Identifying the people in your target market is one of the most basic and most important aspects of becoming a successful marketer. While many people may understand the concept, there are a surprising number who never implement it. And unless you do, you probably will never become very successful in your marketing efforts.

For example, if you’re someone who’s looking for a new car, then you’ll probably pay more attention to all of the radio and TV commercials and newspaper ads for cars. But if you’re not in the market for a new car, you’ll probably “tune out” those exact same ads. They’re still there, but because they are not in line with your interests, you just don’t notice them. You r ads will only be effective to the extent that they match your potential clients’ interests.

This is why it’s inevitable that regardless of what medium you advertisement in, there will always be a certain percentage of people who, although they may see it or hear it, are not viable prospects for whatever you’re selling. Your target market should consist of people who not only need your product or service, but also have the wherewithal to pay for it. So you need to be certain that your message is directed toward and targeted only to those who are qualified prospects.

Up to this point we’ve been discussing offline advertising. Does the Internet have this same requirement? The principles are the same so the answer is a resounding yes! Although the Internet is worldwide and spans most of the globe, it is probably more important to find and then focus on your target market there than in any other medium.

However, while the principles are the same, the type of audience is vastly different. Unlike offline marketing, most of the online venues where you might advertise are not able to offer detailed demographics of their visitors or readers. While several companies are working hard to gather this kind of information, they are often frustrated in their efforts due to the fact that most people do not want to give out personal information on the web.

So without this kind of data, you’re going to have to use some common sense. You need to find out exactly whom it is that buys what you’re selling and then talk only to those people. So, with that in mind, you should start identifying a few websites where you can place an ad, or search for a newsletter that attempts to cater to your potential client base.

Once you’ve found a few places to include your ad, you need to figure out how to measure and track your results. And often it’s at this point that many people who claim to be marketers drop the ball. If you don’t know the reason behind the results you’re getting, then you won’t know what you need to do to improve those results. When it comes to online marketing, there are several ways to track where your leads are coming from. One of the easiest methods is to use an email address that is unique to that ad. If you have your own domain, usually you will have unlimited aliases that all point to the same email address. If that isn’t an option, then you could always use free email addresses.

Another suggestion is to use the web in your tracking endeavors. For instance, you could create a unique form, which sends you an email for each ad someone responds to. You could include a keyword that the visitor will never see in the form that pinpoints exactly where your prospect saw the ad

You should also consider using Newsletters. The fact is that if a newsletter has been in existence for at least a couple of years, and also has a good-sized subscriber base, then they must be doing something right. So, if your ad is not pulling, you are either in the wrong target market, or you have a poorly written ad. If the latter is the case, then here’s the best way to solve the problem. You need to identify what you’re selling and who will buy it, and then, in your ad copy, only talk to those people:

  • Pinpoint your message.
  • Pick out your prospects.
  • Talk to them individually.

And forget everyone else.

Final Suggestions

A final suggestion is to incorporate online tracking software in your advertising campaigns. Many good autoresponder services offer this feature, and you can also purchase software for this purpose. By creating a tracking link for each of your ad campaigns, you can review the tracking reports and get a true picture of how effective your ads and your ad campaigns are, as well as being able to pinpoint what is working—and what isn’t.