Posted on August 25, 2000
by Bob Osgoodby
Identifying your target market is one of the things you should
have learned in Marketing 101, no matter what school you
attended. Many of us attend the "School of Hard Knocks",
and if you don't learn it there, you probably never will be
successful in your marketing efforts.
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Now let's think a little. Would you really try to sell summer
clothing in the middle of the winter? Not many people would.
Why? There is little if any market for summer clothes in
How about winter coats in the Bahamas - sure an occasional "snow
bird" might buy one, or a Bahamian, who was travelling north.
But to open a store that sold nothing but winter clothing there
should not be on the top of your priority list.
Why is the answer to both of the above no? Simple - they don't
match your target market. Your target market should consist of
people who not only need your product or service, but also have
the wherewithal to pay for it.
Does the Internet have this same requirement? Sure - while the
Internet is worldwide and covers most of the globe, it is
probably more important to find your target market there than
Most places you might advertise in don't have detailed
demographics on their visitors or readers. Some companies are
trying to get this information, but it is a long uphill battle as
most people are unwilling to give out personal information on the
This is one instance where you have to use some common sense.
While you may not have detailed demographics available, there are
some things you can do to sharpen the focus a bit. If you were
selling a health product geared toward older people, you can
automatically rule out the "kiddie sites" or ones that appeal
to a young crowd such as the sites where you download free music.
Web Sites or Newsletters that specialize in humor are normally a
"no-no" as the grind of getting two or three jokes out a day,
will guarantee that they will publish some that will offend
somebody. It is also one of the least targeted. Don't get me
wrong here. Humor has its place as long as it is in good taste,
is not offensive, and is part of a publication that reaches a
So, using some common sense, you identify either some web sites
where you can place an ad, or a newsletter that appears to cater
to your potential client base.
The next step is tracking your results. This is where many
budding entrepreneurs miss the boat. There are a number of ways
to track where your inquiries are coming from. Probably the
easiest is to give an email address which is unique to that ad.
If you have your own domain, you most likely have unlimited
aliases that all come to the same email address. AOL gives you
multiple email addresses, and if all else fails, get yourself a
supply of free email addresses.
You can also use the web to help in your tracking. Designing a
unique form, which sends you an email for each ad someone
responds to, is not an overwhelming task. You can build a
keyword right into the form, that the person filling it out will
never see, that lets you know exactly where they saw the ad.
Newsletters are a good choice. If a newsletter has been around
for awhile, and has a decent number of subscribers, they are
doing something right. If your ad is not pulling, odds are
either you are in the wrong target market, or have a crummy ad.
The first mistake someone might make is confusing subscribers
with potential customers. One newsletter with 500,000
subscribers may produce minimal results, while another with only
a thousand or so, may produce a lot. Here is where you have to
determine if the newsletter you are considering is reaching your
target market. If it is, and you have a decent product or
service, which is affordable to those you are trying to reach,
you will do business.
Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter
Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com/business to
subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from
Larry Dotson, when you visit http://www.ldpublishing.com