Understanding and reaching your target audience is crucial for the success of any business, and this is particularly true for small businesses that create handmade crafts. If you’re creating consumer goods on a small scale, it’s important to know that you’re building and marketing the right thing. Otherwise, you’re wasting your already limited time.
These businesses often cater to a niche market of customers who appreciate the value of handcrafted items and have specific interests. If understood correctly, this can be an asset to these businesses; not many small businesses have such a narrowly defined customer personality. However, identifying this target audience can be challenging for business owners, especially when they’re usually busy running their business day-to-day.
Consider a small woodworking shop that specializes in making puzzle boxes and other small-scale woodcrafts. Who is their target audience? Puzzle enthusiasts? Collectors? Gift buyers looking for something unique? Each of these audiences is slightly different. For example, if the audience is primarily puzzle enthusiasts, then the woodshop’s products should cater to those seeking a challenge, and their marketing should emphasize the difficulty of their puzzle boxes. If it’s collectors or gift buyers, then the focus is likely on the look of the product or its uniqueness rather than the difficulty. Without a clear understanding, they may struggle to make the right products or to market effectively. However, by identifying their target audience, they can tailor their marketing messages to resonate with these specific groups.
Effective Online Marketing Tactics for Handmade Crafts
Once the target audience has been identified, the next challenge is knowing where to reach them online. With the proliferation of social media platforms, online marketplaces, and niche communities, it can be overwhelming for small business owners to determine the most effective channels to connect with their target audience. To overcome this challenge, business owners can utilize various online marketing tactics:
- They can leverage social media platforms to engage with their audience through visually appealing content, behind-the-scenes glimpses of their craft process, and customer testimonials.
- They can also collaborate with influencers or bloggers with a strong presence in their target niche to reach a wider audience.
- Additionally, participating in online communities and forums related to their niche can help business owners establish their brand’s credibility and connect with potential customers. By actively engaging in conversations, answering questions, and sharing valuable insights, they can position themselves as experts in their field and build trust with their target audience.
By conducting thorough market research and utilizing effective online marketing strategies, business owners can successfully identify their target audience and connect with them meaningfully. This will not only help them drive sales but also establish long-lasting relationships with their customers.
Identifying the target audience is crucial for the success of a handmade crafts small business. By knowing who their potential customers are, business owners can tailor their product decisions and marketing strategies to meet their needs and preferences. Rather than taking a shotgun approach and hoping to attract a broad range of customers, focusing on a specific target audience allows businesses to create more appealing products and more effective marketing campaigns.
Researching and Analyzing Customer Data
One of the most valuable resources for gaining insights into your target audience is your current customer base. If your small business already has customers, you have a direct line to the people who are already interested in your products or services. Instead of trying to find new potential customers, you can start by talking to the ones you already have.
By engaging with your current customers, you can not only gather valuable information about their preferences and needs but also build a stronger relationship with them. This can help you gain a deeper understanding of what motivates them to choose your business and what keeps them coming back.
There are several ways you can gather insights from your current customers. You can start by conducting surveys or interviews to learn more about their demographics, interests, and purchasing behavior. Customer interviews can be a valuable tool for understanding their needs, preferences, and motivations. By asking open-ended questions and actively listening to their responses, business owners can gain valuable insights into their target audience’s desires and pain points. Organizing customer data in a spreadsheet or customer relationship management (CRM) software can help identify patterns and trends. If you’re looking for where to start, Y Combinator, a startup investment firm, has a good video introduction on the topic of talking to customers.
What Customer Data Reveals About Your Target Audience
You can also analyze your customers’ purchase history and behavior on your website or social media platforms to uncover patterns and trends. Additionally, engaging in conversations with your customers can provide you with qualitative insights that quantitative data alone cannot capture. By actively listening to their feedback, suggestions, and concerns, you can gain valuable insights into their motivations, pain points, and desires.
In addition to analyzing existing customers, businesses can also extrapolate demographic information about potential customers from their current customer base. By examining the age, gender, and location of their customers, businesses can make informed assumptions about the demographics of their target audience. For example, if the majority of their customers are women aged 30-45 living in urban areas, they can infer that their target audience likely falls within this demographic.
But what if a small business doesn’t have any customers yet? In that case, they can look for customers of similar products or services. By researching competitors or businesses offering similar handmade crafts, they can gain insights into the target audience that may be interested in their products. This can involve analyzing customer reviews, social media comments, and online forums to understand the preferences and interests of potential customers. If you owned the woodworking business from the example above, you might go to Etsy.com or another such marketplace and search for puzzle boxes to see what users say about what is currently on the market.
Another approach is to leverage existing data sources such as census data, market research reports, or industry-specific studies. These sources can provide insights into the demographics of specific geographic areas or target markets. By cross-referencing this information with their own customer data, businesses can validate their assumptions and refine their understanding of their target audience.
Creating Customer Personas
Once you’ve discovered who your target audience is, it’s time to create a customer persona. Depending on your product and market, you may have more than one persona. A customer persona is a fictional representation of the target audience that helps small business owners visualize and understand their customers better. By creating customer personas, businesses can develop a deeper empathy for their target audience and make more informed decisions when it comes to marketing and product development.
Once the necessary information is collected, businesses can create a profile for each customer persona, including details such as age, gender, occupation, hobbies, and motivations. Another word for persona might be archetype. You want to construct a reasonably logical archetype from similar customers’ data.
Continuing with our woodworking example, a persona might look like this:
Description: Robert enjoys puzzles of all kinds. He spends at least a part of his free time completing jigsaw puzzles with his children, plays puzzle games on his phone, and enjoys board games.
Location: Washington, DC
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Family: Spouse and 3 children
Struggles your product/service could address:
Needs: Looking for new, interesting puzzles to share with is friends and collegues.
Motivations: Collects puzzles that are unique, challenging, and/or beautiful.
Persona’s Journey: Robert is often exposed to your products via members in his social circles. He regularly visits gaming conventions and consumes game/puzzle related social media several times a week. Product recommendations from friends are very important to him.
In our overly simple example, you can see that Robert is an ideal customer. He loves puzzles and actively seeks out new games and puzzle-related activities. With this persona in mind, we can begin to craft our product and marketing efforts to reach Robert. He fits into at least two of the example categories we mentioned above (enthusiast and collector), and he would likely respond to both challenging and beautiful puzzles.
Of course, this example isn’t based on any real data. These profiles should be based on real data and insights rather than assumptions or stereotypes.
Identifying Online Platforms and Communities
Once a small business has identified its target audience and built personas, the next step is to find out where these people spend time online. This is crucial for advertising and promoting their handmade crafts effectively. In today’s digital age, there are numerous online platforms and communities where the target audience of a handmade crafts small business might spend time. Identifying the right online platforms and communities is essential because it allows small businesses to tailor their marketing efforts to the preferences and behaviors of their target audience.
These platforms and communities serve as virtual gathering places where like-minded individuals share common interests, engage in discussions, and seek out content that resonates with them. By understanding where their target audience spends time online, small businesses can strategically position themselves in front of potential customers, increasing their chances of capturing their attention and converting them into buyers.
Researching Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms play a significant role in reaching and engaging with the target audience. By understanding the demographics and preferences of different social media platforms, businesses can identify the most relevant platforms for their target audience. For example, if their target audience consists primarily of young adults, platforms like TikTok may be more effective in reaching them. On the other hand, if their target audience is professionals and business owners, platforms like LinkedIn may be more suitable.
Finding your target audience on Instagram
Instagram is a popular social media platform known for its visual content. With stunning puzzle box photography, a woodworking business can showcase their craftsmanship and attract potential customers who appreciate the artistry and creativity behind their products. By posting high-quality images of their puzzle boxes, the business can capture the attention of Instagram users who are interested in unique and visually appealing handmade crafts. This can create curiosity and intrigue, leading potential customers to explore the business’s profile and ultimately make a purchase.
Finding your target audience on TikTok
TikTok, on the other hand, is a platform that thrives on short videos and viral content. By producing TikTok videos of their puzzles being solved, the woodworking business can tap into the platform’s interactive and entertaining nature. These videos can showcase the functionality and intricacy of the puzzle boxes while also providing entertainment value to viewers. By leveraging the engagement and shareability of TikTok videos, the business can increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience who may not have been previously familiar with their products.
Whatever the platform, businesses can use analytics tools to gain insights into the behavior and preferences of their target audience. These tools can provide data on engagement rates, follower demographics, and popular content formats. By analyzing this data, businesses can refine their social media marketing strategies and create content that resonates with their target audience.
Exploring Niche Communities and Forums
In addition to social media platforms, niche communities, and forums can be valuable for connecting with the target audience. These communities often consist of highly engaged individuals who share a common interest or passion. By participating in these communities and providing value, businesses can establish themselves as experts and build trust with their target audience.
For example, the woodworking business we’ve been discussing might already have a presence in forums dedicated to the art of woodworking, but it might not have a presence on puzzle or board game sites. Joining online communities like BoardGameGeek.com or puzzle-specific sub Reddits could expand the business’s organic reach. As with nearly all niche communities, word of mouth is very important for people who are interested in puzzles and board games.
Businesses can find niche communities and forums by conducting keyword research related to their niche. This can involve searching for relevant keywords on search engines, social media platforms, and online forums. By identifying the most active and engaged communities, businesses can focus their efforts on building relationships and promoting their products to the target audience.
It’s important to note here that you really have to commit to being involved in these communities. Often, rules limit the types of non-paid advertising you’re allowed to do within these communities. You usually cannot join and begin spam posting about your products or services. Even if that isn’t against the specific rules of the service you’re using, other users will generally ignore any messages or posts that they think are spamming or disingenuous.
Understanding Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can be a powerful strategy for reaching the target audience effectively. By partnering with influencers who have a strong following in their niche, businesses can leverage their influence and credibility to promote their handmade crafts. Influencers can create content featuring the products, share their personal experiences, and provide recommendations to their followers.
When identifying influencers, businesses should look for individuals whose values align with their brand and whose followers fit their target audience. By collaborating with influencers with an engaged and relevant audience, businesses can increase brand awareness and drive targeted traffic to their online platforms.
As an example, the Puzzles channel on TikTok has 208.5 million views. If we were trying to get our handmade wooden puzzles into the hands of influencers, that would be a great place to start. Perhaps we would start by selecting influencers who love puzzle boxes and have a medium-sized audience. We could reach out, send them a puzzle box, and ask them to review it.
For small businesses specializing in handmade crafts, grasping the needs of their target audience is fundamental to success. It’s not just about creating and marketing products; it’s about ensuring those efforts align with the desires of their customer base. These businesses operate within a specific market niche, serving customers who not only value the uniqueness of handcrafted items but also possess distinct preferences. Understanding this demographic can give these businesses a valuable edge.