Understanding your target audience is vital for developing a marketing strategy that works. Without a particular ideal customer in mind, your efforts amount to little more than wishful thinking. There are very few niches where a business will be unopposed, and if you aren’t making efforts to refine your marketing focus to build better leads, you can be sure that your competition is. Having a great product is only part of the equation. Getting it in front of the right faces is as, if not more, important.

The different strategies to reach an audience

– Mass marketing is the least targeted and pitches a broad idea to a huge, non-targeted audience. This is traditionally achieved through large scale print, radio, and television campaigns. While it can reach an enormous number of people, it is generally considered too costly for the average eCommerce entrepreneur. It provides a large number of leads, but these are generally low quality due to the lack of targeting of audience personas. Casting a wide net can be effective for exposure, but it can also create a lot of work to wade through with less success than other methods.

– A differentiated strategy offers a different product to each market segment, aiming to capture as much attention as possible with a broad selection of expertise. This is a way of casting the wide net of mass marketing while allowing for more nuance. It is effective for companies with large product ranges and marketing budgets.

– Concentrated marketing is where small eCommerce businesses have a better chance of achieving a good ROI. It enables the business to focus its entire marketing budget on specific audience sectors and pitch more intimately to their requirements, their demand and allows a higher level of refinement in tactics. It works best in sectors that create products for very particular purposes, however, it can be adapted for broader scopes.

– Direct relies on contact with each audience member, defined through a purchased or gathered customer database. It can be useful for retaining customers with targeted offers and marketing materials, and its results are easily measurable. Direct marketing can include cart abandonment measures, with users emailed directly to lure them back to complete their transactions.

Finding your audience

A key element in marketing to the right people is figuring out who those people are. Your product may reach across many demographics and be useful in more than one way, or it could be very specifically designed. Either way, you need to develop personas. Think about the ages, professions, socio-economic backgrounds, and locations of the people who would buy your products. Each person will have their own motivation for buying, and discovering as many of these reasons as you can is vital to finding new and innovative ways to speak directly to them.

Reaching your audience

Once you have developed a range of personas, you need to understand more about how to communicate with each one. What challenges do they face? How can your product solve these issues and in what ways? Your customers might use your product in unexpected ways, which means you need to understand the different uses and normalise it through your marketing.

How it applies to an eCommerce store

eCommerce stores have a key advantage over traditional retail. Customers hand over their details virtually without question. An online store can ask for age and location and receive it without much resistance. Your store can track user purchasing habits with a number of details, such as average spend, the frequency of purchases, the types of product they use, and more. All these details make it easier to build accurate customer personas and apply concentrated marketing techniques to very specific customer styles and market segments. When used in conjunction with other channels of engagement, like Facebook and Twitter, an online store becomes a powerhouse of customer details and opens the way for incredibly accurate targeting.