Adventures in finding the target audience for a photography business

Defining one's target audience is something all entrepreneurs must do. It is a much harder task than I expected.  "Tidbits: what I learned this week" (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2015.

Defining one's target audience is something all entrepreneurs must do. It is a much harder task than I expected.  "Tidbits: what I learned this week" (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2015.

Describe your ideal client

Can you answer the questions, "Who do I want to sell to?"  and "Who will buy my work/product or service?" 

  • Are you selling art in an Etsy shop?  Who will buy it?
  • Are you selling paintings?  Who will buy them?
  • Are you selling photography?  Who will buy it?
  • Are you selling workshops?  Who will buy them?

Why is knowing your ideal client important?  Because "knowing"  this person will guide every step in presenting your business, your products or your services.

No doubt about it, defining your ideal client, or target audience, is hard work.  And, as I found out this week, it is imperative to get it right! 

Here's what you can expect in today's post

  1. The tool I used to help clarify the description of my ideal client. 
  2. A temporary setback. 
  3. The information I gained. 
  4. How I used the new knowledge to restructure communication.

The Plan

The recommended first step is to compile a list of 100 questions to ask your imaginary client - then answer them as that same client.  Talk about stretching the imagination! Most people who do this exercise learn the imaginary client possesses many of their own qualities.  Or, as one of my colleagues noted, her ideal client was just like her except the client had more money and better behaved hair!

Step two...interview some folks who match your description. This is where the plan got interesting.

A temporary setback

I queried a small group about the blogs they read. Answers ranged from "What's a blog?" "I never read blogs." "Why should I read a blog?" and everything in between.

The answers crushed me...really crushed me. My entire communication plan was centered around the use of this blog.  Now what?

My great disappointment hinged on two items. First, I value learning (oh yeah, PhD!) and I see blogs as great learning tools.  Second, I love to write.  Who am I writing to/for if my target audience doesn't read blogs?

Information gained

After three hours of moping, and consuming an entire bag of ginger snaps (I do not recommend "ginger snap therapy" as a business strategy), I got down to what I do best.  Research.

 The Pew Research Center is an excellent resource. The results from different studies revealed my target audience prefers personal emails, uses Facebook quite heavily, and LinkedIn.  Oh...

Why did I not use this research earlier in the process?  There is no satisfying answer to that question. I fully bought the "target audience" is a reflection of me. Except the folks I queried were not like me. (Isn't hindsight so clear?) Many of the very qualities I defined for my ideal client were not present.

Restructuring

This is the new plan of action for communicating with my target audience.  I reserve the right to change direction as needed (Insert belly laugh here!)  I will focus on Facebook entries, relevant, personalized emails, and LinkedIn.

I will continue writing blog posts to build content for a future book.

Bottom Line

Start from where you are.  I would not have acquired this depth of understanding about my ideal client without this experience.  I started with a mistaken perception and subsequently found the errors.

Don't be afraid to take that next step.  Even if you do it "wrong" the information gained will be invaluable to your art or photography business.

Use what you have.  Research skills rank highly amongst my greatest strengths.  I was able to take new information, research it, and process a new plan of action. 

Use your best skills and strengths to move your art and photography business forward.

As always, thanks for reading. Comments and questions are welcome in the space below. Please share the post on your social media.

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