Find Customers By Understanding How They Use The Internet

Study shows you how to target your ideal customer

A new online study byMcKinney and Media Metrix at http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=44955breaks internet users into 6 groups, based on their online habits.

This study can help you zero in on your group or tribe in a way that raw analytics can’t. Site stats and Google Analytics can give you lots of good information about visitors, such as where they came from, unique visits and even demographic information. While all that information is useful, there’s another static they can’t give you; the users motivation for coming to your site.

This new study breaks down the reason people come to the Internet. It segments the users based on time online, pages and domains accessed and the amount of time spent per web page. The study broke users into six segments. They are:

* Simplifiers * Surfers * Connectors * Bargainers * Routiners * Sportsters

Let’s take a look at what the study found out about each of these segments and consider where and how to reach your market.

The first one is: Simplifiers

Simplifiers use the Internet to make their lives easier. They come online with a specific purpose in mind. Buying a book for example, they just want to purchase it quick and easy. Simplifiers spend less time online that most — about 7 hours a month. On the flip side they have the longest tenure on the net 49% have been using the Internet for 5 years or longer.

OK — but here is the real take away about Simplifiers — they account for over half the total transactions online! If you are in the retail sector you must provide these users with an easy to use platform, or “end to end convince.”

Simplifiers generally don’t care about coupons or comparison sites, they don’t want to read long sales copy, and are not likely to spend time socializing online. If you want to target this group, don’t expect a banner ad on Facebook to work. You may need to use social media sites to build your links, and create an authority ranking with the Search Engines, but don’t expect to engage with this group via Twitter. Simplifiers will be the ones most likely to do a Google/Yahoo/MSN search and choose the top results. Once you have a Simplifier make sure you provide them with clean navigation tools and an easy to use check-out system or they’ll leave. To build their loyalty make sure these users don’t have to jump through hoops to buy from you. Amazon.com accommodates to this group beautifully with their ‘one click check out.’

Surfers — the activity of browsing the Internet is often called ‘surfing’ and this group certainly lives up to that name. Surfers account for 32% of online time, far more than any other group. However, Surfers only make up about 8% of the online population. This group visits many more pages than the average user in the hunt for what’s new. To attract this group to your site you’ll need to offer cutting-edge design and features, or content. These users are the ones who expect fresh blog posts, or a new assortment of products or services regularly. The thrill of ‘new’ keeps the Surfer moving on in the search. While these users are less likely than Simplifiers to purchase — don’t shut the door on them. Its human nature to want to share and Surfers are very likely to be your evangelists. If you provide them with new products and fresh content they are very likely to tell their friends about their find and send buyers or users to your site.

ConnectorsThis group of newbie users are looking for a reason to use the Internet. Connectors account for 36% of the active Internet user population; however 40% of them have been using the Internet for two years or less. Of this group only 42% have made a purchase online (compared to the average 61% of other groups). Connectors often use the Internet to ‘connect’ with other people through email, chat rooms and social sites. With the popularity of Facebook for women who are 55 and older — I’d guess many Connectors can be found on Facebook. While connectors may not be ready to purchase online now, this big segment of Internet users shouldn’t be ignored. As they become more comfortable with the Internet they may soon learn how simple it is to buy online. Getting the Connector to your site may be harder if you don’t have an ‘off-line’ presence. This group is very likely to come to the Internet on recommendation of a trusted brand. However, you can build your own loyal group from this segment if you can befriend the Connector on a social site. Although banner ads are not always effective, if I purchased any banner ads it would be on Facebook to start building brand confidence with the Connector.

Bargainers Bargainers are fiercely devoted to one aspect of the Internet: the quest for deals! Think you can sell high quality products for a regular retail mark-up on eBay? These hard facts may take your breath away….. Taking up only 8% of active online users this group represents 52% of eBay visitors. If your business plan includes selling on eBay and you do not offer a unique or collectible product your best strategy will be to either offer the lowest price (including shipping) for the product or to market your eBay business to other segments of users. In the latter case, you’d downplay the fact that your products are sold on eBay and consider eBay’s service simply a shopping cart/inventory management tool. If you have a supply of products you can offer these bargainers, selling to them will be simple. EBay offers the community and the price they seek. Your main duty will be to keep the products in stock and shipped out quickly.

Routiners This group of Internet users goes online for content. Only about half of the group has made a purchase online. Routiners tend to spend much less time on the net and visit fewer domains than most. They routinely go to specific sites and check for new information; typically Routiners visit new and financial sites. To market to this group is a challenge because Routiners are on the hunt for quality content and looking for the sense that they are getting ‘something special.’ This type of user is more likely to respond to a special ‘members only’ group or a paid subscription if the quality of the content is better than average. The challenge is to find the sweet spot this group will respond to and open their wallets. Membership sites are a perfect fit for Routiners. If you can find a target segment (niche market) and offer valuable information, members of this group will be your most loyal followers.

Sportsters Like Routiners, Sportsers go online primarily for content. Unlike the Rountiner though this group of online users visits primarily sports and entertainment sites. They spend just 7.1 hours a month online. That’s far below the 9.8 hour average. The more interactive and flashy your site the more likely you’ll be to grab and keep this group. This group will also respond to the feelings that they are getting something special. If you are targeting this these users try having contests, use video and audio. Unlike the serious Routiners, who want a membership site for access to useful information this group would respond more to a membership area that was geared toward fun and entertainment. A successful membership site might cater to both these groups — and be highly successful. An example of targeting both the Rountiner and the Sportser is group of fishermen. People who enjoy fishing , would look online for more information about their sport. They’d come looking for latest tips on better bass fishing as well as celebrity interviews with the latest trophy winner.