In the era of mass marketing it was difficult to target your audience. Newspaper and magazine advertising covered a large sector of the population and you had to hope that your target audience was amongst the readers. At this time even the Ford Motor Company didn’t have the resources to make their advertising efficient.
The way computers can handle data and the ability of the internet to gather data means we can now target a highly segmented marketplace and create specialised content aimed at addressing specific problems.
You can target your audience by developing a detailed profile of them including demographics, psychographics (attitudes, aspirations and other psychological criteria) and identify which online platforms they regularly visit.
Identify the gender or the majority of your target market and you can be active on the social platforms popular with that gender. For example if you are targeting women you might want to start using Pinterest. If you can identify the interests of your ideal audience you can have a presence in the relevant niches and the most popular niche related sites they are likely to visit. If you can identify their online behaviour you can build a list of the social platforms and other resources they are likely to use.
You want to target people who are invested in their interests. People who have purchased their way into a membership site, signed up to Facebook groups, commented on specific blogs, or asked questions on niche related forums.
Look for strong sharing activity. Perhaps they have their own blog or an active Twitter account. Perhaps they participate in forums, or regularly share and like posts on Facebook.
Bring together all the information and create an avatar, an imaginary person that represents the most common type of customer in your niche. Once you have identified your avatar, their interests and what they do you can look for people in a similar situation and who exhibit similar behaviours as the avatar. These will be your ideal customers. These are who your marketing should be focussing on.