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Starting your t-shirt and handmade business is an exciting journey but can also come with challenges. Before you get too far along in your business, it is important to identify your target market to alleviate the feeling of speaking to an audience of blank stares. Identifying your target market for your handmade business will enable you to craft content that makes them feel like you are speaking directly to them and picking out items to offer they could see in their closets.
In this post, I'll cover step-by-step directions on how to find your target market. Then, you'll learn how to conduct research, analyze data, and use your findings to create a marketing plan that speaks directly to your target audience.
So, let's begin this adventure of growing your online t-shirt and handmade item business!
Step 1: Define Your Brand
What is the first thing you do before you start any conversation on the phone when you meet a new person or give a speech? You introduce yourself first. Before you define your target market, you must ensure you have outlined who you and your brand are.
Your brand is more than a logo, colors, and a beautifully crafted website. Your brand is how someone feels when they visit your website or social media page. It's the tone your brand exudes and what you do and do not allow.
When you are just starting, I recommend grabbing the Mind Your Business workbook to guide you through defining your brand.
Step 2: Research Your Market
Before you enter a job interview, research the company and even the panel interviewing you to ensure you are prepared. Knowing more about what you are walking into increases your chances of getting the job you desire. The same can be said for your target market. Take time to learn more about the people who are buying what you are selling. Understanding them will allow you to meet them right where they are.
- Do they have kids?
- Do they homeschool?
- Do they like to cook?
- Do they work out?
- Do they love reading?
- Are they just trying to get by one day at a time?
To learn more about your target market before asking them any questions directly, join Facebook groups where you think your target market may be hanging out. What are they posting about? What are they sharing? Where do they spend the majority of their time? Why this may seem a bit extreme, it is important to narrow down exactly who your target market is, even better, your target customer. You can do that by creating a customer persona.
Step 3: Create Customer Personas
Create a customer persona you think about every time you draft a marketing email, social media post, or create your next Tik Tok. First, give your customer persona a name. Then, take it a step further by writing them their biography with their interests in mind from Step 2.
You will speak directly to your target market when you keep your customer persona in your mind. This allows customers to qualify for your business and either become a super fans or make room for others who are a good fit.
Not everyone is your customer, and that is okay.
Step 4: Engage with Your Target Market
Woo-hoo, you have done all your homework, and your target market is starting to join your communities or follow you on social media. It's now time to engage with your target market. The journey to making a sale begins with the like, know, and trust factor. This principle means that before someone buys from you, they need to like you, get to know you better, and finally trust you enough that your product offering will benefit their life. This journey takes time.
Building organic relationships will make your audience trust you more and make showing up for your business a lot more enjoyable once you start to get to know your followers more. In addition, as you grow your relationships, they will tell you more about themselves, which allows you to get to know your target market even more intimately.
Bonus Tip: Share audiences
There is a good chance that another local business has already gathered your target market. I am not talking about another company that sells exactly what you do, but other businesses share your target market. For instance, graphic tee customers would love a matching embroidered hat if you sell graphic tees. Is there another business in your area that you can reach out to do a guest blog or share for shares?
If you sell screen prints, your customers may hang out in a shirt blanks group. Can you do the same thing mentioned above and share audiences?
Instead of working to build your audience one by one, go where your audience is already hanging out.
If you are working to find your target market, it starts by understanding who you are as a brand, researching your market, creating a customer persona and engaging with them to grow the like, know and trust factor. Then, take it a step further by reaching out to a local business owner who may share the same target market with a proposition to share audiences, win-win.
No matter how far along your business journey, it is important to define your target market so you aren't spinning your wheels curating content that does not resonate with your audience.