Target market. Ideal Client Avatar. Dream customer.
And everybody telling you that “the riches are in the niches” (what does that even mean?!?!).
You’ve probably heard a time or two (thousand) that you need to know WHO you are selling to before you ever start selling.
But saying something generic like “Women ages 20 – 50 who love jewelry” isn’t going to cut it this time. #sorrynotsorry
You’ve tried to figure it out. You’ve given it your best shot.
But you’re still as clueless as Luna Lovegood about what YOUR dream customer looks like.
Good news— in today’s post I’m going to walk you through EXACTLY how you can nail down the finer details of your dream customer and find out how YOUR product can be positioned in a way that leaves them throwing wads of cash at your virtual doors.
The reason EVERY business coach/mentor out there pushes a “dream customer” or “target market” or “ideal client avatar”– which are all basically the same thing— is because it is absolutely CRITICAL to your shop’s success and being able to market effectively and attract the right type of customers. And by “right” type of customers, I mean customers who actually want to BUY from you.
You will use this “dream customer” over and over again so make a commitment to yourself to get it done now—this week–and then cross it off of your to-do list for good! I think you’ll be amazed at just how good it feels to have it DONE.
And then really quick— throughout this post I’m going to be referring to this ideal customer as your “dream customer”. Again— same thing as target market, ideal client avatar— but I’m just going to call it “dream customer” because I can 🙂
Okay, so let’s dive in!
First things first: What exactly is a “dream customer”?
So when I say “dream customer,” what I mean is the type of customer who you would LOVE to have buying from your shop. This person loves everything you do and everything you post on social media; he/she signs up for your email list and even replies to your emails; this wonderful customer recommends you to EVERYONE he/she meets.
The important thing here is that this is ONE person.
We’re not talking about an entire fan base. We’re not talking about every person that comes into your shop to browse. This is ONE person— your dream customer— that we’re focusing on.
Why just one person? I get it— it almost sounds counterintuitive and limiting to focus on one type of person. This means your products, your marketing, copy, everything is focused on just ONE person.
But it’s that laser FOCUS that is going to pay off for you big because this focus is going to help you nail down EXACTLY what your ideal customer— and likewise, audience— wants and needs from you.
We’re NOT trying to appeal to everyone here (wait, what?!?!).
When you do that— when you try to do a little something for everyone JUST IN CASE— you lack focus and your marketing, products, everything is all over the place. And chaos doesn’t convert customers (<— write that down somewhere!).
So as counterintuitive (and just plain TERRIFIYING) as it is feels, I need you to not be afraid to narrow it down to just ONE dream customer.
(or you can still be afraid— but do it anyways).
You’re still going to attract TONS of people that maybe fall under the “umbrella” of that dream customer— or even outside of that umbrella. Trust me— and I know it’s hard to do right now— but TRUST ME— you are not limiting your reach by having a dream customer.
Creating FOCUS on who you sell to means you’re giving yourself permission to make marketing easy. (<— ooh, another good marketing gem for a post-it on your desktop!)
And that’s what we all want, right? Marketing to feel easy so you can get back to doing what you love— creating. Or napping. You do you. 😉
Now, I want you to be honest with yourself for a second— you’ve probably been trying to appeal to everyone with your shop up to this point. And I get that logic— the more customers you appeal to, the more sales you’ll make, right?!
But that’s actually REALLY backwards thinking in online business.
There are SO many shops online— SO many just on Etsy alone— that you probably feel like it’s impossible to stand out. It’s a saturated marketplace— no point sugar coating it.
And without that laser-focused vision and voice, you are going to get lost in the sea of other Etsy sellers out there.
General = boring
Laser-focused = standing out.
And the thing that is going to set you apart from the competition— to help you STAND OUT— is speaking your customer’s language. So that when people come into your shop to buy a digital art print that they can buy a similar style from another hundred thousand shops— they buy from YOU.
Now I’ve got a question for ya: Are you ready to do this “dream customer” thing for the LAST flippin’ time?!
Heck yes you are!
Let’s dive in:
Use the questions below to start creating an imaginary profile of just the ONE ideal person you’d like as a customer. The more specific you can be with your answers, the better, as this will give you a perspective shift and help you really understand not only WHO they are, but also what they’re going through.
What is his/her name?
How old is he/she?
What is his/her relationship status?
What does he/she do for a living?
What are his/her spending habits/favorite stores?
What are his/her favorite books/magazines/TV shows?
Where does he/she “hang-out” online?
Remember– this is your DREAM CUSTOMER– it’s not an actual, living human being. So YOU get to decide how these questions are answered. There is no right or wrong answer!
If you’re stuck and can’t start from scratch, a tip I have is that usually YOU or SOMEONE YOU KNOW tend to match your dream customer pretty well. So use that as a starting point.
For me, with Little Highbury, I was definitely my dream customer. My dream customer was a new mom in her mid twenties/thirties struggling with motherhood and feeling like life was really chaotic and a mess and looked like NOTHING she was used to.
Which basically described my first couple of years as a new mom.
Some people ease into motherhood gracefully.
Others tend to struggle a bit.
And then there are others that consider it a small miracle that they even made it through the next hour.
I definitely fell into the latter camp.
So when I was creating this “imaginary dream customer” — I named her Ashley — she was A LOT like me. Not 100%, but had a lot of similarities because I genuinely understood where “she” was coming from.
It’s kind of like how you’re supposed to “write what you know.” It’s a lot harder to have a dream customer who you share NOTHING in common with. It’s doable, just a bit harder. So something to consider.
So use that as a starting point if you’re really struggling to figure out your dream customer’s descriptions.
So here’s my example:
My dream customer is a 25-35 year old new stay-at-home momma. She’s just had her baby and is adjusting to this new “motherhood” role, which feels a bit chaotic and out of control at the moment. She appreciates beautiful design and shops in higher-end stores for the quality and style.
Next, I want you to address this very, VERY important question:
What problem or challenge does your dream customer struggle with on a regular basis?
Believe it or not, this is a HUGE part of your dream customer equation and one of those marketing “secrets” that can make a big difference in your ability to sell your product.
Everyone has struggles. Yes, even your imaginary dream customer. And right now I need you to identify those struggles.
The easiest way I’ve found to identify these is to ask “what keeps my dream customer up at night?”
Now, I’m not asking you to go deep into world hunger or solving poverty or politics or anything like that.
Obviously you dream customer might care about one or more of those things. But right now, I want you to think about something more tangible and close to home.
Something like “rushing to get dressed in the morning” or “feeling like they never have time to themselves” ABSOLUTELY counts as struggle.
Now, a quick tip here: You’ll find the most success with this if you can tie this struggle or challenge loosely to your NICHE (the specific category that your product(s) fit into). So, for example, if you are selling baby products, your customer’s struggle should relate to motherhood, and not to something completely unrelated.
Now if you’re thinking “my dream customer doesn’t struggle with anything!” I want to tell you gently, that yes, everyone struggles with something. Even imaginary people.
Think of fiction novels you’ve read— there’s no good story if there isn’t some sort of a struggle. And if you’re thinking your person doesn’t have any struggles, you’re wrong. You just need to dig a bit deeper 🙂
If you’ve already got a fan base, this is as simple as talking with your people:
Take a look at past posts you’ve created and the ones that got the most engagement.
Ask your customers what their opinion is about topic XYZ
Or just flat out ask “What do you find hard about XYZ?” (<— I’m all for straightforwardness here, friend!)
Market research is SUPER easy when you’ve already got an audience built up— you can just ask them!
But if you’re like “No, of course I don’t have an audience, Morgan. That’s what I’m trying to figure out and why I’m reading this post!” and I hear you.
And if that’s you, this is what I recommend doing: Finding someone who DOES have an audience and using them for your market research. Now, this won’t be as effective as reaching out to your OWN audience— so don’t use this as a cop-out excuse for just TALKING TO YOUR DANG AUDIENCE, but it’s a decent alternative if you don’t have an audience already.
So yep, I’m basically telling you to stalk the competition. Now this isn’t something I recommend you do frequently because spending too much time looking at the competition causes a lot of wasted time and discouragement as you compare yourself to them. But this is one of those rare occasions that it’s totally appropriate.
So if you have some competition that shares a customer base your dream customer would be a part of, or maybe a Facebook group that has members that would match that dream customer profile, take a look at comments and what they’re saying:
What kind of content is being created?
What are they responding to?
What kind of comments are they making?
Use this information to get an idea of what they talk about, what they struggle with, the language they’re using…
…and then use that research to nail down what YOUR dream customer is struggling with.
My dream customer is struggling with adjusting to this new “normal” that is motherhood. She’s scrambling to get back some semblance of her “before” life, because right now everything just feels rushed and chaotic.
Okay, we’re bringing it all home— woot woot! Now I want you to take a look at what you’re selling, and then take a look at this dream customer and what they’re struggling with….
…and BRING IT ALL TOGETHER.
Ask yourself: How does the product I’m selling solve my dream customer’s problem?
All we’re looking for here is a quick-win.
We need to make sure that your product matches up with your dream customer.
Again, not solving world hunger or bringing world peace (although kudos to you if your product does that, although it’s probably time to move off of Etsy if that’s the case…). We’re just looking for relief or a quick “win” for your customer.
Something easier said than done, right? So let me share some examples:
Example #1: Baby headbands
My flagship product is baby headbands, which can be quickly popped onto baby’s head to complete an outfit – voila!
So my product can help my dream customer feel “put together” again by making her mornings as easy as possible, and giving her a quick 5-second “win” with getting baby ready— taking the edge off the “chaos” that life feels like to her right now.
Example #2: Statement necklaces.
Maybe your dream customer is a busy working woman who is struggling to express her personality while looking professional. Your necklaces are the solution because they give that quirky POP that she’s looking for to express herself, but still maintain that professional wardrobe her career demands.
Example #3: Seasonal throw pillows
Maybe your dream customer is someone that loves a cohesively decorated home but doesn’t have the time or energy to make it happen. So maybe the solution your product provides is that you’ve already grouped the pillows together in sets so it’s as easy as purchasing a set and presto! Decorated house. (<— also? I need this shop in my life)
The key here is to look BEYOND the product as only a product.
You need to understand WHY your dream customer should care.
How can your product “transform” his or her life?
What unique value and solution does YOUR product provide?
Okay, and then once you’ve figured that out, it’s time to turn that into an attraction statement. This is a statement that’s going to a) help you understand how all these different parts of this exercise work together, and b) be something you print out and hang up near your workspace so you remember it at all times.
To write an attraction statement, you’re going to want to tie everything together and format it in the following way:
I want to help [my dream customer] who is struggling with [this particular problem] and wants to [experience this solution that my product can provide].
The result? A statement that shows you exactly WHO you’re selling to, WHAT they’re struggling with, and how you’re going to position YOUR product to offer them a solution.
Instant stand-out-of-the-crowd material.
Okay, and for me, this looks like::
I want to help new stay-at-home mommas who are struggling with feeling frazzled and chaotic and want to feel more “put together” in their morning routines without wasting time they DON’T have.
Okay, now before we wrap up, I want to address a question I KNOW is going to get asked– and you may already be asking it out-loud as you’re reading this post:
What do you do if you sell a bunch of DIFFERENT types of product that attract a bunch of DIFFERENT types of people?
For example, maybe you’re a Print on Demand shop selling t-shirts and totes and mousepads and pillows and clocks. A VERY random assortment of items.
To answer this without going on for another 200 paragraphs (I’m VERY passionate about this subject), I’m going to refer you to another podcast episode/blog post I have that walks you through picking a FLAGSHIP product line that brings FOCUS to your shop (and gives you permission to have FEWER listings but MORE sales! #winwin).
It’s one of the best-kept secrets to setting your shop up for success on Etsy and it’s going to bring you TONS of clarity on what you sell and how to create that focus when you feel like your shop is all over the place. So definitely check out that post right here.
Alrighty, that about wraps it up!
Your homework for this episode? Take action!
I’ve got a super easy to fill in worksheet waiting for you that will walk you through EVERYTHING we talked about today and make it SUPER simple to get it done. So set aside an hour or two this week and commit to nailing down your dream customer + attraction statement. And then bask in the awesomeness that is having that item crossed off your to-do list FOR GOOD because it’s going to feel amazing!
So get to work + I’ll see you next week!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Go from 0 → SEO HERO in just 14 days with our no-nonsense, easy-to-understand approach to search engine optimization on Etsy (and then rest easy and cross it off your “to-do” list for good!)
Our done-for-you marketing system + community for creating consistent sales on Etsy (it’s like having a marketing team in your back pocket)
An accelerated 12-month group coaching program + done-for-you curriculum for those ready to get OFF of Etsy and turn their creative passions into ridiculously profitable passive income streams in #notimeflat
I’m happy to say that my little shop is more successful than I ever could have imagined, especially after implementing the MYM [Mastermind Your Marketing] course last year. I went from getting 1 sale every 2-3 weeks to 1 sale/day and now AT LEAST 2 sales/day. I am barely keeping up!”
Loving the course. It’s making EVERYTHING click in my overcrowded brain and I can actually see the dots connecting. You really have simplified SEO. Thank you so much!”
40+ orders so far TODAY and 200+ orders this month. This may be small for some, but for me, this is a new record! I’ve never seen numbers like this in my Etsy shop (it’s even busier than Christmas!).
I’m a former six-figure Etsy seller turned online business strategist who believes in my core that you CAN build a business that supports YOU— whether you’re full-time momming, working that 9-5, or just looking for flexibility + freedom.
You don’t have to sacrifice your time to build a profitable business that you love— you just need to build it strategically (and I’ll show you how!)