Hi! I’m Kenzie of Bewhiskered. My current full time occupation is a stay at home Mom to two boys aged 3 and 8 months, a brain damaged manx and a calico with a drool problem. Before I became a Mom I spent almost 10 years as a marketing professional - first with a national magazine, and then with Georgia State Parks.
Marketing is one of the easiest and hardest parts of owning a small business. It’s the way you connect with your market, bring in new customers and keep those you have returning. All of this leads to increased revenue, which is what we all want.
Formulating a marketing plan and strategy can seem daunting, but the key to making your marketing efforts successful is knowing your target market. You’ve probably heard about having a target market and maybe even spent some time with it, and if you’ve done your homework your marketing strategy should already be successful. For those who haven’t, don’t panic. It’s not that complicated a process to find your target market and make it work for you.
All you need to do is think about your ultimate customer. They may be wildly different from you, or they may look very much like you. You and your products determine your target market. Your current customers might be representative of your ideal market, or they may not. Your product might be instrumental in determining your market. Since I make security blankets, my ideal customer is going to be a parent or pregnant.
If your product is more universal then it’s up to you to figure out your perfect customer. It may be helpful to ask someone to take a look at your shop and tell you who they think your products appeal to. That can be an eye opening experience in many ways but I won’t get in to that right now.
Your target customer starts with these basics: Age, Sex, Income, Location, Lifestyle. Flesh them out by imagining you’re creating a character for a novel. Think about what they do for fun, where they go on vacation, how they spend their off time, if they work and where – are they urban, suburban or rural folk? Trendy, classic, hipster? Do they have a passion for a hobby? Once you know where they spend their time and focus their attention, you can work to be visible in those places.
If they get excited about the newest issue of Varmint Hunter Magazine (yes, it’s real) then make an account on their forums and interact with people (put the link to your Etsy shop in your signature!). Think about the top five pages your customer would visit every day and spend time on them each week. This way, when you spend time online you are marketing your business and reaching the exact people you want to reach.
That said, don’t discount networking that falls outside your target. Sometimes all you need to do is just go about your daily routine wearing your product, mentioning your product or putting a link in your signature. Even if the people you interact with aren’t interested in hunting varmints, their Uncle Bubba may be the biggest varmint hunter in the county.
Good luck! Marketing is something that we as small business owners have to do day in and day out. I know I still struggle with finding the time to market (there are days when the baby is teething and the cat just threw up on the rug and people keep calling until I want to throw the phone out the window) but knowing your target makes it a little easier.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact me at kenzie at bewhiskeredblankets dot com.