Researching your target audience while planning a new project is of vital importance. Whether you’re building desktop software, websites, mobile apps, or anything similar. Marketing is never easy but you can save a lot of time by handling the key research beforehand.

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I’d like to share a few tips you can use to determine a potential market for your new project. Social networks like Facebook can target people all over the world. This could also be compared with Instagram or Vine, both of which provide value to people in any country. Not every project is meant to be a global solution, and by pinpointing your audience it helps you determine the best routes for exposure.

Demographics and Psychographics

These are two important words that every marketer needs to know. Demographics are often the first thing used to identify a target audience. What’s their age range, career path, location, lifestyle..?

You want to build a typical customer or user in your head without getting into their personal details. Think about where these demographics can be found and how you could get your new project into their vision.

meeting room interior demographics audience users targeting

The personality is explained more by psychographics. These include personal opinions, brand loyalty, choice of fun activities, and many other similar values. You’ll want to start with demographics and figure out how to reach that audience. Can it be done online? Would it be worth paying for a billboard or print advertisement in a magazine?

Figure out where your primary demographic likes to “hang out” and study the marketing strategies. If you can, put together a few secondary demographics as well. From there you can break down personality types and brainstorm marketing ideas which would be most effective. Design styles for digital ads vary in complexity. Sometimes a very simple logo-and-graphic type of ad block is enough to get the ball rolling.

Social Communities

If your project is digital then you might consider advertising in the more popular online communities. Mobile apps and software can be targeted directly through networks like Facebook and Twitter. There are so many websites to list that it’s not worth targeting everything.

Do some research and gather a list of potential websites for marketing. Figure out which sites your demographic browses while online. Think about the overall feeling and how their community works. Then you might try contacting the website owner(s) and get a quote on paid ad spots. Within the larger communities you’ll have direct access to dashboards like Facebook Ads.

facebook ads advertising landing page layout

Another solution is to contact blogs and see if they’d be willing to post a review. These do not always provide the greatest results, but if you do some research and hit a major blog you could see an influx of traffic. Also this gets your project’s keyword out into Google and helps generate backlinks.

The gist of this idea is to gather a collection of websites related to your target audience. Find out which communities or blogs they enjoy, and try to get your project on there somehow. Did you just build a new add-on for Adobe Photoshop? Well graphic designers might stop what they’re reading to purchase your new product if it can offer a real solution.

Gathering Feedback

If your marketing ideas do not pan out then you might want to get in touch with some regular people to gauge their feedback. It’s tough getting into other people’s heads to figure out what they want. So why pretend to be psychic?

Asking people what they think of your product is the first step towards correcting any major flaws. You want more negative feedback than positive feedback, because “bad” feedback is what needs to be corrected. If 3-4 people are complaining about something then you should at least think of ways to make it better.

If you’re comfortable asking for marketing advice you could also poll individuals within your target audience. Find out what they tell you in regards to their favorite websites, magazines, newsletters, or where they usually learn about new products. You might be surprised by some of the answers.

Viral Exposure

I’ve yet to determine a surefire method of making a project go viral. It requires an immediate response from a large group of people, typically over the Internet through Facebook or YouTube or another medium. Viral Internet content is shared around more frequently than you might expect – even months after going viral.

This is how people can film shorts or animations which go popular on YouTube and become full television shows. When a large audience clearly demonstrates their satisfaction with a project it’s hard to ignore the groupthink mentality. But going viral isn’t something you can easily force onto a community.

youtube video sharing website community viral content

You can try posting links or gathering opinions from a multitude of websites. Consider social communities like Reddit or Delicious, but also think about smaller websites like forums or discussion boards. Anywhere that caters to your target audience is worth posting and gauging opinions. If you’re lucky a group of people will share your project all over the place without further effort on your part.


It takes a lot of hard work to finish any project through to completion. You’ll need perseverance and plenty of great ideas. But doing all the work and calling it finished without marketing efforts may prove disappointing. I hope these suggestions can get you started on the path towards a beautiful marketing strategy. You need to reach the people who will try what you’ve built and maybe even recommend it around to their friends.

Posted by Jake Rocheleau

Jake is a writer & digital designer/illustrator. He writes about all things web and creative. Check out his website for work samples and follow his latest updates on Twitter @jakerocheleau.

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