Target Markets / Audience

One of the fundamental aspects of marketing is understanding your target market. There’s the basic details of a target market like demographics (age, sex, location, education, etc.) but, on top of that, there’s things like interests, hobbies, favorite shows and the like. Because of things like Facebook, Google Adwords and AMS Advertising, online, it’s actually really easy to micro-target your readers.

In general, micro-targetting is important as it allows you to get the most out of your funds. It’s the difference between spreading flyers on baby clothes across a parking lot and going up to the few cars with baby seats in them and placing your flyer. You might miss those expecting and those without a baby seat, but you’re not wasting the flyers on people who have no interest on your flyers.

Figuring out your target market can take a bit of time, and one of the things that marketing companies / departments occasionally do is split their target markets into various ‘personalities’. So, in the case of LitRPG, you’d look at all the people who enjoy the book and separate them. You might split them into ‘younger gamer teenager who grew up playing WoW’, the ‘old school tabletoper looking to relive his tabletop glory days in his mother’s basement with friends’, the ‘gamer girl who feels isolated from generalgaming culture’ and the ‘the non-gamer who grew up on old school MUDs’. From there, you could work out their ages, their most likely social media platforms, their respective interests and then, within each, plotting out how you’d interact with them in their sales funnel.

Among the things that you’d do while figuring out your target markets is also figuring out how their likely buying behaviour and triggers. Are they early adopter? Or do they need significant amount of social proof to buy? What drives their buying behaviour and where do they get their information from?

The other thing to do if you want to get really sophisticated is work out who and where your biggest competitors are targeting. If they’ve already targeted and developed one market, it might behoove you to go after a smaller, but less targeted and untapped one. As an example, there’s a large population of female gamers that have yet to be seriously targeted by anyone in LitRPG – but a lot of those readers have to be acquired off Amazon.

Customers & Superfans

Another thing to think about is how easy it is to turn those customers into superfans. If your writing style fits any particular niche, you might want to focus your marketing on them even if it is a crowded market since what you really want are superfans, not just customers. My definition is basically a customer buys a book, maybe a series from you. A superfan will buy anything you write.

Long-term, getting superfans are the way to go – but realise that that requires a minimum level of craft and a lot of work. It’s also easy to lose them if your writing goes off in weird directions.

Fans & Tipping Points

Last thought. From my experience, there’s a tipping point in fans that sees a sudden jump in sales. I saw that with book 5 of the System Apocalypse. That was about… 12? 13 books in overall? I hit a point where I had enough fans that each release after that saw a marked increase in sales. I’ve heard the number 1,000 and 2,000 bandied about, but I can’t recall any actual documentation on that, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

In either case, focused marketing on a big enough group to hit that tipping might be more important than spreading your marketing about. It might, also, create a very insular group of fans though, so it’s worth considering if that’s something you want to see.

Anyway, various thoughts.

Sort of gives you the idea why it’s so hard for marketers to get it right if you hire them as consultants. Knowing your market is something that requires research. And really, who has the money to hire a proper marketing consultant?

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