biz ladiesLife & Business

biz ladies: defining your target market

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Isa Maria Seminega, founder and owner of Noisette Marketing a full service creative agency and consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR and branding for handmade and indie businesses. Noisette Marketing aims to bridge the gap between business and design. Isa also runs workshops for creative entrepreneurs and speaks at a variety of events on marketing and creativity.

In today’s post, Isa tackles the topic of defining your target market.  From narrowing down the types of customers to utilizing your social networks to the fullest, Isa takes us through the steps to finding and maintaining a strong customer base.  Thanks Isa for this helpful guide!–Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!

You can’t target everyone

Everyone in business has heard of the term target market. It’s one of those headings on a business or marketing plan that as creatives we rush to with a sigh of relief. If you are anything like me I leave the financial section until last. Numbers frankly, are not my thing but people, yes. Defining your target market sounds straight forward, yet so many business owners when asked who they are targeting, say something so broad they might as well have said everyone.

As a small business you need a niche. A segment or section of society that your product is perfect for. Marketing to everyone may be ok for national companies who have the budget to reach everyone but as an indie business you need your clients to be passionate enough about your products that they buy them. You want your customers to be ambassadors that spread the word, they will only do that if you manage to connect with them as individuals.

Who’s that girl?

So, who are you targeting? Who is your ideal client, the person who will buy your products all of the time. Who are they, no really, who? I want to know exactly who your ideal customer is. Think of one person. If you are a woman’s jewellery designer, who is the ideal woman you are designing your products for? She wears your jewellery but what else does she wear? What clothes does she wear to work, is she classic or casual? Does she wear the same jewellery to parties as she does to the office or does she try to change her look?

Using online tools to find your target market

Once you have a better idea of who your target customer is, it’s time to track them down. These days there is a host of online tools available to help you find them, some free and some you need to pay for. These tools help you pinpoint where your target market are, where they are hanging out and what terms they are searching for. This information is invaluable when it’s time to begin targeting them.

Keyword search

Identifying the right keywords is imperative in target marketing. It is these words which indicate what it is people are looking for and whether they will want to buy your product.

Google has a number of options for searching keywords that your target customer may be using. Google Insights for Search is a free service that allows you to simply type in a few words related to your goods. It shows you how much interest there is in a particular words or phrase and can give you an idea of buzz words you can use later to generate interest from the right people. Start off searching for phrases that came up when identifying your target customer. Then search for phrases for your products or processes you use. Google also have another keyword tool related to its Adwords service.  This keyword generator is a great way to track what words are at the top of your target market’s searches and can help you develop your marketing strategy.

Once you know the words your target customers are using to find similar products through search engines, you can start to delve a bit deeper. Using Google Analytics and the code embedded in your website can also provide precious information to find your target market. Google Analytics records which country people are viewing your website from, which site they were using before they came to yours, the search terms they used to end up on your page and even which browser they used. All of this information helps you become more efficient in your marketing efforts.

Start targeting

It is a lot easier to sell to someone when you know so much about them. It makes it easier to buy advertising if you know which blogs your target market reads. You can run searches on Twitter to look for those keywords you identified earlier then you can begin to add content and value to your website that is rich in the information your target market is looking for.

Get to know your customer and encourage them to get to know you via Twitter and Facebook. Your keyword search will have highlighted which trigger words which will help you find them on other websites and group pages. Read their blogs, comment on their posts and build relationships. Then your customers will champion your brand and you personally. You will not only build friendships and a community for your business but a deeper understanding of who your customer is and what they are looking for.

You may have noticed I didn’t use any fancy words traditional marketing companies tend to use like demographic, market share, primary research or total available market. Sometimes it takes being a little different to reach your niche and make your business thrive.

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  • These columns always inspire me to start up a business….I know they are a lot of work, but I feel like there is such a rich wealth of knowledge out there to help guide people who don’t have a clue (like myself!).

  • Great information. I have a general idea of who’s in my
    target market, but this post made me think more in detail about the
    niche for my products. Thanks!

  • I am sharing the links to this series on my Etsy Recyclers
    Guild Team blog, as I think this information is so useful and
    helpful to anyone trying to grow an online business. Thank you for
    offering this free advice for all. Not only is it helpful for the
    beginner but also someone who is looking to cover all the bases and
    take their sales to the next level. Thanks for that. Cindy

  • But how do I get an idea of who the hell my target market actually is? Because every time I read this advice about finding out more about the target audience, I already fail at having any clue to who that might be.

    • oona

      there are two things to consider if you’re having a hard time. the first is your ideal customer- when you start a business you need to have an idea of who you WANT to be selling to. that’s just part of the biz. if you’re aiming to have a certain demo buy your work you need to target to them to see if it’s successful.

      if you don’t have any idea of who YOU want to target, you can do what the article suggests and start looking at keyword searches that people who buy similar work are using. are they looking for prices, styles, locations, or life-style referrers (babies, single, renters, etc)? use those to start painting a picture of who that is.

      also, you can do a customer survey (do an added bonus like a free product or discount for anyone who fills out the survey) to find out more about the people who already buy your work. you’ll start to see overlapping characteristics and that will also help you paint a picture.

      if your work is tough to categorize or doesn’t fall into a clear category of shopper, you may have to keep testing out and polling consumers to see what keeps them coming to you and what they have in common.

      this post can’t tell a specific business what your market is, because it really depends on your work, style, and pricepoint. but if you use the tools and tips she suggests you’ll get closer to finding out who YOUR audience is.


  • Thanks for your kind words everyone. I’m glad you find it helpful. Thanks Grace for helping Oona out. I’d also recommend that if you are already selling your work try to find commonalities between the people you have already sold to. It may not be obvious at first but by brainstorming a few words and using the keywords searches you may just find common things to link those purchases all together.

  • Getting the right keywords to rank takes a lot of time and effort. We have worked on this for quiet some time – both paid and non paid. It takes time and patience, I would say lots of both. It has really paid off for our business and we are finally reaping the rewards.

  • Thanks Isa, great advice! Google Insights is a tool I didn’t even know existed, looking forward to trying it out. I recently did a market survey for some products I’m developing and got some surprising results. It helps to reach out and get involved in getting your information, even if you feel you know your target market well. Plus, it’s a great feeling having others take an interest in shaping your business.

  • Excellent article!!! I was thinking on opening an Etsy shop soon and this good piece of advice is , I think, gold for boosting me to success!!! Thanks a lot Isa!

  • Defining your target market is definitely challenging. I think many of us create a product/service first (perhaps especially with artwork) and then get stuck trying to figure out exactly who are the people who will want to buy what we offer.

    One way to connect with people is by having a strong core message that will resonate with certain people, and likely it is that message that draws those people in to you and what you create.

    Thanks for the tip about Google Insights. I too didn’t know about it until this post.

  • Defining target market is so hard – because it seems like a limiting concept

    Ie. I want to sell as much as I can to as many different types of people as I can
    – if I have to choose a target market – only a small group of people can buy from me.

    It feels like a tough call.

    But unless you’re a major supermarket – you have a nice little niche of customers waiting to be carved out for you – where your ‘ideal customer’ will have an easy slide all the way to you – because you look like exactly what they’re looking for.

    Without your niche – ‘target market’ – they can’t see you and wont to find you.

  • Great advice!! I like to completely imagine my target artist when designing jewelry by writing a short story. I imagine what the woman wears, what music she listens to, where she goes for coffee etc. Write about her, draw her…. its an amazing exercise

  • I’ve been meaning to actually put down on paper who my target market is instead of just keeping it in my head. This is an awesome article and it’s going to be a big help!

    I linked to it on my blog today, too – http://bit.ly/hNxyOK

  • Thanks for such great info. When starting a business there is so much to think about and consider. I love these articles because they help me “go back to the basics” and zone in on things that will really make a difference. I really need to focus on my target audience… I have an idea, but I know I need to get specific and find them.

  • Thanks for such great info. When starting a business there is so much to think about and consider. I love these articles because they help me “go back to the basics” and zone in on things that will really make a difference. I really need to focus on my target audience… I have an idea, but I know I need to get specific and find them. Now, how to turn traffic into sales?

  • I have just found this website and am hooked! I love it! I’m already knee deep into the biz ladies posts. Thank you Isa for this very informative one. And thanks, too, for not using the “fancy” words.

  • This will be really nice. This article really very informative. I go through this blog really very good post are there. i bookmarked this blog for future update. so, keep updating.

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