It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the logistics of launching a new site. Choosing the right developer, WordPress theme, host, domain name… All of these things are important to decide on and implement. (And we hope we’ve already given you much of the information you need to get your site off the ground.)
One of the biggest mistakes you can make, however, is to launch your site without considering whom, specifically, you actually want to visit and read it. In other words, you need to know your target market.
You might assume you know your target market already. If you have an idea for your business, you likely already have an example of an individual you want to help, or an image of the type of person you think will be drawn to your offerings. Taking the time to investigate these assumptions closely will not only give you insight and a solid foundation to make marketing decisions in the future, but it might save you from investing a lot of time and money into an idea that was very flawed from the start.
This is the first article in our marketing series, which will teach you specific steps to begin to understand your target market and develop a marketing plan. Today, we’ll teach you what questions you need to ask to create a testable, target market hypothesis.
Why Demographics Matter
Your target market’s demographics are the objective facts about them. Studying demographics is a way to study the qualities most people in your target market share.
Let’s look at the impact of the following characteristics on your marketing:
If this is heavily biased either way, you might find yourself wanting to make different choices surrounding your brand voice and visual design. If you’re appealing to both genders, it might become important to make more neutral choices.
Can impact choices like what social media channel makes the most sense to invest most of your energy in, the size and style of your typography, and how well optimized your site needs to be for mobile browsing.
Time zone, country, city, neighborhood. If you’re hoping to tap into a niche by ranking highly in a local search this information is crucial. There might be cross streets you’ll want to use as SEO keywords or find it’s appropriate to choose a domain name that includes your neighborhood or city. Knowing your market’s timezone will help you plan your social media so it hits a peak traffic time. Or maybe you’ll discover that you’re just meant to be big in Japan.
If you’re trying to appeal to non-native English speakers, you might want to shy away from colloquialisms in your writing or invest in a well-translated version of your main site.
If you’re marketing to college students it might be worthwhile to sponsor or participate in events on campus. If individuals in your market value self-education it might make sense to probe for their reading list or find out what other tools they use to further their skill set.
If your target market is raising children, how old are they? Is it worth it to advertise on a ‘Mommy Blog’ or in the newsletter parents get when they send their kids to college?
How much can your target market reasonably afford for your service? What are their economic priorities?
Religion, Sexual Orientation, Political Affiliation, Cultural Background:
Are there any choices you could make that could be seen as insensitive or offensive? Any ways you could accidentally alienate a large segment of your audience? Would it be beneficial to affiliate with, or sponsor a cause in a way that would let your target market know that you’re on their side? Would it be helpful for your business to comment on current events or do you need to stay neutral?
Walk through a standard day in the life of an individual you hope to appeal to. What do they do for leisure? Where and how do they spend their time?
If this is the first time you’re considering your market in an organized and formal way, it’s okay to guess at this information right off the bat. Just by thinking it through throughly, you might find holes in the assumptions you previously made, or get ideas for alternative marketing resources that didn’t occur to you originally.
In the coming weeks, we’ll cover how to identify the needs of the demographics you defined today, and how to validate that a market is one that can be tapped into and is actually large enough to support your business. Follow @wpbusinesstips on Twitter or subscribe to our mailing list to get our new posts every Thursday. New followers (through April 3rd, 2015) will be entered to win one of five copies of Blog-a-Week by Tim Priebe!