Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Target Marketing that Works For Me

I don’t seek out marketing tips because I’m generally selling very well. So I tuned into Etsy’s Success Symposium yesterday at random and just happened to catch April Bowles- Olin’s workshop Attract Your Target Market — You're Not Walmart. I enjoy writing (have you guessed?) so I got caught up in her writing exercise. First you list the characteristics of your buyers. A few of mine are: nature loving, eco lifestyle, animal lovers, non commercial, cooks at home, appreciates the simple pleasures. So then you write a profile of this person- a character who is a composite of your buyers. Mine is a woman who passionately cares about her kids, about the world’s complex big issues, who is creative herself, is proud of her homemaking and entertaining abilities. It goes on and on but that’s the condensed version.

So then April threw in a strange question: “What problem do you solve for this customer?” I scribbled aimlessly and then figured out a few things. It feels silly to even reveal that, so I won’t.

But what I can say is that I listed 4 new pieces last night. Two sold immediately. Those were the ones in which I added a short sentence to what I usually write in my listing copy, based on April’s exercise. Not only that, one sold to the exact same woman who I pictured as my typical buyer.

There are lots of obvious answers to that question- “What problem do you solve for this customer?” Sometimes it’s wanting to give an original gift. Sometimes it’s wanting something that is not disposable, that will live with you and pass memories down through new generations. But the power isn’t in knowing the answer, like knowing my answer.The power is in the question.

Thanks, April Bowles-Olin! I like your style. Marketing doesn’t have to be hyping yourself into a celebrity and stepping over others to get there. It really can be just discreetly, authentically, and effectively, connecting to the people who want to buy your stuff.


  1. Interesting ... congrats on your sales and continued success.

  2. Very good article Lee. Good food for thought.

  3. Congratulations! I will do that, too!

  4. I just stumbled upon this and first off congrats on you sales!! and second i wasn't able to catch the im so glad i read this...I will try these exercises as well! Thanks!!

    ps...great shop! already marked some new favs!

  5. Thank you for this! I've had an aimless sort of vision of who I thought would enjoy my work, but I never articulated it. I also never thought about it from the point of view of what problem I solve for them.

    I need to go do some thinking and writing.

  6. this is fascinating - thanks lee! and congratulations on the quick sales...

  7. Exactly. The old saying work smarter not harder certainly applies here. Stepping on people certainly doesn't feel good, nor does it keep the bridges in good repair. Even with the new age of marketing, the basics still hold true.

  8. interesting ~ of course now i'm dying to know what you wrote!!
    i find it so hard to pin down who my customer is, as the people i know a little about are so wildly varied!
    congrats on the quick sales + thanks for the summary :)

  9. thanks, i just found this article via the artisan's gallery team. i need to do some writing.

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