Web Marketing: How to Define Target Customers

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

If you already have a marketing website up and running, identifying the most popular groups visiting your website is easy. Just look at the visitation statistics for the pages of your website to see the popular topics your audience is interested in.

However, if you’re just in the development phase of your website, find an industry-specific forum (a web-based discussion board) to find out what questions people are asking about your industry. The most popular topics and discussions in those forums will help you identify most popular needs — and, therefore, the most probable categories of people who will be visiting your website.

  1. Document three categories of needs.

    At least three main groups of people will always visit your website in search of a solution. For example, if you were a doctor, you could know from history that new patients come to you because they

    • Have an insurance change and are forced to find a new doctor

    • Aren’t getting their needs met with a former doctor and are looking for someone new

    • Are unhappy with the doctor staff or surroundings

  2. Identify competition.

    Using Google, search for specific keyword phrases to see what competition might be present in your area of focus. For example, if you were a doctor with a specialty in dealing with stroke victims, you would want to search Google for stroke doctor, followed by your city or even your state.

  3. Spy on your competition by pointing your browser to Quantcast and entering the URLs of competing sites in the search box.

    Continuing with the doctor scenario, you could look for the following pointed results:

    • Average number of visits per month

    • Average age

    • Percentage of male versus female visitors

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  4. Estimate revenue potential.

    Verify whether enough business exists to make that product worthwhile.

  5. Calculate potential market share.

    List the number of competitors and potential customers by region.