Thursday, November 17, 2011

Savvy Entrepreneur: Finding Your True Fans

The most important advice I ever give is this: If you don’t know who you’re selling to you can’t build a successful business. You must be able to identify your target market.

You will spend time and money marketing your business, but you won’t connect with anyone because you’re not speaking directly to anyone. The more specific you can be in who you’re talking to the more likely they are to hear your message.

So how do you get to know this elusive ideal client? You start by writing a description based on what you know. Who already buys your product? Who gives you the most glowing reviews? If you’ve never sold, start with who you think will love what you offer. List as much info about them as you can: gender, age, where they live, pets they own, style of dress, food they eat, where they shop, hobbies, etc.

Now think beyond just a basic description. Who is this customer buying for? How do they decide what they buy? Where do they find new information and recommendations? How do they see themselves, trendy, sophisticated, outsider? Do they really have the money to afford what you’re selling?

You are not your ideal customer. You may have many traits in common, but you have the skills and passion to make the product. You are not the buyer.

Once you’ve got a basic description you need to do two things. Observe and hang out.

Test your theory about who’s buying your products. Ask them questions about who they’re buying it for, how they found you or what drew them into your booth. Collect information to make that description even more detailed. Notice who’s drawn in but doesn’t buy. Can you figure out why?

You also need to be where your ideal customer is. This means you need to get written up in the blogs and magazines they read. Are they obsessed with vintage, always reading about home décor, or constantly looking for new craft projects? You might even try guest writing for some of the top blogs. You need to be at the events your ideal customer frequents or in their favorite stores. Think of where they socialize and put up flyers. If you sell jewelry to 20-30 something women who have an independent style and love going to see local bands you’ll do much better selling at NoisePop than at the Sausalito Spring Street Faire. You might even try going to more local music shows wearing your most attention getting piece with a stack of business cards in your purse.

It’s an ongoing process but the more you know about your target market the easier it is to reach them in a way they’ll pay attention to.

How many key details do you know about your ideal customer?

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc. genevieve [at] lightboxsf [dot] com

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!

1 comment:

Heather G said...

Thanks for this article. Good insight as we approach the new year and make resolutions.

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