The first step to selling online is to know your target audience. But identifying this audience is not always clear. While you should have an idea of who would want your products, it is not uncommon to find that your understanding of groups of people, with their shopping habits and their expectations, is off. Sometimes far away. And that's fine.
The idea that we need to know exactly who to target so that we can perfectly present our products and services is not always so logical.
Consider modeling clay (the product before it is marked). Invented in the 1930s, it was originally designed and marketed as a wallpaper cleaner. It was not until much later that the company realized that the paste resembling putty was used for art and craft projects. In 1956, the brand Play-Doh is launched. Sales have exploded. This is a good example of the absence of a target audience because he has not yet learned what he wants.
Writing for both the intended and unexpected client is fundamental to real growth. The key to writing for everyone is to be descriptive enough that you answer the widest range of questions, using simple words and graphics that do not just make people – even the experts – feel silly.
The Sugru site, shown below, nails this concept. This "moldable glue" was designed to repair common things rather than replace them.
Sugru's simple approach to educating everyone on his product line answers questions using simple icons and text. We can quickly see that the product is safe for the electronics and that it will work in cold and hot climates.
When creating product descriptions for everyone, be sure to:
- Explain both generically and specifically how the product solves the pain points. Talk to those who know the product and those who learn it.
- Includes technical specifications. These should be in list format and address common concerns and questions about how the product works, where it can be used, and the requirements for use. For example, the specifications of a laser printer should list the dimensions, power consumption, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility, and the speed of printing.
- Pictures and video of the moment. Be sure to convey the context of use, popular uses, and installation techniques. Endorsement videos can also help reach a wider audience.
- Discuss other possibilities. If the product has multiple uses, list them. For example, Duck Brand Tape is marketed for home repair, crafts and weatherization, to name a few.
- Encourage comments and questions. The best way to know how to present a product is to answer real questions. Whether it's a contact link, a form or a discussion block, allowing buyers to ask questions and share is a great way to cover many bases.
Expanding the target
Many products have more than one target audience. To recognize this is crucial. Listening to current and potential customers can help identify larger groups who might like what you have to offer.
Sugru, the moldable glue producer, is a good example of branching beyond the initial audience. Customer feedback showed that not only did users use the product for other purposes than originally intended, but that they also wanted a version for their children. Thus, Sugru has developed a safe formula for children.
Take the time to see how customers use the products. Then invite these customers to share their points of view! User-generated content is the best tool for converting more visitors into customers.
Sugru has a loyal clientele, the people who really drive the brand. "Sugru-ites" took the product line beyond being just a tool to fix things. Customers use it to make new products, such as hooks, cable handles, heat resistant handles, and more.
Emphasizing the work and pictures of others creates a sense of community and instills confidence and value. This helps you sell more at all levels. Customers order more renewable products and recommend tangible and unique items to their friends and family.