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Marketing your Handcrafted Business

Who is your Ideal Customer?


Who is your ideal customer?ideal-customer_venn_diagram

Marketing and selling are often confused with one another – they are not the same.
In this we will discuss a bit of both – but I will focus more on the identifying who your ideal customer is first – as this allows you then to look more closely at your marketing and selling approaches.
You might be asking OMG – Sharon what the hell!! Why are you asking who is my ideal client, what is my niche, why am I doing this all.
Reason is very simple – if you do not know your market, who your potential and ideal clients are – how the hell are you going to place yourself, your business, your products and your services to the right people who will then be open to you selling to in the first place !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ??????????
If you are currently selling directly via Craft events and fairs and getting no sales or so limited its not proving profitable or making you money – then you need to ask yourself – ARE YOU IN THE RIGHT ARENA TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS.
If people are saying – “lovely items but too expensive for me” or I will contact you via FB and nothing comes back – again I will ask – ARE YOU IN THE RIGHT MARKET PLACE TO SELL YOUR ITEMS.
If the answer is No – then you need to start looking to place yourself in the right place to market yourself and sell your products and services.
The more you begin to view your business as a business and less like a hobby and that we are all holding hands and being friends at nice Craft Events, the better – sorry but its the truth – enjoy the events and have fun, but you are there or anywhere you set up and sell your products or services – you are there to do business – how you do the selling is another thing all together – but I will say again.
The noise from the hand crafted hand made (and not all are handmade) market place is now getting to be a very noisy arena – its in a resurgence and growing – so you need to start to find how you can stand out from the crowd.

So – Who is your ideal customer?

Biggest reminder – IT IS NOT YOU…….imgres-1

Sadly I talk to so many crafters and creatives – and I have to admit been here myself …….. often its about what you `think` your customers will like, because you love it………. they will just have to love it too.

No…No…. NO…. NO………… this is not about you – its about your skills, your expertise and your passion – thats what it is about you – but you are not your ideal customer.  How often I have heard – I know how little it has cost to make so I price it this cheap!  Really – come on, we know in other businesses they are not having to spend a huge amount of money on resources as its the labour that costs that has to be factored in, so why are you in the Handcrafted/Handmade business any less of value or important.

So focus has to be on your customer – your ideal customer and you getting to know who they are, where they shop, what they buy and why?

ideal-customer-500Why it pays to profile your customers

Establishing a customer profile can give you the information you need to generate business from new and existing customers and clients. 
Understanding your customers is the secret of successful selling. Existing customers are important sources of information. The more you know about them, the easier it can be to increase their spending. And you can also use the information you gather to help you find new customers.

Create a customer profile

The information you need to collect depends on your type of business. For example, if you sell to individual consumers, you will want to know their age, gender, location, spending habits and income. If you sell to other businesses, find out what sector they are in, how big they are, how much they spend and what other suppliers they use.
“Find out as much as you can about existing customers,” says Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) adviser Ray Jones. “Analyse your sales records, talk to your customers and, if you need more information, consider carrying out a survey.”
Build up a database of information about your customers. Include as much feedback as possible about how highly they rate your products or services. Use your own records to add details of purchasing behaviour, such as products each customer buys, when and how. (Bear in mind that once you have created the database, you must comply with the Data Protection Act.)
Even if you do not keep a data base of names and addresses of your customers, track what they are buying and why, get to know as much as you can about who your customers are, what are their buying habits, what sort of average spend do they have with you and why?
What you are attempting to do is not only find out who is your ideal customer – but also who is not.
You can also make sure that you also make to what they most want and need, as you know this is what they want to solve that issue for them – gift, christening, wedding, birthday, baby, adult, child etc etc etc.  And what sort of price they are prepared to spend (cost wise) with you.
This is about then you POSITIONING yourself also in your market both in the area of products / services that you are marketing and selling and cost and value as well.
ie you do not see handmade designer ranges in Primark selling, but will see designer mass produced ranges in Debenham`s and M&S and handmade exclusives in Fashions Boutiques and High End Stores etc.
Keep up-to-date records about who your customers are, what they are buying and how much effort you’re spending on them in return for the profit this generates. Accurate profiles allow you to focus your marketing resources where they are likely to be most effective.

Key benefits of profiling customers

The information you gather makes it easier to distinguish why customers buy from you, the more information you have about your customers, the easier it is to spot opportunities to sell them new products. Repeat customer base is a great value to your business in ;
a.  Repeat business – you become the “go to ” person for them
b.  Referrals word of mouth as well as feedback online and via direct sales – this can then be used to further market and sell to other new potential clients – will clear positive feedback from customers on what makes your business, you, your products and service so good for them.
c.  Loyality – once you can capture that repeat customer, people like to remain loyal to that person, that business – not always because of price (as often it may actually be more expensive) but because of the added value, the customer service, the quality, the fact you are meeting their needs and responding to them – and it is all of this you are looking to capture.
Use your new database to group individual customer profiles into different “market segments”. This will enable you to target each group with specific offers tailored to their needs.
For example – you make candles – you might have a range of Niche market areas covering – weddings, special occasions, birthdays, valentines – and within all of those areas you have a range that you offer specifically within that market area – party favours, centre pieces, christmas ranges = smells and melts etc.
Similarly if you make jewellery – you have specific ranges for weddings and prices reflecting this – tiara`s, gifts, table ornaments etc etc – but items that are specific to that specific market segment.
Targeting by segment also makes it easier to ensure that each customer gets the relevant marketing messages at the appropriate time. For example, you might be able to “up-sell”, by explaining why a higher-priced product would better suit a particular group. You could also consider boosting sales by producing customised products or services for each group.
By analysing your records, you can identify important information about key customers.
Look for those who make the largest orders or those accounts which are most profitable. In some businesses, just a few customers are responsible for almost all orders, while some of your largest-size customers might be among your least profitable.
Do your market research – treat this Business like any other business – it does not matter a jot if you are making your products in your kitchen, your craft room or whilst sitting in front of the telly at night.  Whether you are doing this as a 2nd business to grow until you can leave your part time or full time employment job – get to know this area and between this and knowing your money and finances – you will start to see improvements in your profitability in time.
Consistency is vital in this area – and just keep reviewing and checking out who you are marketing to and what products you are selling to them as well.