So you are a creative type that started a small business to sell your work. That is an awesome thing. Having an outlet to sell your work is one of the wonderful opportunities to be an enterpreneur, and to discover the world of self employment. But to do this well you have to determine who your customers are. Do you know who your customers are? Here are some quick questions to answer which will help you determine this.
- Who would pay for my product?
- Have you sold any products? If so, do you recall who bought your goods?
In the art market world, the average consumer at art fairs and galleries is a female, with a bit more expendable income. Depending on what you make, the average percent of the normal population that buys at art markets and galleries is about 5-10% of the population.
- When you sell at art fairs or at galleries, what price point sells best, fastest?
- If you know who is buying your products can you quantify their age, gender, income level?
Gathering this information will help you to begin to see a pattern. Using our data I can tell you that our soap attracts two specific demographics: woman between 40-70 and the generation that is between age 20-35 who are specifically interested in chemical free products, and wish to support the handcrafted market. They tend to be a bit more upwardly mobile, with a bit more expendable income. They tend to be college educated and professionals. Geographic boundaries are not as apparent as we sell nation wide on our web site. And we do art fairs throughout Ohio, and have ventured into Michigan and Pennsylvania. Sure there are outlyers in this pattern, but more than 80% of our customers fit this description.
- Is your product something that will generate repeat buyers?
- Who is your competition?
- How are you differentiating yourself from your competition?
Soap makers will always be abundant, but it is what we have done with our product that adds value. For example, our customers cannot see the difference in the ingredients until they use the soap, but once they do, its clear we did not skimp or cut costs to produce our products. And we love the idea of packaging simply but packaging well. Most soap makers just wrap a band around the finished bar of soap. We wrap our bars of soap in a light waxed paper, and then band the soap with a wrapper. And our customers express appreciation that they are buying a sanitary bar of soap, suitable to give as a gift, or store in their cupboard until used.
- How does your customer like to be contacted?
Does your customer like to be contacted, or notified when you have a sale, an event, or a reason to invite them in? Do they like an email to be reminded of your venture?
- Have you set policy decisions for dealing with customer service?
What will you do with a dissatisfied customer? How will you handle that shipping need? Setting clear policy helps to establish your customer’s expectations. All customers have expectations, and knowing your market is knowing or anticipating them.
Knowing who your customer is helps to define where you market your work. And knowing who your customer is helps you identify where that is. Sounds like there are a few more posts to write regarding retention and sourcing locations for marketing your work.