Monday , 27 February 2017
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.

Identifying Your Target Market

8 x 10, Unframed Giclee Print, Bullseye Series

8 x 10, Unframed Giclee Print, Bullseye Series

 

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. 

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26 comments

  1. This is a great reminder to learn as much as possible from our existing customers to figure out how to reach new ones (something I try to do, but still have difficulty actually defining my target). Thanks for this post and little poke I needed to look at this topic again in regard to my own shop!

  2. Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is one of the aspects I struggle with the most. I still don’t really have enough sales to get any meaningful data from it. I design jewelry and I make every piece something that I would want to wear but I’m still not sure that makes me my target market. I know a lot of people say the best thing is to start selling at craft shows, where you actually get to meet your customers, but that’s not something I want to do yet.
    Your tips are much appreciated, I will be running through each of them later to try and squeeze as many new insights out of my data as possible! I think Etsy’s recent additions of circles seeing who else favourited items could be a big help.

  4. A great concise article. Wish I had read this 5 years ago :-) These days at a trade fair I can know seriously interested customer when I see one in the crowd around my table and know who to invest my attention in. Online is definately a greater challenge

  5. Thanks for this helpful article. My problem seems to be that lots of people like/admire my work but don’t buy. I have to ask why? Maybe living way down in New Zealand has something to do with it, though shipping from here is pretty quick. Anyway, you’ve given me lots to think about!

  6. This article has been very helpful. I’m new to selling online. Not being able to make a personal connection is a new challenge for me. Thank you.

  7. Another great article! Thanks for spreading all the valuable information!

  8. Words of wisdom to attract your target clients. Good luck!

  9. Target market is a tricky matter…. Im still working on this, but this article was really helpful to put thoughts in order.

  10. Very helpful article & useful advice. This is something we all struggle with.

  11. Here’s a great guitar strap store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CrimsonOriginals. Just found them the other day.

  12. Thanks for the great article. I’ve been thinking more and more about this lately.

  13. Working on more finding a more narrow target audience even though I see mine has already expanded from what I imagined it was at first.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Blessings!

  14. I’m going to work through the exercises to see what I can discover on the http://hideaheart.wordpress.com blog and refer folks back to this terrific post!
    Looking for input from all who may feel inclined to comment.

  15. Great post, Bean’s Mom! Lots of great questions to ask ourselves in order to find our target market! Thanks for sharing this.

  16. Thinking about paying for advertising soon. thanks for the article.

  17. Interesting post. Online you just don’ t get the immediate response you’ ll have at a booth on a fair.

  18. Another thing I take note of is if my sales come from new or old Etsy users. The majority of mine come from people new to Etsy, so I spend the majority of my time getting new Facebook likes, Stumbling my pieces, and blog commenting.

    Another good place to go to get demographic info is the insights page for your Facebook page. Great stuff there.
    http://www.facebook.com/insights

  19. Google webmaster tools will help identify where your traffic is coming from online so that’s a big help but truly you know who your customers are better than anyone else. Craft shows are a good way to know your customers but if the craft show is in an area where tastes are different you might not do well.

  20. I get virtually no sales on line, Etsy or website, but my face to face customers seem to share only one thing; an eccentric love of fine things made of wood. Now, where to reach them???

  21. great questions.
    think I could use a good look at my target markets….

  22. Great questions to start the thought process! Thank you!

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