Here's a very simple method:
- Go to alltop.com.
- Enter your niche in the keyword field.
- Open Quantcast.com in another browser.
- Open Excel (or other spreadsheetish tool).
- Enter the domain name of one of the results from alltop.com in the search field at quantcast.com.
- Create the following columns in your spreadsheet: Site, Gender, Ethnicity, Age, Kids, Finances, Education.
- Go to the demographics section of quantcast.
- Make a note of the details for that site in your spreadsheet.
- Do steps 5-9 for at least 5 sites.
I did that for the food section and got the following:
- Asian (With a lot of Caucasian as well)
- Middle Aged - Older
- No Kids in Household
- More Affluent
- Graduate - Post Graduate
What does that tell me? Well it tells me that my audience is well educated women in their 40s or 50s. Either they don't have kids or the kids have moved out and they've got money to spend (lucky me).
Does this make a difference in my marketing? You bet!
I can build a couple of profiles here. The first is the 53 year old women whose children have moved out. She's well educated and in a good financial state so I'm guessing she has a good job. Since her kids moved out she's taken an interest in cooking. She will probably want a challenge now and then.
Then there's the 46 year old career women who never had time for kids. She's making good money and wants to impress her friends. However, being a career woman she'll mostly need simple, yet delicious meals she can cook in 30 minutes or less.
Healthy food could be a big deal for both profiles or be another profile in itself.
Using these profiles I'm able to target my marketing for better results for me AND my audience.
Time spent on market research? 20 minutes. Could/should you do more? Probably, but now at least you know who you're writing for.