Narrow Your Focus and Broaden Your Sales
If your web-based business solves
a specific problem, then your chances of online success are good. This is
not a facetious statement because you'd be surprised to know how many businesses
go online with no clear objective whatsoever. But in order to increase those
chances, an immensely important step in marketing effectively online is required
This is where many marketers fail, for they are trying to be "all things
to all people." Their web site may offer a product that solves a specific
problem. And unquestionably, the marketplace -- and the potential -- on the
Internet is huge. But it is also for this very reason that general offers
either get easily drowned in this boundless electronic ocean or fail to capture
the netizen's attention due to the vagueness of the offering's nature.
Since the marketplace is so vast, attention span so short and competition
so enormous, there is no better place for market targeting than on the Internet.
Today's rapidly changing, technology-driven marketplace mandates a sharper
marketing aim. If your business doesn't have one, you're going to either
have a really tough time or require a huge marketing budget.
Therefore, try to discover the demographics as well as the psychographics
of your niche -- your niche being your core, largest or most profitable market.
If you don't have a narrowly defined market, then identify it or isolate
one. And once you've defined it, it will then be easier for you to market
your offer in front of an audience that will most likely be genuinely interested
in it. Otherwise, without one you'll be merely shooting blanks.
Demographics are the basic qualities and characteristics of your market.
They include age, gender, culture, employment, industry, income level, marital
status, location and so on. For example, does your product cater uniquely
to women? Is it more appealing to a specific industry? Does your product
complement another type of product? Is your market mostly made up of French
Canadians? In other words, who buys from you specifically?
If you were to answer that last question with "everyone," then you are falling
in the "all things to all people" trap mentioned earlier. Avoid it as much
as you can. But if you do cater to a diverse market, then the trick is to
find out who buys from you the most or the most often. Above all, ask yourself
this all-important question: Who is my perfect customer?
On the other hand, psychographics consist of the emotional and behavioral
qualities of your target market. They include emotions, rationales, buying
histories, psychology and thought processes behind the decision to buy your
product. For example, they include your customers' interests, associations
to which they belong, previous purchases they've made, other similar or related
products they've consumed, activities in which they're engaged, the length
of time they remained with a particular company in the past, and so on.
Stated differently, demographics define the qualities of those people who
may *need* your product, while psychographics are the qualities of those
who may not only need but also *want* your product. Before you target your
market, profile your customer -- your perfect customer. You can start by
conducting some marketing research among your current client base, potential
clients and clients of other similar products or companies. But never
underestimate the gold mine that can be found in your own backyard -- your
In order to illustrate the difference between demographics and psychographics,
let's look at cosmetic surgeons and particularly hair transplant doctors.
Hair restoration caters typically to men who have experienced hair loss and
are able to afford such an operation. In other words, men and bald men
specifically are potential patients because they may need more hair.
But psychographics on the other hand go a little further. In this example,
they are comprised of men who not only need more hair but also want more
hair. This is important since not all of them do -- it's a matter of personal
priorities, just as the type of clothing one chooses to wear. If you think
about it, would you consider all bald men as potential clients? Hopefully
Therefore, in order to target this specific market as precisely as possible
and thus generate higher quality leads, doctors must take their patients'
psychographic profile into account. Elements include their lifestyle, their
interests, the type of industry in which they work (since certain industries
are more image-related) as well as their previous buying habits (such as
men who have already invested in other forms of hair replacement solutions).
Once done, they can easily find places on the web where this perfect customer
hangs out. They fish where the fish swim. For example, there are web sites
and even "vortals," which are niche-based portals, catering to bald men seeking
a hair loss solution (like regrowth.com). There are even discussion lists
and ezines whose subscribers consist of people suffering from thinning hair.
And of course, the list goes on.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that less is more. Narrow your focus to a specific
niche and, paradoxically, you will broaden your sales. Arm yourself with
as much information as possible about your perfect customer, and then target
*that* customer more than any other. While you can't be everything to everyone,
you shouldn't be targeting everyone for everything.
About the Author:
Michel Fortin is an internationally acclaimed and highly sought-after consultant
whose marketing advice has helped countless clients earn millions of dollars
in record time. He is also the Senior Editor of Internet Marketing Chronicles,
a weekly newsletter with 125,000 subscribers, as well as the author of four
books. His latest book,
Positioning Dot Com" reveals how to keep your product or service indelibly
carved into your prospects' uppermost consciousness at all times.