Before beginning any Internet marketing project or campaign it is crucial that define your audiences.
Whether you’re building a web site, creating an email newsletter, setting up shop on a social network, or conducting online PR, your efforts are far more likely to fail if you haven’t identified and defined who will be the recipient of your message(s).
Your first step, then, for any Internet marketing effort will be identifying the audience(s) you want to target and your second step will be researching those audiences.
You’ll want to create a profile of who those audiences are; not just their demographics, but what technology they use, how they consume information, what is their online behavior? The results of your research should be applied to your Internet marketing efforts.
Let’s say, for instance, that your audience are heavy users of instant messaging; you’d want to make it easy for them to share your content with their buddies list. If your audience loves to watch online video, then you should set up shop on YouTube and the other video sharing sites. You get the idea.
There are plenty of market research firms you can hire to help you define your targeted audiences and you can buy market research reports online. But if you haven’t got much of a budget for market research, fortunately there are a lot of free sources of research online that you can tap for your own research.
Here’s a list to help get you started:
- KnowThis – An excellent marketing research portal.
- Pew Internet & American Life Project – They conduct frequent and detailed surveys that are especially helpful in determining online behavior and technology use.
- BurstMedia’s Online Insights archive – PDFs of their online behavior research.
- HitWise Datacenter – Great data and great bloggers.
- BIGresearch – Their News section includes press releases with data highlights of their studies.
- Marketing Charts – Marketing data in chart form.
- comScore – Their Press Center section includes press releases with data highlights of their studies.