your marketing, products and even packaging to address Lily, who is a 32-year-old working mother of two.
Likewise, if you try to figure out which problem you solve with your products or services, your target market and target audience can be automatically revealed.
Second Step: Narrow Down Your Target Market – REFINE
Now that you have identified your potential customer, it is time to refine your market. To do this step, we need to know about the demographics and psychographics of the buyers.
If we go back to the Lily in our previous example, there can be a Lily in Australia, UK, USA etc. Also, there can be aLily who has someone to cook at home. Another Lily may be living a luxurious life, so she might go “eww” on our quick food product.
Therefore we need to refine our target market using demographics and psychographics.
Demographics can be theAge, Gender, Location, Income level, education level and marital status etc. Psychographics can be the likes, behaviours and attitudes etc.
Third Step: Validate the Market – RESEARCH
When you are starting a new business, you always presume that it is going to be a hit and you are going to win your life with that business. Don’t worry; I think it is human nature. I really like to dream it in that way too. 🙂 That helps to create engagement for what you do.
But, if you got so overwhelmed and forgot to do proper market research, my friend, you will fail.
Just don’t jump into the water! It is common sense.
By now you have created a buyer persona, based on “your” assumptions. But, you can never guarantee that your assumption will always be right. That is why we need to research.
Always question your target market and check their eligibility.
Check if they can afford your price tag and if they can buy repeatedly. Remember, to create a profitable business, a big part of your sales should come from your returning customers.
Check about the competition. Is it too high, or is there a way for us to stand above the competition. Also remember that if there is no competition at all, that may be due to the lack of demand in that market.
Check if there are enough people in your target market segment. If not, you might not be able to create a sustainable business.
Tip: We live in a world driven by data. And, best of all, a lot of data is freely accessible for us. You can freely use Facebook audience insights to research.
Final Step: Trial Run – EVALUATE
Testing is proof!
Do not bet all your hard-earned money on a new business. You can simply try to sell a couple of products here and there and test the waters.
Before I add a new product to my dropshipping stores, I always list them on eBay and test. That is how I usually test my products, and that really works for me.
Remember, the real testing is essential to confirm your target market.
Of course, selling a product here and there would not simulate the real situation at all. With proper ad campaigns and all, you can create a better impact in the real scenario. But, with pre-testing, you can refine and adjust your grand entrance to resonate the market.
Well, you cannot use your bass lures to catch tuna. 😐 (Hope that is a correct, I don’t know about fishing). But, you got the idea right?
Selecting the right target market and target audience is a must for ecommerce success. Period.
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If you think something should be corrected, comment and let me know. Also, please share your own experience in selecting a target market for your products.