A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

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4.2 Visualising my ideal customer

Another way to capture your target audience is to visualise an individual. This might follow a broader audience segmentation exercise or might be done as a stand-alone activity.

Grey-haired man wearing a floral Howaiian-style shirt, heart-shaped sunglasses, sipping a cocktail.

In her book, The Creative Entrepreneur, Seminega (2015, p.102) uses the example of a women’s jewellery designer. She advises visualising one person who represents your ideal customer by considering the following questions:

  • Who is your ideal client, the person who will buy your products all the time?
  • She wears your jewellery but what else does she wear?
  • What clothes does she wear to work?
  • Does she wear the same jewellery to parties as she does to the office or does she try to change her look?
  • Is she classic or casual?

This attention to detail might sound over the top, but by visualising your ideal customer you can start to think more effectively about how to attract their attention. For example, whether her style is more casual or glamorous might lead you to advertise in different places or publications. Or you might organise a product shoot with a model who is dressed appropriately for the style and age range that you are targeting.

Just Entrepreneurs (no date) takes it a step further and suggests that you draw a picture of your ideal customer. Their range of questions is even more detailed, including:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they go for leisure and how often?
  • Where do they shop?
  • Where do they spend most of their time, on or offline?
  • What social media sites do they use?
  • Do they have time to spend chit chatting and if yes, what would they talk about?
  • Do they drink coffee or tea?
  • What products do they use to wash their hair?
  • Do they have the time to go out for pampering sessions?

If your product, service or idea is aimed more at organisations than individuals, you might want to consider slightly different questions (Slingerland, no date), such as:

  • What industry are they in?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • Where does their company operate?

You will then need to identify the employees who can make decisions about buying your offer, so ask yourself:

  • What does their typical day look like?
  • Which tools do they use?
  • What defines success in their position?

This is where your market research comes in again, using some of the online tools suggested by Elias (2017) to identify where your target audience is, what search terms they use, and so on. Look back at the earlier section on market research to remind yourself.

Activity 4 Who is my target audience?

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Try to visualise your ideal customer or audience member as accurately as you can. You might choose to draw a picture of them or use an image-based social networking tool like Pinterest to select images that reflect key characteristics, such as the clothes they wear or the environment they prefer to hang out in. If you prefer to deal with words rather than images – make a list. Use the questions outlined above to help you.

If you need more questions to inspire you, Jawfish Digital [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] suggests 101 questions to define your target audience (to open the link in a new window or tab hold the Ctrl key (or Cmd on a Mac) when you click).

Discussion

Have you managed to create a detailed picture (either as an image or description) of your ideal customer? Are they young, old, male, female, in a specific location, etc.?

If you have struggled with this activity, there are various ways you could stimulate your thinking. For example, by looking through a relevant magazine for images that inspire you, talking to friends and family about who they think would pay for your product/service, or attending a relevant gallery or event and observing the other people who are there.

As you start to home in on the customers you want to target your product or service at, you can also more easily identify your competitors. In the next section you’ll look at competitor analysis in more detail.

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