Precision Marketing: Define, Learn, and Create Your Target Audience - article

One of the biggest mistakes authors make when starting to market their books is believing that they will appeal to "everyone." In today's society of copious information and thousands of products in the marketplace, it's imperative that authors define who will likely notice, purchase, and pass along the news of their products.

"Without being tuned to their target market, authors risk focusing on the wrong marketing activities..."

Potential readers have numerous options when it comes to their purchasing, so the challenge is connecting with the right people at the right time at the right place. Without being tuned to their target market, authors risk focusing on the wrong marketing activities, setting the wrong prices, and ultimately, not getting book sales. Have you determined your target market? If not, begin to define, learn, and create your target market. Not sure where to start? Read on.


An excellent way to begin defining your target market is with demographics. Demographics refer to basic information about a person, such as age, gender, education, income, marital status, and ethnic or religious background. This information can tell you a lot about where your target will be found, how much discretionary income they have to spend, and what media outlets they may be using. For example, a sixteen-year-old would probably not frequent the same places, have the same financial responsibilities, or read the same publications as a thirty-two-year-old.

As soon as you've defined demographics, it's time to look at psychographics. Psychographics refer to a person's attitudes, values, personality, interests, or lifestyle. Here's an example of a psychographic observation: The target market for my book values health and wellness, and exercises on a regular basis. This statement can help you definitively understand more about your target market's habits, how to reach them, and which messaging will resonate.


After you've defined your market segment, the next step is to immerse yourself into the lives of your potential customers. Where do they eat dinner? What colors will appeal to them? Do they prefer to get their news from the newspaper or blogs? Go to the places your target consumer visits, find conventions that interest them, and get press coverage in the publications they read. In this way, you are reaching out to your audience systematically, instead of throwing around undivided publicity that reaches only a small percentage of those who would actually be interested in your book.

When you meet people who fit your market segment, don't hesitate to ask questions about what they look for in the books they read and where they get their books. Some may prefer brick-and-mortar stores, while others would rather download eBooks. Find out why a consumer from your target market would seek out your book. If your target prefers a leisurely read, their style of reading and buying books may differ from those reading to learn. Understanding what motivates your consumers to buy and read will help you connect with them more precisely and meaningfully.

"Whatever it is you want to say to your consumer, it must be constant."


Once you've learned about your target, turn what motivates them into a message. Within each target, it's important to make sure a consistent message is being conveyed to the consumer whenever you have the opportunity to make an impression. Your business cards have to have the same feel as your book cover and advertisements. Even your book signings must convey the same brand message. Whatever it is you want to say to your consumer, it must be constant. When your target is confused, they are less likely to purchase your book because they are unsure whether or not it's for them.

If, after you've defined and studied your target market, you feel that you aren't reaching enough consumers or the right readers for your book, go back and refine your audience. Also, consider secondary audiences. For example, a book with a primary target audience of preteens might also have parents of preteens as a secondary audience. Including a secondary market into your marketing efforts can increase your reach to the public quite a bit.

Finding the right people at the right place at the right time and targeting them with a creative and consistent message can make all the difference in the successful selling of your book. Researching and defining your target market will help you stay focused on your marketing efforts and will help you avoid using your resources in a non-productive way.

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