800 352 2282 info@pilists.com


Define your target market to select an email list that convertsWe all know that direct marketing via email is potentially well worth any businesses’ time and effort. In fact, email marketing has demonstrated a whopping 4,200% ROI — that’s $42 for every $1 spent. There is one caveat, however. Your email marketing campaign is only as good as your email list. Your email list must be accurate, up-to-date and CANSPAM and CASL compliant, of course. But beyond these basics, the main criteria in selecting a direct marketing email list that converts is to first understand who you are trying to reach. This is the foundation on which profitable campaigns are built. Without this part dialed in, your email campaigns will be handicapped.

In this article we outline the steps in defining and narrowing your target market so you can select the best direct marketing email list that converts for your business.

What is the difference between a target market and target audiences?

While a target market and a target audience are related they are not interchangeable. A target market is a broad group of people that helps define your business, whereas a target audience is a subgroup of that larger group. The target market provides the field for general business decisions such as new products, pricing, packaging or shopping preferences, while the target audience is used for more practical actions such as specific marketing campaigns to a targeted subgroup. 

You can think of it as a forest and trees scenario. For example, your target market may include digital marketing experts between the ages of 25 and 40, whereas one of your target audiences that you use for an email campaign to publicize an event may be directed towards SEO female experts between the age of 25 and 40 who live in Vancouver, Canada and read SEO publications such as the Search Engine Journal (to get very specific).

In this article, we provide the steps to define and narrow your target market to a manageable group which can be further segmented for specific practical campaigns. Based on your business objective, you may decide to buy an email list based on your target market, and then segment that list into various audiences with different messaging based on audience demographic, behavioural, psychographic, or geographic information.

Analyze your products or services


The key here is to look at what you offer from a new perspective, specifically from the perspective of potential customers. The best way to get a clear picture of what you offer and who this appeals to is to analyze your offerings in steps:

  • Make a list of all your products or services
  • Expand the list to include the general benefits of your products and services
  • Break down the general benefits to more specific benefits: what specific problem does your product or service solve
  • Who are the people who benefit the most from having these problems solved by your products

Define Your Ideal Customer profile

Defining your ideal customer is where you really make the link between what you have to offer, who benefits the most and why. The result is defined as your ideal customer.

1. Look at Your Current Customer Base

After analyzing your product or service, your target market could still be extremely large. To start to narrow this down to a manageable ideal customer profile, look first to your current customer base. Identify your best customers and their general characteristics, specifically demographics such as age, gender, marital status, locations, education, income and occupation. Then define personal characteristics such as: if they are in a decision-making position and why and how often they buy your products or use your services.

2. Research Your Competitors

While examining your current customer base works for existing businesses, if you’re just starting out, you may not have this type of information. Researching your competitors is an effective method for both new and existing businesses.

Look for brands that offer comparable products or services and identify who are buying their products. This will help you define their target market. How you choose to use this information is up to you; do you target the same market or a more narrow segment of this market. If you are just starting out, targeting a clearly defined, narrow market may be more beneficial. As the saying goes, it may be better to be a big fish in a small pond than the other way around from a business perspective. While Amazon now seems to sell anything to anybody, they started out by selling books.

To Sum up

Generally, a target market is used for broad business decisions, whereas a target audience is used for practical operations such as marketing. It is important to note that a target market and a target audience could be one and the same, and your general email list may work for the campaign you have in mind to reach your business goal.

Remember, Prospects Influential are experts at this. If you need advice and tools to plan a successful direct email marketing campaign, starting by defining your target market and selecting the appropriate email list, send us a line. We’re here to help.