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The More You Know - The Better the Design
Defining Your Target Audience
Defining Your Target Audience
There are over 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web.
Of these, less than 200 million are active. The milestone of 1 billion websites was first reached in September of 2014, as confirmed
by NetCraft in October 2014.
I often have people call or write to me about a great new invention, product, or service that they came up with one night with some friends. Usually the story goes something like, “We went to dinner with some friends and it suddenly dawned on us that there is no widget for people who like to play golf in the rain!” Then they describe the widget with all the great features and how popular it could be. And sometimes the idea is not bad on its own merit.
But in this day and age, many times there is a very good reason some product doesn’t exist. So I ask them if they can define the target audience for this new product? It may be too expense to make, the market can be too small or not even there, or there’s evidence that others have tried and failed in same or similar product. And it’s hard to determine where to find the potential buyers since it’s a very unique offering in a very broad area. At the end of the day after due diligence, there just isn’t enough evidence that this product will sell. And that’s OK, maybe the next one will have some potential.
In order to be successful you have to do the research on any product or service you want to sell online. And the logical and important next step after some product comes to mind is to try and define the target audience. If you don’t do this, and do it right, your chances of success are slim. And in most cases, you also need a good USP (Unique Selling Position). And I can’t tell you how many times people have invented a solution when there is no problem to solve or no good way to market their solution.
So, What’s The Solution?
There are many different ways that you can develop a product or service to sell online. You can review the current marketplace to see if there are any popular problems to solve. Or you can design or improve some popular existing product or service to make it better, faster, or cheaper. And last you can invent something totally new that is of interest to a large group of potential customers. These three methods can be used in almost any situation and can drill down to very small niches if necessary.
So your first step is determining your perfect target audience based on some fundamental demographics like age, location, interest, male or female, etc. Once you develop a good set of criteria, you then can determine where these people hang out, information they need or want, and even test some different aspects of your product or service. You can also examine the existing companies that are successful in offering similar products or services and try to figure out why so you too can do the same.
This is where a lot of beginners go sideways. If you don’t do your research, you can end of with a great product that has no market. And without drilling down on your potential customers you won’t know how to find them or understand what they really want or need. The best way to explain the process is to use an example. So let’s take a look a possible product or service and see what we can learn.
The Simple Truth Is It’s Easy To Do It The Right Way!
Let’s say you have an interest and knowledge in a specific area like Jewelry. You like to create your own designs and have developed some skills in creating some type of jewelry like matching sets of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. But the market place has tons of people who like to do the same type of products and it’s hard to nail down any real demographics since the area is so broad and wide.
So you talk to one of your neighbors about your dilemma and they suggest you specialize in one specific area like jewelry for children, or teens. You take a quick look at the potential and while you are doing your research you notice that people with small dogs are buying jewelry for their dogs. Usually similar to a broach and they attach it to the dogs fur in various places. You have an “Aha” moment and decide to further investigate.
You do a few searches on the base term dog jewelry and see what comes up, whether there’s any evidence of sales activity, and review a few websites that offer these types of products. You search for appropriate forums about small dogs, look at all the dog related websites, and check eBay and Amazon for similar products. And it appears that there is some good numbers, you have enough information to start defining your target audience, and you have thought of a new approach. Instead of the broach like jewelry you will do the dog’s name, breed, or something unique to the dog or owner.
Keep in mind this is just a fictional scenario but it shows how you can discover a good market that has some demographics you can use to define your potential customers. You found others who are selling similar stuff, and you have come up with a new twist, custom name jewelry, and you know where to find potential buyers. There is competition, which is good in that it shows activity. And you can probably add this product line to your current website if you have one, to test the waters. Or you can throw up a new website especially designed around this product and go for it.
And This Is The Bottom Line
Now this is a view from 50,000 ft and there is a lot more details in the real world. But you can easily see how important this process is to finding potential products and services to sell online. You need the product or service, but you also need to define the potential customer, both are necessary in order to be successful. We discuss this in much more detail in our initial meeting on planning any website. And there are many variations on the example I gave above in coming up with some good possible products or services.
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