Monday, January 5, 2009

Determining the Target Audience for Your Blog

In a recent Entrecard forum thread about advertising and rejection of ads on the basis that they are not topically related to the blog where the ad will appear, Texas Wanderer has given the best explanation:

Smart advertisers don't look at YOUR blog. They do some forward thinking about who would be visiting your blog, and is that someone that would click on their ad.

I've chuckled many times here on EC when I see someone say, "I declined their ad because it had nothing to do with the theme of my blog".

These people, while having every right to expose only "relevant" ads on their blog, don't really grasp the basics of marketing. Their blog has nothing to do with why the ad was posted there, it has to do with their readers.

A good example is one of my old web customers that sells artwork by a Christian artist. If I made them an EC card, I would NOT advertise on "artwork" blogs, yet that would be the most relevant place. Instead, I would focus on sites with Precious Moments figurines, as well as matchmaking sites for singles, hitting the ones that proclaim themselves to be Christians the most.

But an ECer who doesn't understand marketing that runs the matchmaking service might say the ad is not relevant. And they are correct- it's not. It has nothing to do with their site. People by nature just don't like when things don't revolve around them when they think they should.

A more technical explanation will be knowing your target audience as the marketing people will say. Determining your target segment involves answering the following questions some of which may not even be related to blogging but are helpful, nevertheless:
  • What is the age range of the customer who wants my product or service?
  • Which gender would be more interested in this product or service?
  • What is the income level of my potential customers?
  • What level of education do they have?
  • What is their marital or family status?
  • Is this a product or service they need or a luxury item?
  • How will they use this product or service?
  • What will draw them to this product or service? (Easy availability? Low price? Personalized attention? Special features?)
  • Which, if any, special features are most appealing?
  • What do they like or dislike about the product or service in general?
  • Is this an impulse buy or something they are saving up for?
  • What is the common method of payment for this product or service? (Cash? Credit Cards? Installment Plans?)
  • Where do they gather their decision-making information? (The Internet? Newspapers? Magazines? Books? Television?)
Now, answering these questions are not so easy. You may have the false impression that for example women are more interested in your blog because some of the women around you are. Corporations pour billions into research companies to find those answers. Well, you are not a corporation and you do not have those funds to spend. Fine! Then, think about the answers. You will at least be on the right track.


Anonymous said...

Well, its always nice when someone refers to something you said as the "best explanation". Thanks!

I've been fortunate enough to have a good friend who is a marketing director for a huge corporation share with me a lot of their tricks of the trade. He deserves all the credit, I simply parrot what I hear.

Plus, with a background in statistical analysis and election advisor for a politician, that type of work has always intrigued me and I've used a lot of it in my former field.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

And, I forgot to mention, your expansion and details are right on track. Age, gender, income, marital status, all of those plus all the others you mention are very important when it comes to cost effective advertising, or as we used to do- get votes.

Archiver said...

Politics, compared to marketing a product or service, is a higher form of marketing. For once, you cannot simply ignore a segment of the populace unless it is really marginal. Secondly, political audiences have often conflicting views yet a politician has to appeal to them also. Tough job!

Thanks for your input.

Matt said...

I have noticed a problem with your blog, you commented on my blog about duplicated content and submission to serch engines. Within your site you should make use of excerps. This means that the same post information is not duplicated over your whole site.

Thanks for your comment :)

Anonymous said...

Well stated, Archiver. Marketing people is much more difficult than simply marketing products. Even in those segments that believe the same way, there are sub-classes that feel differently about how to obtain their objectives. Its a balancing act, to say the least.

Archiver said...

Another disadvantage of marketing people is they talk, i.e. they can say no or "enough is enough" and they can have feelings. You can market the same product with a different package, color, label or quantity in different regions but humans are less flexible, even the politicians.

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