There’s someone out there who just loves what you’ve got for sale, and it’s time to zero in on them.

audience photoHere’s what to do:

Let’s start with your current customers. Who are they? Write up everything you know about the people currently buying from you from a broad perspective, such as what language they speak, to the specific, such as complimentary interests and related items. What’s their gender, race and ethnicity? What links or search terms are bringing them to your items? How many are returning customers vs. New ones? All this information and more is readily available, so it’d be foolish not to take advantage of it.

Those eBay traffic and sales reports I had you set up are a great starting point for a lot of this info. Tracking like Google Analytics can give you even more detailed information from the length of visits to landing pages. In addition to identifying characteristics, take a closer look at the other websites referring visitors to your items because you likely have a common fanbase and can learn from what they’re doing or even use them as an advertising tool later with ads or other posts. Perform a search for the terms that people are using to find your items to see not only what they see but also to figure out what else they might be looking for.

Data can look sterile on the page, but it’s really just a starting point to learning more about the actual humans behind those numbers. Facebook also offers free Insights traffic and visitor reports to page owners, and that can give you further detailed information like the age and gender of your fans as well as clicks and shares. If your tracking is too new to have amassed much data yet, you can still learn a lot about your customers from the information you do have such as their names, addresses and user IDs.

While writing this list, you may realize that your customers fall into a couple of distinct or even overlapping groups, and that’s fine. The seller of hand-painted duck decoys may serve both hunters and collectors. The important thing is to have an understanding of who is buying from you.

Why are we doing this?

“Who are your customers?” I ask this, and you’d be amazed how many times sellers reply, “Everyone!” It’s a rookie mistake to think that everyone in the world would love what you’ve got to sell. It’s not just a naïve thought, it’s an expensive one. You’re only going to end up wasting your time and money by trying to market to everyone in the world. It’s always better to narrow your focus down to a few ideal customer groups than to waste your time and money trying to water your message down to appeal to everyone.

Chances are you had an idea of who your customers were before you took that step, and that’s great, but look at the data anyway. Sometimes we go in with our own biases and prejudices that blind us to the fact that we may have our buyers all wrong, so a look at the facts may be illuminating.

There is at least one ideal customer out there for your items, and by focusing on them, you’ll make all your marketing efforts that much more targeted, efficient and successful. Moreover, you won’t be wasting money and time marketing to people who won’t be interested in the first place. And the more you know about them, the more you’ll understand them and be able to sell to them effectively.

While this can seem like a once-and-done type of thing, markets and buying practices constantly change, so I’d recommend reevaluating the data at least once a year to make certain that you’re still focusing your efforts on the right demographic.