When it comes to marketing, if you’re trying to talk to everybody, you’re going to have a difficult time reaching anybody. Vague and generic messages are far less likely to resonate with audiences than specific, direct communication – which is why targeting in marketing is so important.
In this article:
What Is Targeting in Marketing?
Targeting in marketing is a strategy that breaks a large market into smaller segments to concentrate on a specific group of customers within that audience. It defines a segment of customers based on their unique characteristics and focuses solely on serving them.
Instead of trying to reach an entire market, a brand uses target marketing to put their energy into connecting with a specific, defined group within that market.
The four main types of market segmentation are:
- Demographic segmentation: age, gender, education, marital status, race, religion, etc.
- Psychographic segmentation: values, beliefs, interests, personality, lifestyle, etc.
- Behavioral segmentation: purchasing or spending habits, user status, brand interactions, etc.
- Geographic Areas: neighborhood, area code, city, region, country, etc.
A brand might also leverage business segmentation, taking into consideration things like industry, company size, or annual revenue.
Through market segmentation, brands get more specific about their target market. They can focus on a small group of customers who will be most likely to benefit from and enjoy their products.
For example, a brand that sells day planners may decide to focus on a smaller, specific target market. Instead of marketing to the masses, they may focus solely on selling planners to female business owners. Or they could choose to exclusively market to high school teachers. Both examples are smaller, more specific segments of the day planner’s potential market.
Why Is Targeting in Marketing So Important?
Targeting in marketing is important because it’s a part of a holistic marketing strategy. It impacts advertising, as well as customer experience, branding, and business operations. When your company focuses on target market segmentation, you can do the following:
Speak directly to a defined audience. Marketing messages resonate more deeply with audiences when readers can relate directly to the information. Brands that have a large, varied market of customers often struggle with creating marketing campaigns that speak directly to their audience. Because their viewers are very different, few slogans or stories can resonate with each person on a personal level. Through target marketing, you can alleviate this problem and focus on crafting messages for one specific audience.
Attract and convert high-quality leads. When you speak directly to the people you want to target, you are more likely to attract the right people. Your marketing will more effectively reach the people most likely to want to do business with you. When you connect with the right people, you are then more likely to get high-quality, qualified leads that will turn into paying customers.
Differentiate your brand from competitors. When you stop trying to speak to every customer in your market and start focusing on a smaller segment of that audience, you also start to stand out from competitors in your industry. When customers can clearly identify with your brand and your unique selling propositions, they will choose you over a competitor that isn’t specifically speaking to or targeting them. You can use your positioning in marketing to make your brand more well-known and unique.
Build deeper customer loyalty. The ability to stand out from competitors by reaching your customers on a more personal, human level also creates longer-lasting relationships. When customers identify with your brand and feel like you are an advocate for their specific perspectives and needs, they will likely be more loyal to your brand and continue to do business with you over a longer period of time.
Improve products and services. Knowing your customers more intimately also helps you look at your products and services in a new way. When you have a deep understanding of your target audience, you can put yourself in their shoes and see how you can improve your offerings. You can see what features you can add to better serve your customers.
Stay focused. Finally, the benefit of using targeting in marketing is that it also serves to help your brand and team. Target marketing allows you to get more specific about your marketing strategies, initiatives, and direction of your brand. It helps you clarify your vision and get everyone in the organization on the same page. You have more direction when it comes to shaping upcoming plans for both marketing and the business as a whole. A focused approach helps you fully optimize your resources, time, and budget.
Related Reading: What is SEO? A Get-Started Guide
What You Need Before You Start Target Marketing
Using targeting in marketing serves both customers and brands. It improves product development and operations, and it allows a brand to differentiate itself, stand out, and make a bigger impact. But before you start target marketing, you need something important.
A buyer persona is a description of a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer. It is a detailed summary of the characteristics, qualities, and habits of a person who is in your target audience.
Knowing your ideal audience helps you decide which target markets to focus on. When you deeply know your ideal customer, you can identify ways to segment them into a more defined audience.
To create a buyer persona, you need to imagine your ideal customer and describe their:
- Professional roles
- Values and goals
- Sources of influence
- Buying decisions
For help with creating audience personas, use Alexa’s free buyer persona template to build a complete description of your ideal customer.
As you create a buyer persona, don’t guess at the details that describe your ideal target customer. To be successful at targeting in marketing, use real data and facts to form your buyer persona. Perform research to learn about your ideal customers.
- Conduct interviews with your former and current customers.
- Talk to your sales team and find out what trends they see and experience.
- Track data on your point of sale systems and web analytics.
- Engage in social listening on social media to see what conversations customers have about your brand and industry.
Another way to learn about your audience is by using Alexa’s research tools.
Use Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool to see what websites your audience visits. Enter your site or up to 10 competitors in the Audience Overlap Tool to produce a map of sites that all share a similar audience. This information allows you see what other websites your target audience visits and helps you understand where they get information, inspiration, products, and services.
Use Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool to uncover audience interests. When you know what other sites your audience visits, you can also learn more about them. You can make educated assumptions about who they are and what interests they have by looking closely at the other sites they use. For example, using the similar websites map for daydesigner.com, you can see that audiences also visit intentionalmoms.com and momssmallvictories.com. Therefore, you can determine that the audience includes mothers. (This information can also help you identify an opportunity for a target market: moms who use day planners.)
While using the tool, if you aren’t sure what a website is about based on the URL, click on the site. From there, you can visit the site or use other Alexa tools to get more information as it relates to the site’s keywords, backlinks, and traffic.
Use Alexa’s Site Overview Tool to see audience demographics. To get an idea of who is using a website, enter your site or one of your competitors into the Site Overview Tool. The report will provide insights into the gender, education, income, age, and ethnicity of the target website’s audience, helping you identify key characteristics about readers.
How to Identify Target Market Opportunities
A detailed buyer persona is essential for helping you identify ways to use targeting in marketing and drill down into a more specific niche market. Here are two other tactics that help you identify opportunities within target markets.
Use Alexa’s Site Keywords Tool to look for trends. Enter your site or a site of a competitor into Alexa’s Site Keywords Tool to produce a report on the top keywords that send the most search traffic to the target site. Seeing what terms audiences use can give you inspiration for target marketing. For example, daydesigner.com might see that many people are searching for “printables” and “PDF” and then decide to create a niche market for downloadable calendars.
Use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool to see what industry terms your audience uses. This tool helps you see what trends are related to your products and offerings. Enter a phrase closely related to your business into the Keyword Difficulty Tool. Use the report to look for trends that show a need in the market. Daydesigner.com, for example, could see that people are searching for “academic” and “teacher” planners and may identify an education market it could tap into.
How to Use Target Marketing to Improve Your Strategy
Now that you know what you need to create a buyer persona and identify opportunities for targeting in marketing, let’s look at how you can execute strategies based on this information. Here are a few marketing targeting examples and channels your brand can improve.
Marketing Communication: Improve your marketing messages by using the language your audience uses. When you intimately know your audience, you know the right ways to write content for a website, create copy for social media posts, and use words that connect and resonate with your audience.
Content Marketing: Produce more valuable, targeted content by focusing on your audience’s unique interests and needs. Instead of creating generic blog posts, e-books, and infographics that your audience won’t notice, improve your content marketing efforts by developing content that targets their specific desires, fears, and wants.
Learn more: How to Use Content Mapping to Create Effective Content
SEO: Improve the likelihood your ideal audience will find your brand via search by optimizing your content for the best keywords your audience searches for. Targeting in marketing helps you identify the phrases and words your audience uses so you can target those terms and drive traffic back to your website.
Learn more: How to Do Keyword Research: A Comprehensive Guide
Paid Search: Also drive more traffic to your website by targeting the right keywords through paid search. Focus on the buyer keywords you have identified through your research to catch your target audience at the time they are ready to purchase.
Learn more: What Is SEM? A Guide to Paid Search Engine Marketing
Email: Use targeting in marketing to send emails to the right people, at the right time, with the right content for their stage of the purchase funnel. Using what you know about your customer, outline their buying decision process, and identify the places where you can use email to guide them through their journey.
Display Ads: Use your knowledge of your audience to identify sites where you should place display ads. You can make sure your ads are only in places where your audience will see them by choosing to advertise on the sites you know they visit.
Guest Blogging: Also catch attention on other sites by guest posting on sites you know your ideal audience visits. Use what you know about your audience to find strategic guest blogging opportunities that will put your brand in front of your target customers.
Learn more: Guest Posting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started
Improve Your Targeting in Marketing Plans Today
Targeting in marketing serves brands and consumers. It improves marketing strategies and audience experiences, builds brand awareness and loyalty, and even leads to better products and services. Plus, target marketing makes it easier for brands to reach audiences in an authentic, more meaningful and personal way.
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So if you’re struggling to stand out in a sea of similar products and services, try using this tactic to grow your business and connect with more customers.
And get help with launching your target marketing strategies by signing up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. The plan includes the market and audience research tools mentioned in this post along with more than a dozen tools to improve your upcoming marketing, SEO, and content plans.
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