Knowing the intricate nuances of your target market plays a crucial role in the performance of any eCommerce business.

Because there are so many competitors out there selling a similar product as you, you need to make your products stand out and speak to your potential customers and current customers. That way, they buy from you over the guy down the street (web). 

Failing to put the work in doing the research and doing the testing may mean pushing the wrong messaging and wrong visuals to your intended buyers. Which means a lot of wasted time and money.

Know Who You’re Marketing To

It is incredibly hard to succeed as a business if your target audience is not clearly defined.

A big mistake beginner business owners make is trying to market to everyone. That is, using the same messaging and visuals towards each demographic cluster. 

The problem is that a universal marketing strategy does not exist in today’s age.

Why bother marketing to consumers who are unlikely to buy your product? You’ll end up spreading your budget too thin.

Aim for consumers who are most likely to connect with your brand. This is the best way to use your marketing dollars and your best chance of succeeding in such a vicious industry. 

What is “Target Market”?

You can find several variations of the target market definition on the internet.

I find Shopify’s definition is one of the most accurate:

“A target market is a group of consumers or organizations most likely to buy a company’s products or services. Because those buyers are likely to want or need a company’s offerings, it makes the most sense for the company to focus its marketing efforts on reaching them. Marketing to these buyers is the most effective and efficient approach. The alternative – marketing to everyone – is inefficient and expensive.”

-Shopify

Why Do I Need To Know My Target Market?

How can you sell to consumers if you have no idea what they want or need?

Each person has different demographic qualities, interests, and pain points.

Selling without a target market is like traveling without a specific destination. You’ll likely get lost and never achieve the goals of your journey.

On the other hand, if you target the right audience, success will be well within reach.

If you find an untapped market, you can even disrupt the market.

Let’s take a look at this recent success story.

Do it like the Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club took the shaving industry by storm. It completely disrupted the personal grooming market.

How did it do this?

First, it found an untapped market. And which market is that, you ask?

It’s the men who don’t like the hassles of going out to buy razors and grooming products.

During that time, all sellers of razors and male grooming products required their customers to come to their stores.

Disruption is the Key to Rapid Growth

The Dollar Shave Club’s business model changed the face of the male grooming industry forever.

The company sends its subscribers razors and grooming products delivered to their house. Subscribers only have to pay a small monthly fee in return.

The Dollar Shave Club then topped this off with its memorable and catchy tag line, “our blades are f***ing great!”

The Dollar Shave Club became a well-known brand in the US within a few months.

It owed half of its success to its business model. The other half was thanks to it choosing the right target market.

How Do I Find My Target Market For My eCommerce Business?

The process of identifying your target market can be broken down into the four steps listed below:

Step 1: Define Your Target Market

This first step is all about identifying the problem you solve or the desire you fulfill.

You need to know the pain points you want your marketing to aim for.

Consider these tools and areas during your research:

  • Amazon Reviews – look at the negative review and positive reviews of a similar product a competitor is selling. See what works and what doesn’t.
  • Quora – a Q&A board where you can see what people are struggling with or curious about in the topic your product is in.
  • Answer the Public – displays all the questions people ask online about any term or topic.
  • Facebook Insights – input a Facebook page of a global company that caters to a similar target audience and see the interests and demographic information about them.

Write down all the key information you find in these platforms, specifically:

  • what are the biggest pain points people are having?
  • what is the goal people are looking to achieve?
  • how does the product make them feel?
  • what brands, books, known individuals are mentioned?
  • what demographic and psychographic patterns to do you see?

Let’s say your service delivers razors and other male grooming products to subscribers.

Who would be your ideal target audience?

You can target working adult males who are too busy to go to the department store only to buy a razor.

You can then use this to create your buyer persona. Buyer personas make it easier to make your marketing, product, and packaging have the same target. 

Let’s say that our buyer persona is John, a 31-year-old working father of two.

Step 2: Refine Your Target Market

Now that you have a buyer persona, it’s time to refine it.

You need to factor in the demographics and psychographics of your potential customers so you can get into their heads. 

Demographics can include gender, age, income level, education level, marital status, and the like.

Psychographics can include behaviors, attitudes, and the like.

Here are some examples of how to refine the buyer persona we’ve created above:

  • John, a 31-year-old working father of two who is separated and takes care of the kids on his own
  • John, a 31-year-old working father of two with a stay-at-home wife who does the shopping for him
  • John, a 31-year-old working father of two who is rich and has a housekeeper who buys groceries for the family

Step 3: Validate Your Target Market

Now that you have refined your buyer persona, it’s time to check its validity.

How? You do some old-fashioned research.

Proper market research is needed to ensure that there are no major flaws in your chosen target market.

So far, you’ve built your buyer persona based on assumptions. It’s time to put those assumptions to the test.

Here are some of the questions you should answer to ensure the eligibility of your target audience:

  • Are there enough people in your target market segment?
  • Can they afford your price tag?
  • Are there existing competitors?
  • Can you deal with them?

Step 4: Evaluate Your Target Market

Let’s say the research supports the validity of your target market.

Don’t jump the gun just yet. Don’t forget to test the waters.

Create a test launch were you try to sell only a few products here and there.

Or you can test it by talking to individuals who fit your target market. This means actually going out there to find multiple “Johns”.

If the results are positive, then you’re good to go.

If they’re disappointing, use the findings to refine and adjust your strategies.

The bottom line is that you have products you want to sell, but you can’t market to everyone.

No business has the budget for that.

To spend your marketing budget efficiently, you need to find the right target audience.

You need to find the segment of consumers who need and/or want your product. This will allow you to maximize the conversion rate of your marketing efforts.

Don’t make the novice mistake of ignoring this crucial step. Put in the work and figure out your target audience. It will be well worth it down the road.