Choosing the right target market is one of the most crucial things you will do for your online sales.
In business, particularly online creative ones, presenting a professional appearance is often overlooked.
The problem is, a lack of professionality can be detrimental to their success.
One thing I see a lot is that people selling an incohesive jumble of products, hoping to have something for everyone.
They’ve got something for the grandma, the farmer, the crafter, the racecar enthusiast, the softball player…
…the equestrian, the budding novelist, the avid baker, and anyone else.
They’ve got t-shirts, slipcovers, placemats, crocheted hats, you name it.
These businesses have not determined their target market.
So What IS a Target Market, Anyway?
A target market, in a nutshell, is the specific group of people you are going to sell to.
Now, you may be thinking “I WANT TO SELL TO EVERYONE!” right now, but that’s not a target market.
A target market and a niche are very specific, narrowed down, and cohesive.
It’s a select group of people with a select interest that will be able to identify with your brand and your products.
And while selling to a more generic crowd tends to work better in local sales, such as fairs and large shows where your crowd is more generic, if when you take it online, it doesn’t work nearly as well and in fact may drive potential customers away.
The ironic thing is that most of the time, If you do this, it is most likely because you probably feel like you don’t want to “limit” who your customer is.
But that’s not your fault!
It’s actually a natural, almost innate reaction of thinking that if you are marketing to a specific segment of people, you are somehow excluding everyone else from being able to buy.
While it’s completely normal, it’s also not true AND a big stumbling block for many businesses.
Case In Point – This Blog
This blog is an example. I write about business. There are a bajillion business blogs out there.
BUT – I write about business not only just for creative entrepreneurs, but specifically for dye sublimators and people who have a craft cutting business.
They are my target market – that’s my niche.
That doesn’t mean that other entrepreneurs like people who knit or carve or make soap wouldn’t benefit from much of the business concepts I write about. But my target market is people in the dye-sub and cutting industries specifically – because that’s what I do myself, that’s what I know, and I want to pass it along.
And, conversely, since this is a business blog geared specifically towards this target market, there’s a very good chance that if you do dye-sublimation or craft cutting/etc for business, you probably feel like it is more relevant to you (which is good, because it IS!).
Here’s the truth:
if you are marketing to everyone,
you are marketing to no one.
There are several reasons (among many many more!) why you should set a target market.
Reason #1 – They are more likely to buy
One of the things that has been proven time and time again is that the longer amount of time someone spends in your store, the more likely they are to buy from you.
And, most importantly, people are MORE likely to spend more time in your store if MOST of your products appeal to them.
You want them to have the reaction of “I LOVE EVERYTHING IN THIS STORE!!!!” instead of only having a few products that appeal to them.
Or, in other words, you want the “kid in a candy store” effect.
Sticking with target markets is a very effective way to achieve this, because then your products, your branding, your language – your entire online presence – will feel appealing and comfortable to that person.
Get someone into your store, and half the work is done already – if you have a store full of products that they are interested.
Even if they don’t buy from you then, they are more likely to sign up for your mailing list, follow you on social media, and are more likely to buy from you in the future.
Reason #2 – Some Targets Spend More
This is something that I didn’t even think about when choosing my first target markets, but as the years have passed and I am able to look at the statistics I realized the obvious – target markets are specific and some tend to spend money more readily than others.
I have a dye sublimation business, but this business has multiple faces.
As I am writing this, I have three different iterations, three different target markets, and while I sell the same actual products in each store, the designs printed on the products in the stores vary based on who that target market is.
This has shown me firsthand just exactly how different demographics and target markets spend their money. There is actually a huge difference in conversion in my first shop vs. my third shop where I intentionally chose a demographic and target market that enjoys shopping.
Target markets are kind of like stereotypes in the sense that they are often based on the fact that people, while always unique, tend to group together and generally share interests, likes and preferences with their group.
Often, that also means they tend to have similar spending habits and socioeconomic levels.
While, granted, it’s definitely best to sell what you love, there is certainly sense in intentionally choosing a target market that more readily will spend their money as opposed to a target market that likes to keep padlocks on their wallets.
#3 – They are more likely to become “rabid fans”
Here’s a little secret about me – I adore mint chocolate anything.
Okay actually it’s no secret at all – spend any time with me and it’s painfully obvious.
So let’s say there was a new store in town and it was the Mint Chocolate Emporium. Everything in the store is mint chocolate.
I would be in heaven.
I would probably make it a required stop when I run errands, just to see what new things they have and to splurge on myself a bit.
I would be… a rabid fan.
That’s what you want.
You want someone to look at your shop and your items and just love it all. You want them to come back over and over, sign up for your lists, favorite all your items, and just generally be infatuated with your company as much as they can.
And very importantly – rabid fans tend to tell EVERYONE about the things they love.
Think about the things you have bought. Do you have anything that you own simply because someone you know and trust absolutely RAVED about it? I bet you do!
And conversely, is there something you own that you think is so wonderful that you tell EVERYONE about it?
Some of the bigger brands that I admire, I’ve noticed they don’t do a lot of advertising compared to some companies.
They don’t have to scream about their products from the rooftops – because they already have loyal fans that do it for them.
Do I Really Need a Target Market?
I know this is a lot of information, and it can seem counterintuitive especially if you are a creative type.
We often want to just be able to make what we want to make, right?
But the simple truth is if you want to be successful in the business aspect, you must narrow your focus.
It all comes down to one thing:
You can spend your time and energy marketing to everyone, for very little results, or you can spend that same time and energy catering to a specific group that will be more likely to buy something from you.
Too much variety and a mishmash of products seems cluttered and unprofessional – like you’re operating an online flea market.
I am a huge stickler on creative businesses presenting a professional image, I think it is VERY important and having a cohesive, well branded product line is a crucial part of this.
In a few weeks – HOW to choose your target market! Stay tuned – I’ll walk you through my entire process of selecting a target market. Make sure you’re subscribed to updates!
Got questions? Ask in the comments!