What To Sell Online: The Target Market Approach

Which Comes First?

Target (customer centered) or
Niche (product centered)
Marketing Analysis?

How does one go about deciding what to do for the development of a reliable source of online income when one does not already have an established off-line business to put online? There are different approaches to the solution for this issue.

I have already listed the need to assess your interests, skills, and motivation. Then do research into existing online job centers for ideas. I truly believe that the better you know yourself, the better your chances for success.


My next directional point is to consider whether or not you have a product, service, or skill that can be better developed by deciding which to develop first and how to develop it.

There are some who are ready to locate a target market while others will fare better searching areas of limited and well-defined interests (niches) that already have avid spenders.


It is important to understand how both target and niche market researches work together to improve each other.

If you start with the Target Market concept, then instead of developing the product first, you start by finding out about to WHOM you want to sell.

The Customer First Approach

A skilled marketer will start with the customer interest, first, because the customer is cash-in-hand seeking something. The marketer wants to find out about what the customer wants to buy. The marketer finds out what the customer need is and then matches it to a product. This type of product development is more apt to succeed than when first starting with product development.

To find the target market best for you, find methods to seek out those with whom you want to converse; try a newsletter or forum group; consider taking surveys of your current customers. After ascertaining who your target market is, you can then find better and more appropriate products to present.

It is important to realize that most of your business effort and time will be spent with your customers; therefore, what interests them is where you will spend most of your lucrative time.

This target market should be one in which you are knowledgeable and are very confident in directing.


A target market refers to a group of customers to whom you promote your income-producing activity (products, services, and skills).

These potential customers are grouped by the type of interests they have, by age, gender, level of education, financial capacity, geography, and any other identifying trait that enhances the likeliness that the particular targeted group will purchase what you are marketing when you specifically cater to their interests and demographics.


With target marketing, you really focus on the customer. Ultimately, it is the purchasing customer that tells you what is trendy, what is wanted, how much demand there is for an item, what price they will pay for it, and what the product’s future might become.

Primary Focus: The Potential Buyer

The primary focus is on the potential buyer by acknowledging their specific needs. This is important because most people do not buy unless they have a specific need or problem to solve.

The product developer will frequently start by first assessing the need and desire for a particular product and then choose to whom to cater (based on the segmentation analysis) as it is determined that the products that have a great value for that group.


Identifying and defining the target market involves the process of separating the mass market into manageable, disparate units based on the demographics listed above. This process is also referred to as “segmentation.”

There are other units of measure, but the traits listed above tend to be the best starting point. Various analytical and business intelligence guides are used to group potential buyers by age, gender, nationality, political inclinations, religious affiliations, and other grouping identifiers.

From a General Market to a Specific Market

The process of segmentation breaks down the general market into smaller units that enable the product developer to cater to the more specific needs and desires of the customer. This also results in the indication as to which group the product will appeal to most.

The product developer and marketer can further appeal to potential customers by further adapting the product to meet increasingly specific detailed needs and concerns of the segment being targeted.

For instance, there is pet food, and then there is rabbit food (niche); furthermore, there is nutritionally enriched rabbit food for domesticated breeding rabbits (a micro-niche). This is an instance whereby the well-defined target market leads to a well-defined niche market.

The traits analyzed are studied and mapped by the merchant promoting the product. The analytical results, delivered in reports, further indicate other trends about the product’s use, future, profitability, and competition. Furthermore, research reports can also indicate the best promotional methods and times. Most importantly, these reports can indicate who visits your website.


A strong focus on the Target Market will lead the website owner to develop web pages that use very specific words, terms, and images to attract buyers. Keywords, language, graphics, colors, and other features can be adjusted to more directly appeal to the target market. These methods are how the web pages get “optimized” for being found by search engines, and for being returned during search engine query result page positions. The more these pages are optimized to attract the target audience, the greater the sales.

Another aspect of targeting and segmenting the market is to understand how the visitor landed on your website pages. Did they get there from a search engine result page, from surfing and clicking on a banner ad, from discussions in forums, or from visiting social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and others? Once you know this answer, you can better adjust where you advertise, the form of the advertisement, and what you spend on advertising. Eventually, you can track the success of your advertising method and learn to adjust it further to gain more prospective customers.

To learn more about targeting, segmenting, and analyzing your market, you need to learn how to use tools that determine demographical information based mostly upon the visitors’ online behaviors. To do this, visit the following websites:



Do a search on Google Trends for more information regarding the optimization of your pages.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Trends