But, business that is run as a guessing game is actually a losing game. If you are shooting from the hip, you will miss 999 times out of 1000. Market studies are there to fill the gap where your knowledge falls short.
Why Focus on One Group
When you make your ecommerce website so broad that it could be for anyone, it turns out, in fact, to be for no one. Not a single person can relate to its content. The SEO is so watered down that none of the pages appear on the first pages for relevant searches. Your site is lost in space.
When you hone your focus to cater to a narrow group, you intensify and personalize your message. Your communication becomes more powerful, and customers listen to you. Not only that, they identify with your brand.
Of course, one could argue that focusing too much may leave you with a demographic group of 5 people. This is meant as a joke, but it could happen. So there is certainly a balance between focus and audience size.
Where Do Your People Hang Out?
Once you have identified your demographic group, you have to go to where your demographic group likes to hang out on the Internet. If you were them, where would you go? Make a list and start your own research. Your list is only a start of your research. What forums would they be chatting at? Which ezines and blogs are they following? You can even find out what tools they like to use -- anything that reveals a place where this particular group of people prefers to spend time.
Reaching Them the Way They Want to Be Reached
Indentifying the people, and locating where they are, only gets you half way there. Now you have to say something, and do something, to catch their attention and attract them.
People do not come online to have sales pitches thrown in their faces, any more than they enjoy a used car sales agent spitting slimy offers on questionable cars. You must relate to your target demographics person to person.
Here is a product description copy that illustrates this thought:
wrong - We have designed a jacket to withstand the coldest climates.
right - If you are going to have to bear with the coldest climates, we recommend one of our jackets.
The first example is wrong because it does not directly address the person. It depersonalizes them; minimizing their significance in the conversation.
Getting Them to Complete Your Call to Action
Now we get to the part that can be the toughest for most ecommerce professionals. You are speaking to the right people at the right place, but you must call upon them to do something that helps you achieve your business goals.
Calls to action can come in many forms. What your call of action will be depends on your goals. You could ask the user to register, or you could ask them to use an online program you have installed. Every call to action, though, should share the common goal of driving traffic to landing pages. From there you can get information from them through a contact form.
Rewarding Them So They Feel Good
You always hope your customers will return and follow another call to action, ultimately buying products or services. In order to improve your chances, you must make them feel good. There are many ways to reward a customer, incentive programs being one of them. Offer them points for their purchase, that can then be used to obtain a discount on their next purchase. The psychology of it builds a kind of artificial faithfulness to your brand. It is never as good as genuine followership, but it helps involve more people in a shorter period of time.
The Final Word
Reaching demographic groups is never easy. In fact, it is one of the great challenges in ecommerce. Identifying your customers, locating them, communicating with them, and developing a relationship with them takes time. Think through your program to achieve this before you begin. Then review your strategies at each stage along the way, analyzing how you are doing. Before you know it, this will become second nature to you.