The great maxim for businesses is that we know our market. It stands to reason that if you don’t know your market, as a business how can you expect to fulfill the needs of a market with your product or service if you know little to nothing about that market. For example, if your market is a group of vegetarians & you are trying to sell them beef then you’ll be out of business very soon.
For a brick & mortar store that is selling product locally the “know your market” concept is key for to their success. If you don’t understand who your market is, then how can you expect to find a location that is going to make your business accessible to that market?
With the introduction of the web, the concept of “knowing your market” becomes much more difficult to obtain. I read a great story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal that reported that many U.S. sites now draw more than half of their audiences from international visitors, but generate only about 5% of their revenue from that traffic.
Do you know who is hitting your website? If you are firm that is advertising on the web, how many potential customers are you missing out on because you are only targeting those domestic site visitors & not those visitors hitting your site from overseas? According to the WSJ story, “U.S. Web sites are waking up to a sobering reality: A huge share of their traffic now comes from overseas, but they are struggling to make money from it. Now, Internet companies big and small are scrambling their business models to try to cash in on foreign markets they have largely ignored.”
If you are a web based business or you have a web presence, how are you ensuring that you are targeting your market correctly? If you aren’t reaching your target market then you are loosing real revenue opportunities. In order to ensure you are reaching your target market via the web you need to be tracking your website. Not sure what to begin tracking? Here’s a quick list to get you started.
How many visitors are coming to your site?
Before you gather any other statistic you need to know how many people are coming to your site. Most website hosting companies can give you basic metrics like this & make sure you’re getting a figure for unique visitors & not page views or hits.
Where are your site visitors coming from?
The next important statistic is ‘where did they come from?’ If you are using a 3rd party program this information is in the referrer report. You want to know which search engines are sending you traffic & which other websites have a link that sends people to your site.
How did your visitors find your site?
You need to know what search terms your visitors are using that led them to your site. Search phrases are more helpful than search words. When you have a report that tells you what search terms are producing the highest rate of traffic from search engines, you can adjust your keywords & your website’s content so that you get more & more visitors coming in on those terms.
What are your visitors doing when they reach your site?
Behavior has always been considered the best way to predict future actions. You can work out how to improve your website to better meet your customer’s needs if you can find out: what your visitors are doing, how your visitors behave & how they buy, where your visitors click in a website, etc.
Once you have these types of statistics you’ll better understand (know) your web market & you’ll be in a position to tailor your product, service, & marketing message to fit the needs of this newly realized market. While the web adds complexity in identifying your target market, it’s a valuable asset that if & when harnessed correctly will pay off for you & your company.