Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Should your Friends be your Clients?

Not to long ago I was in a forum and someone asked, "How do I get my friends to buy my work?" The answer is you don't. When we start a new venture we want to be successful but many are shy or nervous so they go to their family or friends and try to sell their items to them. What they fail to realize is that these people are often not your target market, which means that they won't want what you are selling. They may buy one or two items to support your start but they will not be long term customers unless they happen to fall into your target market.

The people who need your product are your target market. These are the people that you need to seek out when you think about how to market your product. It would be nice to say that everyone is the target market but the reality is that this is not the case. Many things that you may view as having "everybody" as a target market really don't. Sneakers, for example, can be broken down into into subcategories which are targeted to specific people. Brightly colored with Velcro closures are marketed to children, more trendy styles are marketed to teens and young adults, while plain but functional are marketed to those working in professions that require comfortable footwear.
Target Marketing
Image by FogFish

When you think of your product you have to figure out who needs what you are selling.

Sit down with a sheet of paper and write "Customer" at the top. At the bottom write down write down what problem your product is solving.Now think of the type of person that has that problem and write down every characteristic they may have in the middle. Is is gender specific? Something to help with child care? Is this person trendy? Are they more likely to watch an action movie or a comedy? When you think you have exhausted your descriptive list then look at what you have written and ask "What kind of person would do this?" and write down those answers. Do this a few times until you have 15 or more words to describe your customer.

Now that you know your customer take an objective look at your friends. Do they fit into your target market? If so they will see a need for your product, if not then stop wasting time trying to convince them to buy your product. Instead spend your time marketing to your Target Market.