Make more money by targeting the right customers

Is customer research genius or waste? Small businesses have no time and limited cash but targeting the wrong people is a recipe for poor sales and money burned. It doesn’t have to cost a heap though. Time to put it right.
Have you ever had a day that started with you launching into something you love and but by the end of it all you wanted to do was curl up in a corner and cry?

Life can sometimes be like that. So can business if you target the wrong group of people for your products.

If this has happened to you already, then you’re in good company. It is something that’s a commonly made mistake by many businesses. It is a mistake made by those who fear they could be losing important sales by not targeting every possible person. But it ends up spreading you too thin and wasting your time and money fixing the problem later.

Good news - it is avoidable. The important lesson to learn here is that targeting fewer people, but the right people can sometimes lead to a much better result for your business and your time.

Consider an example.

Let’s meet Lucy, a 31-year-old budding fashion designer. She has created a new line of baby clothing so is planning to create a high-class launch event. She feels her toddler’s outfits are chic and luxurious. She is a determined person who injects unbridled energy and relentless determination into every task she performs. She’s also a careful planner who leaves nothing to chance. Everything ticks the right boxes.

When planning her launch, Lucy tried to create an elegant, sophisticated vibe. She booked an upscale South Yarra hotel, hired one of Melbourne’s top catering companies to provide canapes, and had booked a renowned local jazz band to provide soothing entertainment. Simply every element was planned to the last detail in advance. So far, so good.
Imagine Lucy’s excitement as the launch date arrived. She had meticulously selected fabrics for her collection, carefully designed the venue layout, and personally addressed each invitation.

Her goal was clear: to create an unforgettable event that would put her beautiful designs and small Melbourne business on the map. Not wanting to miss out on a potential sale, Lucy decided to target the wealthiest suburb in Melbourne, Toorak.

Her logic was that attracting more rich people would translate into her sales going sky high. Wanting to tease her audience, she sent out high class invites on gold card, promising a “special night out” and free refreshments to all of those who attended. Her excitement was fever pitch.
On launch night, Lucy arrived and was thrilled to see the venue packed. But her excitement soon turned to disappointment.

Instead of the affluent and discerning parents she had hoped for, the room was filled with a diverse crowd. Curious retirees looking for a night out, local teenagers eager for a free feed, single guys dressed to party, and some local footie players who had seen the invitation and didn’t want to miss out on a local social event of note.

The jazz band played dutifully but no one was listening. The exquisite canapés were overshadowed by the appeal of the open bar. The venue buzzed with activity, but none of it created interest in her baby clothing line. Lucy watched in dismay as the evening collapsed into a rowdy social gathering that completely overlooked her product launch.
Target the market Toorak

Lucy’s story highlights the importance of getting the right people to your business and website, not just the task of getting any people.

How do small businesses target the right customers?

Many small business owners face the same challenge as Lucy. How do you target a specific group of people when you don’t have the budget to do detailed market research and find out who these people are? Fortunately, it’s easier than you think and doesn’t have to cost a packet.

The first thing you can do is to begin with what you already know about who will purchase from you. 

Different meals for different tastes – understanding your customers

Start by thinking about what you know about the people who have already bought from you or expressed an interest in your products. Even if you only have a small number of customers or sales these insights can be extremely valuable.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my current customers?
  • What do they all have in common?
  • What are their differences? Are any of these things obvious?
  • Can you see any groups of people who have similar reasons for using your services or problems that your products and services solve?
  • What feedback have they already given me about my products and services?

Customer Segmentation – Grouping similar customers

By thinking about what you know about your customers and trying to put them into groups of similar types, you are doing what marketing people often call customer segmentation. Although every individual is different, people who share similar interests and problems tend to behave in similar ways because have similar reasons for buying or using a particular product, which can help you tailor the product to suit their needs or communicate with them in a way that makes sense to them.

There are many useful ways you can divide up your customers:

  • By age groups, gender, income levels, education (demographics)
  • By geography (those who live in inner city, metro areas may have different needs from those who live in the outer suburbs or along the coast)
  • By lifestyle or interests – are they environmentally minded? health conscious? Tech savvy?
  • By purchasing behaviour – for example, are they buyers who will frequently buy again or is the time between purchases considerable?
  • Their long term purchasing behaviour – sometimes focusing more on customers who spend less per transaction but become loyal and long term buyers can be a better solution than to focus on one-off purchases.

If you don’t know enough about your customers and can’t think of any ways you can divide them up? You can simply compare them against what you know about your competitors and what you have read about them in their Google reviews or in forums like Reddit.

What’s the point of this exercise? Let’s think about at some practical examples of how small businesses could divide up their customers to laser target their services:

Workers Café

Ideas for targeting a specific customer group
If a popular café in Fitzroy noticed most of their customers are young professionals who worked in nearby offices, they could target that group by offering a lunchtime promotion with high speed free Wi-Fi, power outlets on every table and a hearty meal.

Handmade Candles

Ideas for targeting a specific customer group
A candle shop in Collingwood discovering their best-selling scents are those with native Australian ingredients could release a new line that explored the use of these scents. They could partner with places like the Artisan Market in Fitzroy or a local farmer’s market to promote them.

Yoga Studio

Ideas for targeting a specific customer group
For a yoga studio in St Kilda noticing a high attendance rate in new mothers, the release of “Mum and Bub” yoga classes may target this group of people and lead to an increase in membership from nearby locals.

Boutique Fashion Studio

Ideas for targeting a specific customer group
A fashion boutique in Werribee realising many of their most fashion-conscious crowd are arriving late in the afternoon, could change their hours one day per week with “late night shopping” with fashion focussed events once a month to create a buzz.


Ideas for targeting a specific customer group
A fitness centre in Richmond that found early morning classes were consistently full but mid-morning classes empty could change staff shifts and host more morning classes with “early bird” breakfast protein smoothies, catering to more people when they were available to attend.

Limo Company

Ideas for targeting a specific customer group
A limo service in North Melbourne finding most of their bookings were coming from corporate clients could offer special corporate packages in conjunction with venue owners with preferred supplier offers in event programmes.
If a customer receives an offer and feels like it was made just for them, then that’s the ultimate win for your business. Not only will they pull the trigger and purchase from you, but they’ll feel great about that purchase. They’ll be more likely to come back and recommend your business to others.

Customer segmentation for small business websites

How can you apply these customer segmentation principles to your website?

  • Firstly you must understand your customers and how they buy, to understand the possibilities (like in the examples above).
  • Your website is your digital shopfront, so you must look critically at the content in your site and the structure of your site. The goal? To make sure that you have pages tailored to the specific ways each one of those important groups of people buys from you. You’re looking for that holy grail: a customer reads a page on your website and feels that it was written just for them!

Your website has less than 1 second to make an impression

On the web no visitors means you’re basically invisible. And we all know that first impressions count. So how do you get people’s attention?

Unlike the physical world, where a passerby might glance at your shop out of curiosity, online you have mere seconds to capture a visitor’s attention and draw them in before they click away.

Studies show that your website’s window of opportunity to make a positive first impression is significantly less than one second. In fact, Forbes magazine recently reported that users form an opinion about a website in 0.05 of a second and people spend less than a minute (on average) viewing or reading content before they decide to click away.

So, if you’re not using every trick at your disposal to keep your audience interested, you’ll lose them. And if you’re targeting the wrong people, you have no chance. You need to make every eyeball count.

Whose eye are you grabbing?

This is where customer segmentation fits in. It’s not just about catching any visitor’s eyeball; it’s about catching the right visitor’s eye. A toy store’s bright colours and playful fonts won’t attract the same clientele as a high-end jewellery store’s elegant script and subdued hues. Your website must reflect your brand’s personality and appeal directly to your ideal customer. Because if you don’t succeed here, then you won’t stand out.

What are the benefits of customer segmentation?

The key benefit of customer segmentation for a small business is n it allows you to attract and engage your ideal customers rather than looking for anybody. You are laser targeting your business’ limited resources to make the most of your marketing spend.  In short, you stop yourself wasting money on people who aren’t interested in what you sell.

The benefits include:

  • Easier personalisation – because you’re talking to a group of people with similar interests
  • Better customer experience – tailoring your service to each group makes customers feel like your service is “just for them”
  • Less waste – you’re spending money on the people who are most likely to convert into sales
  • Outsmarting competitors – you can find profitable groups of people your competitors might have missed and make them loyal to you
  • Finding new opportunities – understanding the specific needs of groups of people can help you spot ways to sell new things to them
  • Higher conversion rates – when a message fits a customer’s needds, they’re much more likely to pull the trigger on purchasing.

Your interests might not be your customer’s interests

A common mistake that small business owners make is to assume that what interests them is what will interest their customers.

When you go to a coffee shop, there is more than one type of coffee on offer for a reason. Not everyone will want a flat white or espresso. Different people like different things so if you want to appeal to your customers, you have to give them what they want. Even if you hate it personally.

If you are a young, tech-savvy fitness enthusiast, always buying the latest fitness gadgets to track your workouts and you decide to start up a business drop shipping smart watches, you might assume that everyone is just like you and wants to monitor their heart rate, sleep patterns and find the latest personalised workout plans. If you only target people who want the same, you limit your product range and may be competing head-to-head in a super competitive market. Have you thought about active retirees or those close to retirement? They may be active by walking their dogs, attending yoga classes and taking walks with their partner. What they want is something simple, easy and reliable. They have the money and are ready to buy. Should you just not sell to them? Having a section of your website dedicated to this audience could help you increase your product range and sell more of your items.

The trick is to decide what groups of people are important to you.

Is your website targeting the right people? What can you do (on a budget)?

The good news is that there are lots of things you can do today to apply segmentation to your business. Many of these would require another whole article to explain. We’d be happy to chat to you about any of these if you want to know more.

Understand your customer

  • One place you can find groups of people who are visiting your website is in Google Analytics. This collects information about the people who come to your website and where it can identifies patterns about their demographics and interests.
  • Does your business use social media? If so, your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (X) administration panels have a wealth of customer insight information that you can use to understand who is visiting your social media page. Which posts are getting the most interest can give you a good idea of what types of people are looking at your products and services.
Understand your customer
  • One place you can find groups of people who are visiting your website is in Google Analytics. This collects information about the people who come to your website and where it can identifies patterns about their demographics and interests.
  • Does your business use social media? If so, your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (X) administration panels have a wealth of customer insight information that you can use to understand who is visiting your social media page. Which posts are getting the most interest can give you a good idea of what types of people are looking at your products and services.
Asking for feedback
  • When you have the opportunity to talk with your customers, ask them for feedback. Whether it’s a simple survey using one of the free survey tools that you can send out to customers after they buy or contact you, or just a one-on-one interaction, you can understand how your customers are finding you and what they are looking for.
  • Even complaints can be a great source of valuable feedback.
Look at past orders
  • Got an order history? Take a look at it. Can you see any patterns? Do people who buy a particular product tend to come from a particular suburb or buy at a particular interval? How frequently do people come back and purchase from you again?
Look at your page content
  • Do a thorough audit of your website. Do you have pages to cater to the different ways that people buy your products? If you only have a single page, is your message tailored to the reason that people might buy from you?
  • Does your content explain to customers how your product solves their problems or is it just content that has come from your product suppliers?
  • How does your content compare to that of your competitors? (pro tip: did you know you can ask chatGPT for help to compare your content? Ask us if you want to know how)
Add testimonials from your target groups mentioning the way your products are used
  • Reviews are great proof that you do a great job, but if you get anyone who has had a particularly good experience and is in one of your target groups, imagine how much better it would be if they mentioned that use in their testimonial.
  • Maybe they’d be interested in collaborating with you to work though creating a case study for you show on your site? It doesn’t harm to ask.
Add new content
  • Google favours fresh, new and relevant content so creating pages, blog posts, creating videos and buying guides could help your customers solve their problems and increase the likelihood that they’ll trust you to purchase from.
  • Make sure that you add “calls to action” in your site. Provide information that helps your customers solve their specific problems, then tell them what they need to do next. Do you have a calculator, or a buying guide for their specific needs? Tell them.
  • Think about your buyers and things related to their buying experience. If you are selling wedding cakes, what about helping them in their choice of wedding celebrant or modern ways to write their vows? You don’t have to write the content and include it on your site but could do the legwork for them and give buyers a shortlist of other sites and content that they could use to guide their way to the solution.
Upgrade your website
  • Just want a professional to upgrade your website design to suit your target audience? Look for a web design company who will take you through the process of understanding your business and building you a site tailored for your needs.
  • If that sounds like you, feel free to reach out to us at CJ Digital web design.

Now you know about targeting. How would you have helped Lucy?

Remember our intrepid fashion designer, Lucy? Now you know about targeting an audience correctly, what could she have done differently to end up with a launch event (and website) that fitted her business’ needs?

Have a think and then scroll down to see our ideas for how she could have avoided the disaster.

Identified and understood her target audience

  • She could have surveyed some of the parents in her target audience when she was pre-testing her designs. What do they like to do? How do they find new clothes for their children?
  • She could have created detailed “personas” of her ideal customers and looked for different types of sub-groups – based on demographics, buying behaviours and their likes/interests.
  • She may have found that a local Club or fashion influencers would have been a better way to advertise than through a flyer drop.
  • Toorak has the highest average wealth in Melbourne, but did it have the highest concentration of people in Lucy’s target audience?
  • Perhaps many buyers had older children and she could have reached them through paid advertising in a local school publication?

Sent personalised Invitations

  • Instead of general invites, Lucy could have personalised her invites to reach the right people. Personalised invitations make the recipients feel valued and more likely to attend.
  • Perhaps she could have sent exclusive invites to high-end baby boutiques and fashion influencers and held two smaller launch events instead of a one-size-fits-all major launch.

Considered a different venue

  • Related to the previous point, an upscale hotel in South Yarra was a fitting location for the audience she wanted to target, but is it close by to where her customers really are? They may not be in Toorak or South Yarra at all. Without careful research she had no way to know this.


  • Lucy could have created a targeted campaign with her website having a signup page and social media buzz created prior to launch – using the signup form to send out email newsletters
  • Lucy could have issued a press release targeted at local fashion journalists in Melbourne. This could have been done by direct contact or there are services that can help.
  • She could have got local fashion influencers in Melbourne to get on board with her products. Getting someone well known to speak at the event may be more of a draw-card than a jazz band and canapes.

Managed guest lists

  • To avoid a random crowd, Lucy could have had invitations, RSVPs and tickets to create exclusivity and have a better idea in advance of who may attend.

Used Interactive Displays

Identified and understood her target audience

  • Some touch screens with photos and interactive views of her new line could have been at the event so that those who do attend don’t lose sight of why they’re there. These could have been connected to her website.

Followed up

  • After the event, Lucy should have followed-up with those who attended. Just like real estate agents do at open homes!
  • She could have sent email thank you messages and offered discount/promotional vouchers to those who did attend – to keep the momentum of the launch going and lead to actual sales.

Final words - Targeting and a great website is a recipe for success

By focusing on understanding your audience and reflecting that in both your product selection and website, you maximise the chances of grabbing the attention of people travelling past your website and considering your products and services. In an economy where consumers are tightening their belts, getting to the right mix of products and marketing is an essential ingredient to success.

Now you’re armed to take these ideas forward for your small business.

And if you need a little help, we’d be delighted to carry on the conversation. Let’s chat.

About the Author

Elliot Jackson is the founder and CEO of CJ Digital, a premier web design and digital marketing agency based in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of experience in the web design and digital marketing industry, Elliot has a wealth of knowledge in web development, lead generation, B2B sales, client account management, demographic research, product development, and digital marketing.

Elliot established Castle Jackson Digital Marketing in 2014 after gaining extensive experience in various sales and marketing roles. He trained in Advertising at Swinburne University of Technology and has since been dedicated to helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) enhance their online presence and grow their businesses.

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