Whether you’re launching a simple website or a large e-commerce site, identifying a website’s target market from the start is an important step in business planning.

Successful website owners put their effort into reaching a very specific target market, sometimes without even realizing it. A webmaster can increase their chances of success by identifying their website’s target market before jumping into any marketing tactics or online advertising to increase traffic and monetize the site.

What is a Target Market?

A target market is the main audience or group of visitors (or buyers) that a webmaster or online business owner wants to reach with their website. A target market can, and should, be identified and described in detail before launching a website. This is to help tailor the site’s Internet marketing plan and marketing tactics around that target group to maximize the return on investment (ROI), which basically means getting the most for your time and money.

A target market is described by its demographic and/or psychographic profile. Demographics and psychographics include 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 website’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 is 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 revenues 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, whereas a focus on viral marketing would be best?)

After identifying a website’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.

Tell us about your website’s target market and how their background influences your marketing decisions in the comments below.

This post was originally featured on March 16, 2007.

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