When I start working with a new client I’ll usually ask early on who their ideal customer is and who buys their products.
Far too often the answer I get is “Anyone really”.
When you are a small retailer (online or not), trying to please everyone just isn’t going to work. It’s vital to know your niche – a small but specific and well defined segment of the population.
Once you have defined this you can really understand your customer. What motivates them, what concerns them, what are their values.
And with this knowledge you can target your online marketing and talk directly to your customer in a way that they understand and relate to. It matters for:
Your website copy
The words you choose on your website need to trigger the right emotions in your buyers.
Take a word like “luxury” for example. You would generally associate this with high quality, expensive and the sort you item you want but don’t really need.
Whereas the word “cheap” tends to make us think we are getting a bargain but there will probably be a trade-off in terms of quality.
Think about that customer – in what way are they price conscious? Do they want the cheapest, or are they willing to pay a little (or a lot) more to get something they value. Might they be suspicious of inexpensive items?
And it’s not just about price. If you sell eco-friendly products your customers are likely to be concerned about the source and environmental impact – make sure you emphasise this.
Style can be an important factor too. There’s a big difference between urban chic and shabby chic when it comes to interiors!
Your website images
Online buyers can’t touch and feel your products so you have to sell them visually. And this is particularly important if you are selling unique and one of a kind items rather than branded goods. There’s a reason why marketplaces like Not on the High Street have such high standards when it comes to photographs.
Professional, styled images can dramatically lift your website conversion rate. And if you style them to appeal to your target customer you’ll be even more successful.
Your blog titles
By crafting blog articles specifically for your core audience, you’ll get much better results. Forget “click-bait” style titles designed to attract large numbers of visitors. As a niche seller, you want to attract those who will actually buy your items.
For example, let’s say you sell fashion accessories. If your typical customer is young, fashion conscious and on a tight budget then “Get this look for less” type articles will work. They won’t if your products are designed (and priced) for the sophisticated business woman.
Take a look at the magazines your customer reads (if you don’t know, ask them) and get inspiration from the headlines and features they are running.
Your social media
There’s no point putting your effort into Twitter if all your customers are over on Instagram.
Big brands can afford to maintain a presence across every social media channel – small businesses usually have to make choices about where to focus their activity. If you know your audience, understand their preferred social networks and the way the use them, you’ll save time and money. And get better results.
Targeting a particular audience doesn’t mean you will only sell to those customers, but by defining your niche and concentrating on those people who will absolutely love your products, you’ll achieve much better sales.