Have you ever been cruising the web or wandering down the aisle of a local shop, seen a product, and thought “who would ever buy that?” Maybe it’s useless, maybe it’s out-of-control pricey, or maybe just deeply unfortunate-looking, but forever reason, this particular product just jumps out at you as something that no person would ever need.
How does this happen — and how can you make darn sure that it doesn’t happen to you?
Often, when starting a small craft business, crafters will get so excited by the idea of selling their wares that they will completely forget to think about who might buy them. What sort of person is it? What’s their price point? How do they find new favorite products? Who do they talk to?
Essentially, you have to ask yourself, who is your customer?
Before you ever take your craft business to market, no matter what you’re selling, it’s essential that you figure out who you’re planning to sell it to. Because this is what makes a business — someone making something, and someone purchasing it. And even though you love your products and you believe in them, it’s extremely important to have an idea of who is going to be on the other end of that transaction.
To help iron out who, exactly, is going to be buying your products, you have to create a customer profile, or a customer personal. This should not only be a part of your marketing plan, but a major driver of your brand’s story. And while you may have an idea of what kind of person might buy your products, it’s really important to actually write it down and save it somewhere. Spend some time with this process — later, if you face struggling with your business and marketing, you’ll always have that to come back to.
Craft entrepreneur Megan Auman recommends breaking down a few categories of customers to help get a better idea of who might be buying your products.
“Not everybody is motivated to buy,” she explains, which means you need to figure out both a persona and the incentives for making purchases.
Here’s how she defines these categories.
Collectors “don’t always identify as collectors,” she says. They’re the kind of people, Megan explains, “are what you’d typically think of as experts or connoisseurs.” Collectors, she says, “enjoy the thrill of the hunt,” and they want to talk about it. If you have a product that can interest collectors, they will provide excellent word of mouth — and often spend a little bit more.
Megan doesn’t beat around the bush: The Selector will “on one hand, drive you crazy. On the other hand, they’ll give you a lot of money.”
Most people want to take their time when shopping, and they want an outward motivation to purchase. This isn’t a person who shops impulsively — they need a reason. If you appeal to Selectors, a smart marketing campaign might be one that really delivers a reason to buy, like highlighting a holiday or an event.
Accumulators love a sale. If you’ve got a great deal on some of your products, that’s when the accumulators will come out and buy more than the average shopper. That said, they’re also very loyal to the brands they like, so if you discontinue something they were hoping to buy again, they might get frustrated. To appease the Accumulators in your buying audience, it’s smart to keep a pretty evergreen line of staples.
Think your product appeals to impulsive shoppers? If you’ve got a relatively low price point or a product that’s easy to snap up on impulse, you may want to consider wholesaling your items to stores, because that is where your best customers will be most likely to find it.
“We love these people,” says Megan, “especially if you sell your items in stores,” because the real thrill, for them, is actually doing the shopping.
But of course, not everyone falls into just one category, says Megan. Some people may walk the line from day to day, or may graduate to becoming more of a Collector once they’re making more money or have different life circumstances.
Once you have your categories broken down, you can get more specific about who each one is. Here are just a few of the questions to help you identify your target audience. Even if you don’t have exact numbers or data on this, it’ll help for you to estimate what you think the answers are, and thus, give you a direction.
–What is the gender of my average customer?
–How old is my average customer?
–What is their average income? How much are they willing to spend?
–What is their family dynamic?
–What will they use this product for?
–What other products does my customer like? What other brands?
–Where does my customer live?
–Which social media platforms, websites, or other places online does my customer visit every day?
–Are there any holidays or special occasions that my products might be good for? Does that change who the customer is?
The question of income and lifestyle is extremely important when establishing a customer profile, says Megan, because understanding the financial picture of your ideal client is key to setting your pricing.
“We need to figure out who is going to buy our products, who is going to pay those prices, who is going to keep us in business, and, not only that, is going to love our products,” she says.