Who are you selling to?
Knowing your audience is a big key to targeting buyers and making sales. If you are new to selling online, the distance between you and the person buying your work can make it difficult to get to know them. If you have been selling your products online for awhile, analyzing past sales is a great way to archive information about who is looking at your products – and most importantly who is actually buying them. We can’t tell everything about a buyer from an online purchase (and that’s a good thing!) but considering the decisions our buyers are making helps us shape our products to best suit their needs and make the sale.
Here is an exercise for newbies and veterans alike to identify your target market. Some products will appeal to a broader range, so you may have multiple answers to each question. If you offer a variety of products, you could break down your questionnaire into answers for each type of product.
Write a general description of who your product benefits, who it appeals to and who buys it. For example, I make apparel and accessories for pets, but my product appeals to pet owners and they are the ones who buy it. This might seem simple but it’s a good way to broadly define your market. Pretty much everyone I sell to owns a pet or knows someone who does. So far, so good.
Is my product mainly for males/females or people in a certain age group? If you are making cosmetics, you probably know you are targeting mainly a female audience. If you are making guitar straps this might be a trickier question to answer.
What other websites do you think your customers frequent? Obviously, these would be good places to advertise if the pricing is within reach. Think about smaller design blogs or other types of blogs and websites they would read. What do you read? We are often pretty similar to our customers.
Where do my customers live? If you set up Google Analytics for your website or Etsy shop, it can provide you with a wealth of information about who is looking at your site. Almost half of my viewers and customers purchasing dog sweaters live in warm places, who could have predicted that? But they are in larger metropolitan areas, and that makes sense to me. These are things to consider.
What do I think my customers wear? What does their house look like? Where might they work? Bordering on creepy I know, but it’s just an exercise to put you in the shoes of the people you imagine are interested in what you make.
What times of day do my customers browse my shop?
What do your customers spend money on? Will they splurge on fashion? food? cosmetics? jewelry? home decor? What is their price range?
What percentage of my customers purchase my items as a gift? Are they willing to spend more on gifts than on items for themselves?
Who else might be looking at my product but not buying it? What might convince them to buy?
What do you think might stop someone in your target market from buying your work- price? a waiting period for a custom piece? hesitation to make an online purchase? Think about ways you can allay those fears in your item descriptions.
Try to come up with 5-10 more questions based on your specific product. Once you start thinking about your customer base, these should come a little easier.
So what do you do with all this information? Revisit your product descriptions and see if there are places where you can further tailor them to suit your audience. Anticipate questions these customers might have and answer them in your shop policies. Come up with content for your blog that might appeal more directly to them. Relist at times of day your target market might be window shopping. Research paid advertising opportunities on websites your target audience frequents. Evaluate if you are appealing to enough people. Being specific allows us some focus to our marketing, but being too narrow with our appeal might not give us enough of a pool to draw from. A little research can help you strike a balance in your shop and make the most of your time and money.