as the network users are becoming more sophisticated e-tailers will have to learn how to adjust their sites to accommodate many different users.
In this article, I will explore why segmentation is so important in the new year.
With the development of our industry, we began to apply more and more traditional marketing strategies to SEM. In 2006, I think this trend will continue, and the biggest strategy that needs to be adopted will be to analyze and segment the market.
I’m already guiding some of my own clients along this path-trying to design some strategies to help their website be discovered by the right audience at the right time. This is because I believe that for them, the ability to target customers correctly is more important than a broad approach.
Consider that SEM is like fishing. A fisherman can use a larger net to cover a larger area, but in many cases, the hole left by the big net is as big as the hole that a small fish can drill out of it. This is how the Internet has worked in the past-simply building a website means that everyone-whether young or old, male or female, rich or poor-is likely to see your website.
But in today’s market, we as network marketers must become smarter. We need to have smaller nets so that although they can catch fewer fish, they can catch the right fish.
This is because search engines are being re-developed to consider these things. They realize that no single website is good for everyone, so they are adjusting the results to reflect this.
Of course there are exceptions, but in most cases I have seen, search engines are getting better and better at returning results that are more suitable for searchers.
This means that when you search for “New Jersey bankruptcy lawyers,” you won’t see big sites like Findlaw.com or lawyers.com at the top of the results. Instead, you will see the website of a New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer.
We have seen this kind of geographic segmentation happen for some time now-the engine assumes that if you use geographic qualifiers, then you must want geographic results.
But over time, we will see further refinement of these qualifiers.
We already know that men and women search in different ways, as do people of different races and income levels. Even boys and men, girls and women search differently. So, does it make sense for the engine to take advantage of this diversity?
Let me give you a practical example. We have a client and a big website dedicated to children-from games to hobbies and so on. They also have a portal for parents, covering topics from health to family travel. The client hopes to merge the two websites into one and phase out children’s websites.
Of course, I cannot effectively recommend targets for any such website.
On the contrary, I recommend that they keep the children’s website instead of transferring any content unrelated to children from the children’s website to the parent website.
Similarly, move any child-related content from the parent’s website to the child’s website. In this way, each website has a theme and a target audience.
Then, we can more effectively try to locate the sites, which are most likely to receive the most traffic.
For example, we might want to take a closer look at Ask Jeeves and Yahoo! Because these engines have more children’s audiences. From my own experience, my 10-year-old son prefers Yahoo! Any other engine. He does use Google a lot, but only to find the desktop wallpaper of his favorite band at the moment. Otherwise he will use Yahoo search!
For the parent portal, we want to focus on Google and MSN, because the chance of blocking parents here is better than in Ask or Yahoo!
So you can see here, in the long run, how analyzing their target audience (in this case, two different groups with different search habits) will benefit them.
But profiling can (and should) go further.
As a website owner, it’s helpful for you to know who your goal is, it’s not necessary. I’m not saying “women aged 25-34, with an annual income of 35,000-42,000”, I’m talking about specific points. Imagine who this woman is. Is she married? do you have any kid? Where do they live? What color are her hair and eyes?
The better you think about your target audience, the better you can position your website in front of her.
Because once you know who she is, you can start to develop her personality. When does she use search engines? What is she looking for? What prompted her to click on a list? These are the questions you must be able to answer in order to define your SEM activity. The only way to answer these questions correctly is to imagine what she looks like in your mind.
You can also use this role to gather competitive intelligence. If you can put yourself in a position to think about your role, then why not check out your competitor’s website. What do you like them? What don’t you like Perform some searches on their website and search engine. Did you find what you were looking for? What are you looking for?
The more you can make yourself behave like your target audience, the more you can position your website in front of them.
This leads me to the point I made when dealing with my clients before-do you think it is much easier to locate a child-friendly website in front of children than a more general website that deals with a wider range of topics? I hope you can see how much power you will have if you take the time early to correctly identify your target audience. I also hope that I can explain how important it is to know as many details of this person as possible. If you can give the character a face, then you have successfully determined who your goal is. Once you do this, you can position your website more effectively so that it can attract those readers at the right time.