Etsy Tips: Finding Your Target Market

Do you know who your perfect customer is?  What does she look like?  Would you recognize her if you saw her in the grocery store?

We’ve talked about a few of the factors that go into pricing handmade products.

But, practically speaking, I think there is another, more important, concept to nail down before you attempt to price products.

You need to know your market. No excuses.

Target market — target audience — target demographic

Here’s the most mind-numbing definition I could find:

Target market: The particular segment of a total population on which the retailer focuses its merchandising expertise to satisfy that submarket in order to accomplish its profit objectives.

Um, gross.  How about, “Your target market is made up of people who need and want your stuff.”  Think of your target market as being made up of a big group of “perfect customers.”

Imagine that perfect customer.  There’s a person out there who’s in love with your shop and your products.  She has the money to spend (it’s practically burning a hole in her pocket!) and she wants to spend it on you.

All you have to do is find her.

Now, some budding indie entrepreneurs assume that everyone is their customer.  “My target market is everyone!”, they say. Err, sorry.  No.

Assumptions like this can lead to poor pricing and an ineffective marketing strategy.

Some shop owners are afraid that the idea of a target market is limiting.  But the reality is this: no matter how hard they try, no shop can be all things to all people.

You are not Walmart — and thank goodness for that!

Not everyone is going to want to buy your product.  But that’s okay.  Finding your target market is about finding the people who appreciate you for who you are and what you do.  These are the people who need somebody like you to bring a little handmade goodness into their life.  These are the people who want to buy everything you have to sell.  And these are the people who will go out of their way to tell their friends about you.

Let’s try a sports metaphor, just for fun.

My brother and I play HORSE sometimes.  It’s fun.  He usually beats me.  Moving on.

If I close my eyes and fling the basketball up, aiming somewhere near the backboard, odds are I’ll miss the shot.  H for me.

But if I focus, and aim for that particular spot at the back of the rim where the rim meets the net, I’m much more likely to make the shot.  And then, I’m much more likely to win.

Aim small, miss small.

And so it goes with your marketing efforts.  If you try to sell to everyone, you’ll miss out on your Right People.  But, by focusing your marketing dollars on your target market, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of reaching it.

While pinpointing your Right People takes a little extra effort, taking the time to determine your target market will lead to better marketing decisions in the long run.  You’ll be able to build a stronger, more recognizable brand.   You’ll have a better idea of where to focus your advertising dollars.  You’ll know where to look to find blogs and zines that cater to your target market.  And, you’ll be more successful in attracting loyal and dedicated customers.

So, you know you need a target market.  And I want to help you define it, and then find it.  Best stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, then.  Or, grab the RSS feed.

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