Three Groups of People Who Will Help You Identify Your Market


It’s an exciting time to be starting an online business . I’m just saying. It is.

One of the bazillion reasons for that is because it’s SO much easier to get to know your customers than it ever used to be. When I was a b’nessman-in-training fresh out of high-school companies used to charge astronomical amounts of money for information about local customers. And it wasn’t the most reliable information despite the crazy high prices.

Even so, they sold it. By the millions of dollars worth.

Companies paid the bill because they recognized how important it was to know as much as possible about the people they wanted to do business with. Information about people such as approximate income, favorite places to eat, most popular vacation spots, and levels of education were all for sale.

But you? … you don’t have to pay a dime. Information much better and more accurate than was ever available a decade or so ago is available to you, right now, for free.

Tons of it.

Why You Should Know Your Customer

Unless you’re looking to be the next, then chances are pretty good your business is designed to appeal to a certain particular group of people. Whether you designed it that way on purpose or on acccident doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

You have a target market; a group (or groups) of people who are most likely to see the value in what you’re offering.  Knowing about your customers helps you make some really important marketing decisions.

  • Where to spend the most effort sharing your work
  • What types of media most appeal to your customers (video, audio, pictures, words)
  • What are the areas of common interest you have with your customer

So, how much do you know about your customers?  Hopefully a lot.

If not, I’m going to write a few posts that will help you learn more. We’ll get into each one of these areas in detail, but I’ll give you the broad strokes right now.

Here are three groups of people who will help you identify and get to know your target market.

1. Your Competitors

Well, duh. I know it’s obvious but let me ask you this: How much time have you spent prowling around your competition’s sites and social media lately? Probably not much right? Well, you should get to it!

Other people who sell items or services similar to what you sell can tell you so much about the people who are buying from them! Sometimes you have to read between the lines a little bit, but sometimes it’s right in front of you as clear as day.

I’ll get into detail about snooping out the competition in my next post.

2. Your Friends and Family

Have you ever been paid to answer a survey at the mall? How about one of those deals where you go to a meeting, listen to a presentation, then answer some questions; in return you pocket $100.00 for your time? That’s market research. It’s still big business. (though I’m not sure why… hello, start a blog and do a survey for free)

You can do the exact same thing with people you know. If there is one thing I’ve seen proven over and over again in my life, it’s this: entrepreneurial fire and energy is contagious! Most people love that you’ve got an idea you’re pursuing with all your heart.

Even if they don’t really think you’ll make any money with it, most of your friends and family would be honored to give you their opinion on your products or ideas and they’ll give you good common sense feedback about who they think your buyer would be.

Leave your pride at the door and humbly ask for feedback. You might have to sift through the results a little bit. We know there could be parts that are meant to direct you to what they think you should do, but good info is in there nonetheless!

3. Fans of Your Own Favorite Places, Things, Brands, etc.

Here’s a pearl of not-so-amazing wisdom: If you like what you make (and of course you must), then other people who like other things you like probably would like what you make too!

Too many likes in that sentence? Well that’s not entirely by accident. Does the word “like” conjur up thoughts of any particular social network? Facebook maybe?

The opportunity of Facebook and other social networks is that you can actually look and see who likes the same things you like. It’s all right there for anyone to see. There is so much information here that you couldn’t possibly assimilate it all.

But you can get some great ideas. You can get a feel of who your customer is.

Feel Who Your Customer Is – Intuitively

And that’s the ticket. Get to a point where you can look at a crowd on the street and pick out the one or two people who would buy from your shop. Once you can do that, and you can guess what they do for a living, and how many kids or dogs they have, then you’ll be well on your way to marketing greatness.

The same marketing greatness that will allow you to do what Kim wrote about today on…

Make it happen. Shock every single one of them!

As always, I know the real knowledge is in your comments, not just in my words. So here’s my questions… Who else can teach you about your target market? Where else can we get more knowledge?


    • Tim Layton says

      Thanks Margarita! I enjoy every word of your comments, so that works out pretty well!


  1. says

    Great article! This may sound crazy, but my best “critic” for my creations is my daughter. She is only 3, but my shop is mainly geared towards children, so if she loves something I know other kiddos will too. Not exactly the place most people would turn to for feedback or constructive criticism, but kids are honest, sometimes brutally honest, so I know she is telling me the truth, even though she loves me. :) She even helps pick out the fabric I use!

  2. says

    Good food for thought here, as always, and this is an area I really need to work on. Thanks so much!

  3. says

    Since we are talking Etsy here, one of the best places I have found to determine who my customers are is my Etsy Team members. Have you participated in a BNS or BNR? Look at what your team members buy and sell. There is my biggest target market.

  4. says

    I have learned more about my customer from blogging than anything else. I knew from the beginning that they were on the blogosphere, but had to set up my shop and product lines first, and then jump into blogging myself later. Now they are getting to know me personally through blogging, and it builds even more trust with them. I’m also one of them, so I can always think in their shoes. I don’t make or sell anything that I wouldn’t want myself.

    One thing I don’t use enough are the Etsy Circles. Just haven’t had time, but I think building those might help target the ones who are already shopping on Etsy. What do you and Kim think on those?

  5. says

    I agree with many of the above statements. My family is my biggest and best critic. They’ll let me know what they think and even throw a few other ideas at me (especially my kids). I love that! Everything I create I would be proud to have for myself and give to someone. I start with only the best quality fabrics, laces, etc and go from there. My philosophy is why personalize something to create a wonderful keepsake if it isn’t something beautiful and top quality to start with.

  6. says

    This has been my question for the longest who is my target market and I have been trying to figure this out and now I have the tools thanks to you to now really find out. I can’t wait to read more info. on this and I am looking forward to find out.


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