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 Amazon.com, 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 EverythingEtsy.com…
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?