Targeting using a Mind Map
When trying to find your target audience for your product or service, use a technique called mind-mapping. It will help you think outside the box.
For instance, it would be normal for a business like http://www.nationalgolfer.com to think its targeted audience online is anybody who plays golf and can use their products to improve their game. Although this would seem on the surface to be an absolutely correct assumption, let’s examine this assumption in further detail by mind-mapping or as I like to call it “thinking in a non-linear way.”
Normally a piece of paper is used to set down things in outline form. This is great if you are writing a “structured” how-to manual but for finding who your target audience is, outlining tends to narrow your scope and doesn’t let your brain see the broader picture.
That’s why taking a blank piece of paper and putting in the middle of the sheet the words “target audience” tells the creative part of your brain, “OK, it’s your turn now to supply data.”
From the words, “target audience,” lines are drawn radiating out from it. Like a sunburst. One in each corner with lines in between or you can wait to draw the lines as you think of new things. On one line put male and another line would be female. Next, think about who your consumer is in further detail such as:
==> What is the age of male or female?
Put age on your new lines with the numbers 5 – 100. Since this too generic you need to further refine your thinking so your next question might be:
==> Who out of the age group is most likely to buy?
For our golfing example, this would probably be people from 20 to 85. While this statement is true, it is still too generic for targeted marketing unless you like the scatter-gun approach. So you take your thinking (mind mapping) a step farther and put another line branching out from the age line with the word “profile” on it.
From this profile line for men, you draw several more lines. And, put:
1. Men 20 to 85 who want to improve their golf game.
2. Have disposable income and play regularly.
But if you envision these men in more detail, you know they aren’t your best targeted audience because their shopping habits are:
– Going to a golf store to be fitted and/or
– A pro-shop at their local golf club to buy.
Occasionally, they might click on a golf site but it’s more to find out technical facts about different products than to buy.
Now, the lines for women might have the same profile as the men but with one exception and this is where you start thinking outside the box.
What about all the women who don’t play golf? Why would she be interested in your golf products? Maybe because she is living with a golf nut and has to buy something for this person on birthdays, Christmas and/or even Valentine’s day.
She is your best target audience because she has disposable income and will take the time to shop online. But only, if your site is geared towards her and her level of knowledge. Otherwise, you can kiss this huge consumer base goodbye. The products on your golf site should be items she can give as gifts and/or give her the opportunity to purchase gift certificates.
If you hadn’t done the mind mapping technique, you might not even have considered her as a potential customer.
As you can see, it is extremely important to mind map so you know who your target audience is before you start marketing. And, if your sales aren’t what you think they should be, mind map each page of your web site based on your newly discovered target audience and see where you content needs improving.
Once you use this technique, you’ll agree “mind mapping” allows you to think outside the box and on the Internet, this isn’t a bad thing because nothing is ever static.
Judith Tramayne-Barth’s site is http://www.agoodread.com which has free books, articles and link pages you’ll love. She also writes excellent “how-to” books.