Site Target Marketing

In this article, we will look at some things site target marketing will help us focus on, the importance of knowing who to target when optimizing a site, the probable pay offs of knowing your target demographics, and then the factors to ignore.

Do You Want To Sell To Just One Type Of Buyer? No, you want to sell your product to anybody that can buy it. The idea is to create a perceived value. –Anonymous

Before we start an SEO campaign, we set targets. These targets include the amount of traffic you expect to get, your conversion rates, the amount of leads you expect to generate for a certain number of hits, how much work you intend to get done internally (inside your marketing team) within a specified time, etc. Target marketing, apart from helping you focus on what is important to you, helps in discerning between "noise" and "signal."  Not to get technical, but this has as many applications in search engine optimization as in "signals analysis."

When planning your site and targeting your users, the first thing to do is market research — asking yourself if the product is useful and relevant at that time. For example, would a site about rumored Apple products have an audience? Who would that audience consist of? Create a website that is focused on a particular type of audience; in the above case, it’s Apple Fanatics.

You also do competitive analysis to see whether the competition is such that you will be lost in the crowd. According to ashop commerce, "How are you going to stand out from the rest? How are you going to market yourself? What is your image? What are your goals? These are questions you need to think about when you are researching. Find out if there is truly an opportunity for your company to succeed. The worst thing you can do is simply jump in and hope for the best."

According to Hoover Web Design, a target market is described by its demographic and/or psycho-graphic profile. Demographics and psycho-graphics include many personal and social details, such as:

  1. Age groups

  2. Genders

  3. Nationalities or ethnicities

  4. Income levels

  5. Marital status

  6. Education levels

  7. Location

  8. Whether or not they have children

  9. Social or professional groupings (job, industry, social class, etc.)

  10. Interests (could be a hobby, musical preference, favorite sport, etc.)

When choosing or identifying a web site’s target market, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The size of the target market.

  2. Whether the target market is growing or shrinking.

  3. Whether or not there’s a demand for the website or online business in the particular target market.

  4. Whether or not it would be easy to monetize the target market. (For example, you wouldn’t sell high-end electronics to a low-income target market, and you wouldn’t run a content site exclusively on ad revenue if your target market is traditionally “ad blind.”)

  5. Things that influence members of the target market. (For example, would they be more responsive to paid advertising on other websites, or would they be influenced more by a referral from a friend, in which case a focus on viral marketing would be best?)

After identifying a web site’s target market, specific marketing tactics can be modeled around their influences and behaviors, saving time and money when marketing a website or online business.

Market Research

One aspect of SEO that I consider to be rather important is researching the target market for which a web site is aiming. In most traditional MBA curricula, this is done by marketing to a particular demographic or market group. However, an article by Michael Martinez recommended that a target persona should be marketed to, instead of aiming for a particular age range, income range, and people that live in a certain kind of area. With Internet marketing you instead aim for a personality type that will in turn generate publicity for you. These target persona are known as influencers and they are members of a community that your product is targeted towards.

People who browse on the Internet love control. They love controlling their web space. They have pop up blockers, ad-ware detectors, ad blindness, and they have developed selective vision to words and images that seem like ads. Internet adverts survive by ubiquity; they are just all over the place. And yet reviews are avidly read; products that are reviewed in-depth by websites like Gizmodo and devhardware generate thousands of hits. All these products are from the same companies that spend thousands of dollars on ads, but can get more bang for free when they are promoted by influencers, such as technology sites, blogs, websites like Digg, Searchie’s, Slashdot and other websites that are influencers.

After identifying where your target web audience lives, what they read, what kind of sites they visit, how much they earn, their age, what community web sites they join (most of the time by boring, tedious research), the influencers have to be identified. They include forum moderators, writers, bloggers, Diggers, and community sites like Facebook and MySpace. Once the influencers are identified, you need to target them so that they can spread the news about your product. Like i said, the initial demographics are obtained by hard, slogging research. Reports have to be obtained via traditional methods like surveys and focus groups or just studying your web site metrics – studying where your traffic comes from, checking your landing pages and how long your traffic spends on them, and also knowing the click through rates on your paid ads.

Grunt Work

Surveys, polls, focus groups, reports about buying trends, and demographics can be obtained from a variety of sources. Conscientiously searching for particular data via the search engines can help sites that have done primary market research in several industries (especially technology and telecoms). Academic documents as well companies such as Vizu, Survey Monkey and Zoomerang provide market research services. This identifies the target market.

In reaching out directly to these users, key words are put into the web site’s copy. Key words are bid on or ads are targeted towards them. Ads are purchased on web sites that they visit, magazines and papers that they read, and in shows they watch on television. This reaches out to the users directly.

To reach out to the influencers (web admins, Diggers and company), the first stage is viral marketing techniques, ebooks, videos, free copy and social media optimization targeting blogs, and community sites and forums. One such means is what I call "the payperpost phenomena," promoted by sites such as www.payperpost.com. This is the sometimes maligned (but highly effective) advertising model of having bloggers review (promote?) a product for a fee. This puts the product straight into the arms of the influencers (another great way, if you sell hardware, is simply sending your gizmo to a tech editor’s desk). Other influencers are tapped into by simply encouraging tagging links such as "Digg it" and "Slashdot it."

All the research that has been done so far now contributes to picking your keywords. Targeted keyword advertising can provide the increased online traffic you need to quickly enhance your business productivity. Keyword-specific traffic is the most precisely targeted method to drive traffic to your web site.

In setting up your campaign, you may choose up to 100 different keyword phrases that people would use to find your website, product, or service through the search engines. Keyword research will determine your organic copy, your paid search campaigns, your banner ads, the niches for which you will aim, the community sites on which you optimize, and the blogs and other social media you will try to reach.

Long Tailed Keywords

As an alternative, your SEO copy writing can target “long-tail” keywords. Long tail keywords are three- or four-keyword combinations that are very specific and usually have a lot less traffic and competition. These combinations also target users who are closer to buying a specific service or product. SEO target marketing with less competitive keywords can greatly increase both website traffic and sales conversions.

Service Delivery

An important part of target marketing is ensuring that the user gets the service delivered as promised. If it’s product delivery, how do you ensure delivery and protection of customer data? What means do you use to collect data? Is PayPal a better system than credit cards? Or should you take money orders?

An online business is far more than just a web site with a shopping cart. Unless you have totally automated (or outsourced) your delivery system, you will have to do web administration work, take orders and deliver products, and do security on the site. Hackers and malicious bots prowl the web.

Factors to be Ignored

When setting targets for your site, several factors should simply be discarded.

Do not obsess over number one rankings. When setting targets for SEO, it helps to set definite targets and to concentrate on incoming traffic and "long tail" traffic. Getting number one rankings for a competitive keyword  is a factor that is not totally within your control. With clearly defined targets you won’t have to worry about being "number one;" it’s a target you can work toward later.

Do not obsess over page rank. This is a "non-issue" I wrote about in a separate article. Obsessing over the page rank is not productive and since the PR cannot be instantaneously determined by the website, it is better to simply work on what you can control.

Wrap Up

Market research (obtained via surveys and reports) can be used to determine the demographics of the users and find influencers. It can also be used to determine keywords and help in planning the web sites delivery systems and marketing plan.

Note: The word "Influencers" is not a word, it’s a term coined by Michael Martinez.

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