Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Business Chat - Know where your customers are

Her name is Tricia. She’s a 48 year old lawyer. With a very decent income Tricia has a lot of disposable income however she isn’t a shopaholic. Tricia buys what she likes when she likes, she doesn’t shop as a hobby. She is a careful collector with a good eye. Tricia travels once or twice a year, to places that interest her, not resort type holidays. Since she’s busy with work, she doesn’t spend a lot of time on social media, a little facebook sometimes, and a lot of email. 
Susan is a 42 year old teacher and mother of 3. She’s busy. Her money is carefully spent and she is picky about where it is spent. She has a lot of gifts to buy as she has a lot of friends and she likes the gifts to have meaning. Susan uses social media a lot, mainly facebook and pinterest. 

Tricia and Susan are my “avatars”, 2 of them anyways. An avatar is an ideal customer, it’s putting a face to that sale. This is who I am targeting when I am selling my work. Knowing who you sell to is Step 2 of How to Sell Your Work. 

These are just brief introductions to who they are, I have a whole page about each of them. I gave them names because I think of them when I write descriptions and make decisions like attending a craft show or putting work in a store. 

Once you can nail down who you are selling to, the next step is to find where your people are and where they shop. 

Let’s talk about social media for a bit. It’s important, you need to be on it. But which ones? Should you do it all? Tumblr, twitter, facebook, pinterest, blogging and vlogging? Trying to do it all will kill you and leave you no time for actually making work. It’s better to do one thing well than 5 things badly. Pick one or two that you think your customers are actually using and try that. 

For me I know that Tricia and Susan don’t tweet, so why would I bother tweeting? Of course you can always meet new customers however with limited time I would rather try and approach the people who do like me and already know me than find new people and not have enough time to stay in touch with my current customers. If Tricia doesn’t tweet, chances are her friends don’t either. Some social media has a different demographic. For example, don’t bother using snapchat unless your customers are 15 - 22 years old. Figure out what your customers are using and go there. How do you know what your customers are using? Ask them. 

When you decide to go public and sell your work think about where your customers shop. I know that Tricia and Susan like craft shows so it makes sense that I would do them. Not all craft shows are equal. There is a series of local shows that I love to go to in my city, however I would never sell there. Much as I love them when I look around the crowd is in their 20’s and it’s very much a hipster crowd. Tricia and Susan aren’t there. 

A friend of mine insists of selling her wares at the local flea market because it’s close to home and cheap. She’s always complaining that people won’t buy her high end (expensive) jewelry. When we discussed her customers I asked her if she thought they would shop at a flea market. She said “well they might if they were bargain shopping.” Do you see the problem? Why spend your time and energy at a place where your customers “might” be? Go where they will be. 

Every time you think of doing something like putting your work in a store ask yourself, “is my customer there?” Same with putting your work in an online marketplace, or a gallery. If your customer isn’t there it’s not to say that you won’t sell, it’s just that you will sell more where your customer actually is. 

Your homework this week is to make a list of where you think your customers are. Now make a list of where you are. The sweet spot is where these places collide. Go find your sweet spot. 

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