Your target audience is looking for you - they just don't know it yet. In order to help them find you, you need to target who your audience is; in other words, you need to understand who it is that would be looking for the information on your site.
Now, this should be pretty obvious; for instance, if you have a business that sells collectible Barbie dolls, then your target audience are Barbie doll collectors, right? However, I've seen a ton of websites out there that apparently believe search engines are mind readers: they should know that when you say one thing, you actually mean another.
Search engines are not mind readers; they're basically computer programs, and search engines need a bit of help in order to find your site and connect your potential customers/audience to your information/business.
That's where targeting your audience comes in. In order to create a searchable site, you must know who you are writing for. Your target audience knows what they want and what they are searching for, and you must know what that is before you can deliver what they want.
It's relatively simple to determine who your target is and what they want;it just takes a bit of pre-planning that will really pay off in the end. Here are some quick and easy steps to help you in this process:
- Network. Your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances are invaluable resources when trying to figure out who your target audience might be. Ask them questions about what they might search for in your targeted topic, what they're looking for, what they wouldn't look for, etc.
- Research. Check out your local library and peruse industry trade newspapers or magazines that pertain to your particular topic, or read newspapers online. See what the industry "buzz" is about. You might want to think about subscribing to these resources if your topic is one that relies on current, changing information.
- Join. The Internet is an utterly fantastic resource for topic research. Browse around for discussion groups , and see what people are talking about. Look for groups that have a lot of members, and keep track of the subjects discussed.
Now that you know who your target audience might be, you need to choose the keywords and phrases that they most likely will be searching for. One of the very first places I go to on the Web when figuring out the best keywords and phrases for whatever copy I might be writing is Digital Point's Keyword Suggestion Tool. This is an absolutely invaluable resource for coming up with good key phrases and figuring out what works and what doesn't in regards to your target audience.
In conclusion, remember these three things when developing your target audience internet marketing strategy:
- Do your research. Don't automatically assume that what you search for is what your audience searches for.
- Get involved. Man is not an island. Network with people in your field or industry to truly understand what might be in demand, and then you can target your audience accordingly.
- Write good content. Easier said than done, but I guarantee that the more time you spend researching key phrases and writing thoughtful content, the more people will be able to find your site.