An understanding of your target audience is as important—maybe even more important—than understanding the product or service you’re marketing. Here are some ways to find out who they are… and then find out who they really are.
Understanding Your Prospect
As I see it, there are two possible scenarios for an internet marketer or any kind of entrepreneur or small businessperson:
(a) You want to market a product or service that’s already being marketed by others, or
(b) You want to market an entirely new product or service
In either case, it’s ideal to have a full understanding of the typical target prospect for the product. By “full understanding,” I mean not only their age range and gender, but also such things as the problem that the product or service solves for them and their attitude or emotion toward the problem.
The better you know your audience, the more effective you can make the copy for your ads, your landing pages, sales pages and emails to them. Being aware of your prospects’ inner thoughts and feelings, could truly reach and engage them.
That sounds like it might be a lot of work, doesn’t it? You’re right. It can be time-consuming as well as expensive. But it can be just as expensive and disappointing to launch a product for which you’ve not done sufficient market research. You can’t always assume you know who the audience for your product is.
A Currently Successful Product
If you’re thinking of marketing a product that others have already done so successfully, it’s not really all that important to understand the audience… at first. If the product is selling well, someone else has already figured out the audience and how to appeal to them.
Let’s say, for instance, it’s a weight-loss product. You could Google it and find the home page for the product. Sign up for their newsletter or emails. Start getting a feel for how they speak to their audience. They will surely market their products to you in the emails or newsletter. Click the links. Visit the sales page. Get familiar with how they sell it.
When you create your own landing and sales pages, model them after existing ones. I am not suggesting you copy them, but you can create a similar headline and content. In some cases, as an affiliate for a product, the company will provide you with tested, high-converting landing and sales pages. This is what we do at MOBE.
A Totally New Product
If you’re preparing to market a completely new product or service, again, it’s going to be one of two scenarios: (a) something unique and never-before-seen or (b) something new that’s similar to something that already exists.
I can think of few new products or services that fall under (a). Most are more or less (b).
I would say that the more unique and innovative your product or service, the more necessary it is to have solid market research. There are two ways to go: either hire a market research company or do it yourself. The first can be expensive and the second can be time-consuming.
Let’s say you’re going to spend the time rather than the money. Prepare to hit the streets or the phones and survey people. This is called primary research—the data you collect directly from your target audience.
If it’s a consumer product, then you will be talking to a general range of the public. If it’s a product for business, then you will want to speak to people who work in industries your product could serve. You should have some initial idea of who your target audience is but, with market research, you may discover it’s wider, narrower or otherwise different than what you thought.
When contacting a survey prospect, you would give a brief description of the product. Then you would ask the person questions such as:
- What problem does this product solve for you?
- Do you already use a different product to solve that problem? If so, which one?
- How much do you pay for that solution? How much would you be willing to pay for this solution?
- Survey the product name by having a list of four or five possible names. See which one gets the most agreement.
Create survey questions that reveal peoples’ perceptions of why they need or want the product, how they would acquire it, how often, etc. For business prospects, get their titles. For consumer prospects, get their age range.
There is also secondary research, which has to do with particular industries, statistics, trends, and perhaps even social and political data. It depends on the product and the audience for it.
If you’ve already got a list of customers or clients, you can survey them about your new product using an online survey form like Wufoo.com.
Similar Rather Than Unique
More often, rather than being totally unique, most “new” products are similar to something already being marketed—perhaps an improvement upon an existing product. Figure out how to reach the people who are already interested or using the product and advertise it in the same places.
The quickest way to do this is to use a service that tracks advertising information. It’s referred to as “spying” on your competition’s ad campaigns. Google it and you will find services that provide it. It’s common, ethical and you can bet that even if you’re not using it, your competition is.
Easiest Way By Far to Identify Your Audience
Particularly with online marketing, when you’re selling to people who are already interested in and buying similar products, you may not know exactly who the audience is. But you can eventually identify them.
Just create your copy, set up your funnel and start advertising. Once you’ve got a list built, you can survey them and discover who they actually are. With that information, you can tailor your copy and funnel to appeal to that audience even more strongly, which will get you more new leads and sales from that particular group.
I speak from experience on this one. A few years back, I’d sold several thousand copies of a particular product. I’d assumed that, since I was a young Internet entrepreneur, the people who were buying my front-end product were also probably in my age bracket. In one of my follow-up emails to my list, I included a survey to find out who they were.
Wow, was I off the mark. The vast majority of them were U.S. baby boomers in their late 40s, 50s and beyond.
So, discover where your competition advertises and market there. Build your list. Get to know them. Fine tune your messages to them and get even greater engagement and sales.