Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 9, 2014

Businesses must use niche communications online

Goshen News

---- — The days of general broadcast messages online are over. It’s important for businesses, if they want to be effective online, to identify their target audience and communicate specifically in ways that are relevant to that audience. There may be more than one target audience for a business or even a product, and each audience needs to be communicated to uniquely for maximum relevancy.

For example, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s an $18 billion sales bonanza for U.S. retailers. However, for businesses to garner their share of purchases by consumers, they need to know their audience and tailor the communication to that audience.

Men, for instance, tend to spend more than females on Valentine’s Day gifts (2013 stats $175 average for men, $88 for women). Men do this by shopping on mobile devices online, shopping in the last week leading up to Feb. 14, and they make their decision online quickly (sources: Nat. Retail Federation and Forbes).

Women, on the other hand, have a longer buying cycle as they tend to buy earlier on average and they spend more time reviewing items online. One study identifies it this way, “A guy’s purchase decision is a tactical execution, while a woman’s purchase decision is a philosophical examination.”

The bottom line is that if you try to go generic in your online messages to drive both men and women to your website, you stand a greater chance of missing both. Keys in understanding your audience include how they go about the purchase process, what appeals to them in the buying process and what type of message and information do they need in order to make a decision. For a retailer looking to increase Valentine’s Day sales they should be aware that women will do more research and they make more online purchases on a tablet than they do on a mobile phone. So having offer information out early for ladies and providing more detail to help them consider and reflect on the product and how it accomplishes their intent will be critical. At the same time, retailers need to be aware that there is still time for last minute offers to men who, as noted, tend to shop late, and the offer should be easily served via mobile devices (apps, text, email, & social media), as men do their online research and shopping more on mobile devices.

Again, it’s critical to note that it’s not simply about a generic offer. Businesses need to take into account the method, timing and even types of technology used in order to effectively reach different consumers. Having two different web pages for the same product can be an effective way to grow sales if each page is geared toward the needs of a specific audience and the digital marketing messages driving traffic to those respective landing pages appeal to the specific audience.

What’s your first doable step? Identify your product’s key audiences and how they make purchase decisions, then adjust web copy to each.

Mike Gingerich leads the Digital Marketing and Social Application divisions of web company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses.