#4. Who will buy my product?
Question #4 is all about finding your target audience, otherwise known as your ideal customer. You might have started thinking about this back at question #3 when brainstorming what feelings and values your product or brand appeals to. Thinking about what emotions your products appeal to naturally leads you to thinking about what sort of people your product appeals to.
Now you may be tempted to say, but Janet, “everyone” is my target audience! I want my products to appeal to anybody and everybody! While this sounds nice in theory, it’s not efficient or effective in reality. You will spread yourself too thin, your message gets watered down, and you end up appealing to nobody in particular. The more honed in on a specific demographic you can get, the more effectively and efficiently you’ll be able to sell your product. Your target market will easily find your business and feel like you are talking directly to them, because you are! Don’t make the mistake of trying to please everybody and wind up pleasing nobody. Being too broad or generic is one of the biggest mistakes newbie creative sellers make.
Does your product appeal to moms? Singles? College students? Brides? Grandparents? The demographic possibilities are endless. The more specific you can get, the better you can place and promote your products.
Here are some characteristics you should think about when determining your target market:
- Educational background (current student, college education, etc.)
- Income level (budget-conscious vs lots of disposable income)
- Location (city dweller vs suburbanite)
- Values and interests (green, health nut, trend-follower, tech-geek, etc)
- Family situation (single, married, parent, etc.)
Other target market questions that might apply to your product:
- What experience does your customer hope to have buying your product?
- Will your customer use your product more than once? Will they become a repeat customer?
- What else does your customer like to buy?
- Is your customer buying your product for themselves or as a gift?
- What recent challenges has your customer faced?
- What recent milestones has your customer experienced?
It’s important to think about who your products truly appeal to, and not just who you envision buying your products. When I started Lazy Owl, I imagined selling mostly to people like myself. At craft fairs, I was surprised how many younger girls were drawn to my bright, colorful jewelry pieces, and I realized I was missing out on targeting a whole segment of my potential customers. Sometimes you have to take your business out and about, get some feedback from customers, and watch how people interact with your products to get a better feel for your true target market. Don’t worry, you can always adjust your definition of your ideal customer as your business develops.
Once you’ve determined your target market, you can use this information to make your shop appearance and your brand appealing to your target audience. A certain “look” is more likely to reel in a budget-conscious college student versus an affluent career woman.
Knowing your target audience will also help you determine where and how to spend your valuable time marketing and selling your product, which also leads us back to question #2! Now is a good time to go back to question #2 and think about your answers in relation to your target audience. Do the places you’ve chosen to sell and promote your business make sense for reaching your target customers?
Spend some time working on the worksheet for Question #4; successfully identifying and marketing to your target customer is one of the most important parts of your business plan. Knowing who and how to effectively find and sell to those most likely to enjoy and buy your product is the key to running a successful creative business.
Over the next series of articles, we’ll discuss each of the W’s and H’s individually. Feel free to click here to download a pdf of the business plan questions.