How To (Actually) Identify A Target Market For Your Art Business

How To (Actually) Identify A Target Market For Your Art

You have heard it before, and here it is again; to be effective with your marketing, you need to know how to identify your target market.

“But whyyyy?” you cry, as you try to understand why your latest collection didn’t sell out, why no-one is reading your blog posts, and while you create more content for Instagram, and get stuck, once again.

Let me tell you this: If you haven’t learned how to identify your target market or your ideal customers, then prepare yourself to learn the most important part of your business right now.

No exaggerations here, people, this is good stuff.

To put it simply, you need to understand your customers’ needs, expectations, goals, and behaviors, so that they become the center of attention. Knowing who you serve will take the crown off of your own head and put it on your ideal customer's head instead.

You will be able to know why they buy from you, what makes them tick, and guide them through the buying process, easy as pie. By being able to connect with your customer, you can create not just products, but an experience just for them, and that’s how they totally need to share your new product. Sounds nice, right?

As artists or makers, you might create works that are personal, or something that you just love to do (since that’s how most of us get started), but if you take a moment and consider your customers satisfaction as a priority, you will create a brand experience that grows like wildfire.

Marketing. Gold. 

Identifying who your people are, from day 1, will save you tons of time going in circles trying to be all things to all people.

So let’s do that!

Here are the steps to determining your ideal customers:

** If you want the full guide you can download it here**

1. Study The Market Trends

Whether you already have an amazing product or are still trying to figure one out, studying the market trends will allow you to understand and build your business more successfully, and help you serve your ideal customers better.

Market research might sound like a boring task of just analyzing numbers, but it’s actually more than that. It’s not all about search volume and bestsellers. Market research goes one step further by attempting to uncover the “why” behind the numbers. We want to understand why customers connect on an emotional level.

Having an awareness of the market and the crazy fluctuations of trends within the market is super valuable. Become a reader and start researching the trends related to your product.

In reality, market research is intense, but sometimes you have to put your glasses on and just do it!

Here’s some suggested reading material:
  • Company reports — Reports created by companies about their own business.
  • Company websites
  • Investor relations websites
  • Yahoo and Google Finance
  • Statista
  • Pew

2. Who exactly is your ideal customer?

Firstly, is your target market your current customer base? You may already have a current customer that you can glean information or you may need to choose a new one...

Yes of course you can choose a new ideal target market.

Yes, it’s totally ok, to just decide who your ideal customer is and be selective.

I know that might sound a tad egotistical, but it really isn’t. At the end of the day, you want to work with the people you want to work with, and they want what you offer.

Ask yourself who you can deliver the greatest value to, who do you enjoy working with, and what do they need most?
Then ask yourself if you are meeting their needs? Do you need to switch up your product line or re-design? Wait, before you do that you should really nail down who you really do make your work for.

You will need to know:

  • Their Current Habits
  • Their Goals
  • Their Fears
  • How They Make Their Buying Decisions
  • What They Need
I want you to know your ideal customers like they are your best friends. Truly know them if you know what I mean.

I recommend starting with the smallest market possible. You should find a group of customers who think what you have to offer is special, and then you can scale from there.

3. How to learn more about your ideal customers?

A little research goes a long way my friend. Actually, it goes a really long way. Get the full low-down here in my online workbook...

So, traditionally there are pretty much three different ways you can get this information. Interviews, Focus Groups, Or Survey's and I like to throw in one untraditional method. Lunch. Yep, I said that right. Read on.

Traditionally there are two main methods for getting this information, Qualitative Interviews and Focus Groups. More modern marketers use surveys...and for time sake and for simplicity I throw in Surveys. 

Surveys seem to be the easiest and fasted way to get the information but it would really depend on your ideal customers and what you sell.

Sometimes the best way to get this information is to just call up your top 10 best customers and invite them out for coffee. They would love that! Especially in today's day and age when we hardly ever meet face to face.

You can offer to bring them a gift or give them a gift card and tell them that you would like there help understanding your ideal customers a bit better. They most likely would be glad to help.

What is the difference between the three ways?

Qualitative Interviews:

These interviews are conducted differently in Business To Consumer relationships but they work great if you are a small company. This technique is best for impulse buying and should be done in store or immediately after a purchase. This way you can get the most reliable and juicy details. Depending on where your goods or products are being sold, you may prefer face-to-face at a customers home, or immediately after checkout. 

Focus Groups:

Focus groups are a great tool for gleaming information about products that are more complex or require a bigger commitment from a consumer. Face-To-Face discussion and research is best in these situations. The focus group aims to bring together between 6 and 8 people in a room to discuss a specific topic. Participants will be recruited based on the suitability of their profile with future customers (the “targets”) of your product or service.


Surveys are an easy way to get the information you need to know about your ideal customers. By sending out a survey tailored to finding out the important struggles and reasons they buy is a great way to get the information you need. I find that this is probably the best way to determine the information you need in a short period of time. However, because people aren’t always honest you have to do a little bit of psychological guesswork too. People don’t like to give away too much information…so as long as you can combine your own knowledge with the survey info you can do a pretty good job of determining who they really are.

+ A Coffee Date:

Like I said before this is a great way for you to connect and really get some good juicy details straight out of the mouth of your best customers. Send them an email inviting them out for lunch or a cup of coffee and explain to them what you are looking to accomplish. Be sure to let them know you appreciate their time. I love this because it really allows you to get to know them, ask them some really personal questions and you can guide your questions more easily to get the most out of the meeting. And they already have experience with your brand.

4. Create User Persona's For Your Handmade Products

I can tell you that this simple exercise will help you streamline your marketing and put you on a completely new level. If you’ve been wanting to find a way to make creating content for social media easier–this is it.

So what on earth is a user persona?

Simply put, a user persona is a fancy term for a made-up character that you create based on your research. The persona (sometimes called customer avatar) represents the different types of customers or clients you serve.

Personas are not real people, but you compose your personas based on real data that you have collected while doing your research. They ultimately help you create a better brand experience, something that your customers will be attracted to and remember.

Crafting your own user persona will make you have a better idea about the questions that may come up about your products, and how to answer those questions.  Like, how would Jill feel if I changed this product? (Yes, some people even give their personas a name, and hey, why not?)

Here’s a disclaimer, though, in order to make the persona the most powerful tool you have in your marketing arsenal, you have to really and truly understand your ideal customers.

So, before you attempt to create your user persona, please take some time to glean some valuable insight from your customers. Send a survey, or why not ask them directly?

Understanding Your Ideal Customers—Do You Think It's Worth It?

It's easier to open the hearts of your customers when you know whose lives you are changing.

When you understand their expectations, frustrations, and what brings them joy, you can create content that speaks to them directly.

Your business always starts where your customers are, and you should always think of them as the heroes. They are central to your business, right?

Setting them up for success is your primary goal no matter what you make or how you help them. So if you understand your ideal customer and have created your user persona, you can use that to write all of your marketing materials more effectively. 

This way you will feel confident in your message and know that you are touching your ideal customers’ hearts, driving them to action.

Do you want to be effective and confident in your marketing efforts? Yes, please? Great, get the full guide to understanding your target market right here. I walk you through exactly how to get the information you need and provide you with templates and even the questions you need to do the job right.


About The Author

Heather Bunker Branding Co helps you boot-strap your way to your own personal definition of success. She helps you work through the uncomfortable and necessary parts of business—the foundations—life, business, branding, design and marketing. If you are looking to find clarity, create systems, market your work, stand out in the crowd, develop more products that sell and work past any decision paralysis that is holding you back...she, is the business partner that will help you do it.

She offers done for you services like marketing and brand strategies all the way through to helping you get start up funds. She helps you leverage your creativity and adds in the business know-how so you can build a thriving creative business. She is the business "therapist" that you need to gain massive momentum as a professional creative—so you can bring your dreams to life. 

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