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Chapter Two: Reaching Your Target Audience

A big factor to successful online marketing is knowing who your target audience is and how to reach them. To determine what types of customers you are trying to reach you should be asking yourself the following questions:

  • What age group are you trying to sell to?
  • Are you selling to a specific ethnic group or gender?
  • Will most of your customers be married or single?
  • How fast will most Internet connections be?
  • Will you target customers who have children?
  • What level of education will most of your customers have?
  • Where will most of your customers live?
  • Will your customers have any specific hobbies?

The more you know about your customers the easier it will be to come up with a marketing plan. You'll also be able to design a website that is the most appealing to these customers. The biggest advantage of marketing on the Internet is that it allows you to become very targeted towards your desired customers.

Targeting Different Types of Customers

Marketing online is the same as marketing anywhere else. There are certain products, colors, themes, and lingo that will appeal more to some customers than to others. When you know what type of customers you're targeting you can meet their needs so that you grab their attention. When you use certain features that pull customers to your website you have the ability to gain their attention, loyalty, and trust. For example, studies show that most female shoppers like to save money and time. Over 80% of purchases in the home are influenced in some way by women. As well, these same studies show that women like to able to compare costs fast and easily without getting any kind of sales pressure. If you're trying to target women customers some things that you should keep in mind include (1) giving them a feeling of comfort and community, (2) let your website deal with everyday problems, and (3) focus on education, health, and family.

Get the Word Out

Doing something innovative and creative online, as well as using the latest technology, will always get attention. For example, adding animation, flash, or a photo can create a buzz about the product or service that you're selling. Just as e-mail, which contains jokes and strange pictures, gets forwarded all around the planet so too can your marketing message make the rounds. Come up with a marketing message and then forward it to family, friends, and anyone else you know.

Any time that you can get someone else to forward your e-mail to others you get the information out there about your website and the product or service you're selling. One key to great online marketing is remembering that quality, not quantity, counts. Avoid buying e-mail lists and focus instead on building your own with people who are actually interested in what you're selling. Today online marketing isn't about how many people you get to your website or how many people are on your e-mail list. Today online marketing is all about how people react to your website and what it is that you're selling.

Personalizing Your Website

Even if you're not selling a product or service that is for a specific target audience you need to have a website that is personalized. For example, even though Amazon sells products that appeal to all target audiences they have still managed to create a personalized website that fits every customer. This is the goal of personalization technology.

Try to limit the number of products or services that you're offering to your customers. "Information overload" is one of the biggest problems on the Internet. If you give your customers too many choices they'll have a hard time making a decision. The key to avoiding information overload is organization as well as making sure that products and services are directed towards your customers.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that online marketing stop when you generate a sale. Your current customers are the ideal way for you to reach new customers. You want to get leads from your customers by using marketing concepts such as "tell a friend" e-mails.

One mistake that many small online businesses make is to focus only on self-promotion. The bottom line is that customers don't care about you. They only care about what it is that you're selling and what you can do for them. When someone visits your website you have about ten seconds to get their attention before they move on to the next website. That means that you have ten seconds to tell this person why it is that they need you. The home page of your website should tell people why your service or product is just right for them. Your home page should include information about your company and/or have a personal bio about who you are.

If you're not sure about whether your website is reaching the right people, ask them. If you provide something of value to people who visit your website they'll give you information. Things of value include contests, coupons, and free products. Make sure that you let them know they can trust you by including a privacy policy on your website that states you won't share any personal information they provide with anyone else. Stick to your policy and never sell the information your customers provide you with. Otherwise you'll lose and abuse their trust.

Once you know the demographics of your customers you'll know how to spend your marketing budget. You can focus your online promotions using targeted marketing strategy. Even though you may end up with fewer people visiting your website, targeted online marketing is the way to go.

Using Banner Ads

One mistake that many online businesses make is using banner ads to reach the greatest amount of people. Your focus when it comes to banner ads is to reach the right type of people for the product or service that you're selling. One thing to keep in mind is that, if you have a limited budget, you should avoid buying banner ads altogether. If you have a big budget, banner ads can be great for branding your company. You'll be able to negotiate contracts that are long term with affiliated websites in your area of business. However, the results of click-through marketing are usually low and this makes banner ads the least cost effective of all online marketing techniques.

If you decide that you want to purchase banner ads you should focus on buying them on web pages that are very targeted. Ads are cheaper the more targeted a web page is. And the cheaper the ad the more cost effective your banner ads will be.

Another way that you can target the placement of your banner ads is to embed them in web page content. Before you purchase a banner ad find out what content the website administrators will be including on their web page that may be related to your online business. If the website uses a keyword search tool ask that your banner ads appear when key words that are linked to your product or service are typed into the search engine by visitors to the website.

Try to place your banner ads on a web page that is as deep into the website as possible. This way you'll be reaching people who are truly looking for information that relates to your business. This is a great strategy to use if you want to get the most value for your online budget. Again, if your budget for marketing is quite high, you'll want to buy banner ads on the home pages of websites so that your brand reaches a lot of people.


One of the most cost effective ways to use your online marketing budget is to buy keywords. You can find out the price of keywords that are specific to your industry at You want your keywords to be as targeted and specific as possible. Always remember the goal of your business and buy keywords that encourage people to visit your website. Keywords that are general will cost you more and at the same time will attract fewer customers to your website. Before you start buying keywords you need to look at the content of your website. You want to buy keywords that are effective for your business content and that keep people coming back to your website.