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You may have seen a recent Facebook post on my page discussing Target Customers and it really got me thinking about how difficult so many people find the concept of narrowing down their audience.

So often I ask people who their target market is and I hear ‘Erm, everyone! I think everyone would like to buy something I offer.”  People seem to think that if they narrow down their customer focus, they are in effect discouraging people to buy and will lose out on sales.  

This simply isn’t true.

By working out your target customer profile, you are going to better understand how you can serve them better.  If you serve people better and give them exactly what they want (not just in products and service, but in business ethos, presentation, and ‘good feel’ likeability), you will gain more sales

You can’t possibly speak to and please everyone in your marketing as the world is just too diverse, and as a micro business – with little or no advertising budget – you need to really niche down and connect with people that are going to be your absolute TRUE CREW.

These are the people that are going to rave about your work. They are going to support your business, engage with you on your social media, tell their friends and family about you (for good reasons!), share your posts, and most importantly to help you pay the bills – BUY YOUR PRODUCTS!

If you were a charity seeking to reach out to, help, and support homeless people – where would you go to meet with them? How would you speak with them? What clothes would you wear to make them feel comfortable with you?   What would you say?  You wouldn’t go and walk around some high-end department store, wearing a corporate suit worth £1,000, dripping in jewellery and speaking in a patronising tone would you?

No. Why?

Because:

1. They wouldn’t be there in any great number.

2. They wouldn’t trust you easily.

3. They wouldn’t feel as if you could understand them, connect with them, or resonate with their life in any way.

If you sold products for horse riders, you probably wouldn’t spend money having a stall at an event aimed at hamster enthusiasts would you?  Although there may be crowds of people there, there are certainly better events to be putting your time and money into in order to connect with people that love and ride horses. 

If you were an opera singer wanting to sell tickets for your show at a beautiful performance hall with full orchestra, you wouldn’t go and hang out around the door of a heavy metal rock concert venue and try to sell your tickets there would you?

You see what I mean?  There may be hundreds of people in all of these places, but the chances of reaching those that truly need to hear from you is very slim.  And it’s exactly the same with your business.

If you are just throwing yourself out there like a box of confetti and hoping that the right person will catch a piece and hold on to it like it was gold, the chances of finding that single person is so very slim.  A thousand others may catch a piece – but then throw it straight in the bin without a second thought as it isn’t something they want, need, or resonate with.  What a waste of confetti!   

Think of that confetti as your time and money.  Your time marketing your business, and your money spent on an advertising budget.   Just throwing out your social media posts without a strategy, a purpose or any thought of how your words and images will connect with your audience, well, it is such a waste of your time.  Yes you may hit lucky one day, you may be seen by that one person that needs your product at this very time – but seriously, what are the chances?  What are the chances of being seen by that one very person amongst the millions of daily social media users. 

You need to know who you are speaking to so you can…

1. Find them – You need to know where they are hanging out and what they are interested in.

2. Speak to them – In a tone and a voice that they resonate with.

3. Help them – You have something that they want / need / will help them.

So your ‘homework’ for today is to find a spare half an hour or so and choose one of your products.  Think about the kind of person that buys that product, or that you would imagine would buy that product, and make a list of their characteristics and what you know about them – Age range, Gender, Family Set Up, Occupation, Education, Location, Likes, Dislikes. What are they passionate about, what do they read or watch on TV?  Check who is following you on your social media business pages.  Who follows you on Instagram?  Check their Instagram profile and see if you can get any clues from their posts – likewise on Facebook (only public information though, don’t try to do deep delve snooping!).  Sometimes Facebook will tell you that you have a group in common for example, or you can see what pages a person likes. 

Another way is to look at the followers of a similar business to yours on Instagram for example – NOT TO STEAL THEM!!! – But see who is talking about purchasing or look at those that seem like a big fan of their products.   See if you can gain any sort of insight into the type of person you want to be attracting.  Can you see a pattern developing of the type of person, age, ethnicity, dress style etc?

Develop a picture – an avatar or persona if you like – of who your perfect customer is using this information you are gathering.  Don’t feel yucky about ‘snooping’ as long as you are just casually browsing public information, not recording any personal details anywhere, and not touting your wares trying to steal customers or spamming with unwanted messages.  Think about it, it’s only exactly what the big brands do when we are online, checking out our website visits and what we are looking at online, then marketing to us via Facebook ads and other personalised adverts around and about – we just don’t have that sort of software or money to do it with technology so we have to do it with good ol’ fashioned looking!

If you have a few different product types, take time to do the same for a few different ones and see if you get any cross overs where the characteristics match or are similar.  Are you surprised by any of your findings?  Is it the target audience you were expecting? 

Then put what you have learnt into action and start building relationships with your TRUE CREW. 

PS.  If you are a Growing Handmade member, there are a variety of target customer resources available to help you, including a printable workbook.  And don’t forget, come into the group if you want to brainstorm ideas. 


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