Finding the Perfect Target Audience for Your Online Store

Your online store and product may not appeal to everyone in the world – and that's okay! Learn how to determine your target audience so you can cater your marketing plan and web design to their unique needs and preferences, and you'll be on the way to online success.

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In a perfect world, everyone would naturally be drawn to your online store. No matter what the demographic, your design and products would immediately resonate. Wouldn't that be nice? Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world!

With the vast selection that consumers have online these days, companies need to do more to gain customers. Think about it from your own perspective – are you more likely to buy from a store that tries to be everything to everyone or a store dedicated to your personal needs and interests? Consumers reward the effort that companies put into understanding and serving them as individuals. To garner attention and favor you need to put some extra effort into your marketing, and a big part of that is determining your target audience and figuring out how to cater to their needs and desires.


Why and how should I determine my target audience?

Once you know who you are focusing on, your company’s marketing decisions will come much easier. What one consumer loves, another may hate, so you want to make sure your design, wording, imagery and overall brand is in line with the needs and tastes of your precise target audience.

Here are the preliminary questions you need to ask yourself:

Once you've deciphered your target audience, you'll be able to show them what they want to see, tell them what they want to hear and be more likely to make the sale because of it. This is not to say you should lie or twist your words, but there are many ways to deliver the same message. "Yo! Look at my awesome stuff!" sounds a lot different than "Hello there, please feel free to take a look around my online store," but the underlying message of both is the same.


How do I put this into action for my online business?

Once you have your target audience defined it's important to make sure that every aspect of your site (design, layout, products, text, pricing, promotions, etc.) aligns with the vision of your target audience., One way to make sure your site's on track is to test your assumptions on real people. The best way to do this is to create a focus group of people meeting your target audience profile. These testers can check out your site's journey from homepage to purchase so you can get some good feedback on what you are doing right and what you need to improve. Gather friends and family who fit your target audience and kindly ask them to take a few minutes to walk through your website and give you some honest feedback.

Here are some questions you can ask:

Take this feedback to heart. If the group you gathered didn't seem as interested in your site and products as you thought they'd be, it might be time to go back to square one and reassess the audience you are marketing to.


As Lincoln famously said, "You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” Take this to heart as you embark on your targeting process. A strong target audience can drive profits and provide excellent structure for your online store's strategy. And once you have your audience identified, your online business will reap the benefit of intelligent, unique marketing. Yup, it'll take some work. But as any expert will tell you, it's well worth the effort.


Emily Teachout

Emily Teachout was a Social Media writer and professional at Volusion.