“Everyone” is not your target customer

Aim for your target marketI consult with a lot of folks about how to market their products and services online. We may be planning a new website design, preparing for an SEO audit or discussing new channels for their web marketing efforts. I always ask them who they want to reach. In other words, who’s their target customer?

Business owners have gotten a bit savvier over the years, but occasionally I still get someone who responds with “everyone.”

If you target everyone, you’re likely to reach no one

This is especially true with online marketing. With hundreds of millions of active sites on the web, your chances of reaching anyone at all are pretty slim. Depressing news, isn’t it?

On the other hand, the more you know about your target customers, the easier it becomes to reach them online.

Let’s say I own Laura’s Garden Center & Nursery. (Hey, a girl can dream.) We sell all sorts of indoor and outdoor plants, including a huge variety of fruit trees, nut trees, flowering trees, flower bulbs, and shade trees.

Online Marketing Scenario #1:
I don’t want to miss out on any potential customers, so I decide to create a website that showcases every product we carry, from crocus bulbs to pecan trees and everything in between. We’ll ship anywhere within the continental U.S.

Online Marketing Scenario #2:
Because sales of our dwarf fruit tree varieties yield high profit margins, I’ve decided to create a website solely devoted to the sale of dwarf fruit trees. I know from talking to our customers that people tend to buy the dwarf trees because they don’t have much space. They may live in an apartment or on a 1/4 acre of land. They often grow their fruit trees in containers on patios or balconies.

Dwarf Orange Tree in a Window
By: Vassil Tzvetanov

These are hobby gardeners who like the idea of growing their own food in the little space they have. They tend to be younger, about 25-40 years old, well-educated, middle class, and they tend to live in more urban areas.

They divide their time online between checking email, reading blogs, and interacting with other hobby gardeners on various social media outlets. They can seriously lose track of time on Pinterest checking out the gardening boards. They use multiple computers and mobile devices, including desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets. They are usually on their tablets (typically an iPad) when they decide to check out Pinterest boards.

See the difference?

Targeting narrows the competition

Imagine who my competitors are in the first scenario. I would be competing against every garden center and nursery in the United States, including big retail stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart.

Now imagine who my competitors are in the second scenario. I would be competing against dwarf fruit tree specialists who are targeting young, well-educated, urban hobby gardeners who frequent social media sites like Pinterest on their iPads.

Targeting focuses your marketing plan

By defining my target customer in the second scenario, I know how to reach them.  The following action steps might be part of my plan:

  • Optimize the website for social sharing, especially Pinterest
  • Optimize the website for search engines (SEO), especially mobile SEO
  • Optimize the site for mobile-browsing with responsive web design
  • Post “How to Care for” type articles to our blog with lots of high-quality photos
  • Invite customers to post pictures of their dwarf fruit trees to our Facebook wall
  • Schedule weekly contests on Facebook and give away gardening prizes
  • Create a weekly chat on Twitter with a hashtag like #fruitchat
  • Create a community on Google+ for urban gardening and host hangouts about small-space gardening
  • Send a weekly email newsletter with urban gardening tips and special offers

Is it time to refocus your online marketing?

We can help you reexamine your target customer and how that translates to your online marketing efforts. Call 678-824-5560 or use our contact form to schedule a phone consultation.


Laura Sultan

Laura Sultan is a veteran at creating successful SEO strategies that grow small businesses. She founded Paramaya Web Consulting in 2001 and has established herself as a respected SEO professional specializing in SEO for law firms. Laura is proud to call Atlanta home where she lives with her family on a small urban farm. Outside the office, Laura enjoys gardening, hiking, birding, and nature photography.

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