One of the benefits of marketing online is that it allows advertisers to speak to the highly specific market of their choosing. So if, for example, you represent a fertility clinic, you probably wouldn't market to men or women over 60. Instead, you would employ a technique called hypertargeting to define your target audience. Using the example of a fertility clinic above, marketers may wonder whether they should target women who have "liked" parenting pages on Facebook, those who live in certain areas or even those who fall within a certain income bracket. Marketers should be careful, though, about excluding potential customers by narrowing specifications too far.
Since there is no one-size-fits-all method to hypertargeting, the following guidelines can help you figure out how to target an audience that is broad enough to include different types of people and isn't so specific that you miss out on potential consumers.
Envision Your Perfect Consumer First
The first step in deciding how much to hypertarget is to envision your ideal customer. Think generally (Is this person male or female? What is their age range?) as well as specifically (What other brands does he or she like? Where might this ideal customer work?). By envisioning this ideal consumer, you can start thinking about what qualities in other consumers you would like to appeal to. Using the same fertility clinic example, marketers may envision a 35-year-old woman who works at a mid-level position and lives in an urban area. From this, you can extrapolate ways to target by gender, location and income level.
Next, Think About His or Her Friends and Family
Though the ideal consumer is a good place to start, marketers shouldn't limit their targeting efforts to just one type of person. Using our fertility clinic example, consider what the ideal customer's social circle looks like. Would she share this information with girlfriends of the same age and socioeconomic background? What about parents or significant others who would fall outside the original hypertargeted audience?
Think about the area you are targeting. Even though your fertility clinic may be located in the center of an urban area, would your ideal consumer have friends or relatives that live in more suburban areas? VentureBeat highlights location hypertargeting as one area where companies tend to get too specific, so make sure that you are casting a wide enough net to reach consumers.
Exclude Consumers You Are Confident Will Not Convert
Though inclusion should drive your targeting efforts, if there are segments of the population that you are fairly sure won't convert or lead to a conversion, go ahead and exclude them. While younger, married males may be interested in your fertility clinic by way of their relationships with women of childbearing age, single men over 60 likely won't be in your ideal consumer's social circle, and won't bring value to your hypertargeting efforts.
Getting your targeting in that "just right" sweet spot takes some effort, and if your campaign suffers a few misses at first, don't get discouraged. Simply keep these guidelines in mind and keep trying until you reach your Goldilocks level of "just right."
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