Resources To Help You Understand Your Ideal Customer

“Know thyself” is one of the most important pieces of advice for artrepreneurs who are starting to build their creative business and brand. But advice I think is just as important — “Know thy customer.”

Photo by Zane Aveton

“Know thyself” is one of the most important pieces of advice for artrepreneurs who are starting to build their creative business and brand. But advice I think is just as important — “Know thy customer.” Your customer is the heart of your business and the one who will recognize and pay for your value. So, it’s time to learn about thy customers!

Before starting your research, jot down some ideas or hypotheses you might have about who your ideal customer is. Include demographics (age, gender, location, family size, etc.) and psychographics (interests, hobbies, buying preferences, etc.). These hypotheses will help guide your research.

So where can you go to research your potential customers?

Census data

The United States Census Bureau has tons of demographic information that can be crucial for your research. Want to market to individuals who make over a certain amount of money? This data source can tell you which zip codes have the most of this type of consumers. Want to market to families? This data source can tell you about households that report having kids. There’s a lot of information here, so just take some time to browse around and make sure to copy and paste information helpful information into your own research document.

Free services from America’s SBDC

I might be a bit biased here, considering that I work for the organization, but the nationwide Small Business Development Center is such an amazing, free resource. Not only can you work with counselors on every aspects of your business, but some centers also help with research work. For example, in my office at the Nevada SBDC in Reno, we have access to databases that provide us specialized, in-depth information that could be crucial for developing your business model. We receive access to reports from hundreds of databases that provide information that would normally costs a pretty penny to obtain. There are SBDCs all around the country, so visit this page to find one near you!

Free market reports

Mintel is a highly respected data source that provides research on all kinds of markets and people. Single reports can cost up to $5,000, but Mintel offers some reports for free. Check out this page to see if they have free information that might be helpful for you. For example, Mintel is currently featuring two free reports titled GLOBAL BEAUTY AND PERSONAL CARE TRENDS and THE AUSTRALIAN CONSCIOUS CONSUMER. These titles might seem quite specific, but if you’re targeting these particular industries or markets, these reports could be a huge win for you. There are more reports and resources, so go check it out for yourself!

You can also use sites like Quora to get a better idea of trending topics and opinions of those who you think are your target market. This kind of research is less structured and takes a bit more digging, but can be helpful nonetheless.

Surveys

If you have an idea about who your target market is and want to learn more about their preferences, surveys are a good way to collect that information. Of course, you have to actually get your survey to your potential customers, so think about how you are able to reach them. SurveyMonkey is a popular service that can be used to deliver surveys, along with Google Forms (which is free!).

If your survey is going out to people you do not know the age, gender, location, etc. of, it can be helpful to collect this information as part of the survey. You want to make sure you understand the demographics of your potential target market. Other important questions to ask might be: “How do you access ____?” or “How much would you pay for ____? or even “When do you think about/buy ____?” Try using scales and multiple choice options to get more clear and concise answers. The goal of this survey should be to understand the habits and preferences of your customers. From this exercise, you want to learn how and when to reach them.

Google’s Consumer Barometer

Google provides some free resources that can help you understand your ideal customer, such as the Consumer Barometer. This tool helps you learn about how your potential target market behaves online. Understanding how your potential customers use the internet is critical for tailoring your marketing strategies and business model around their habits and preferences.


Once you feel like you have a good grasp on who your potential target markets might be, consider creating a customer profile for each type of person you want to market/sell to. An example might look like this:

Tonya: Tonya is a stay at home mom who is apart of a household that makes over $100K per year. Her average age is 38 years old. She loves fashion and is drawn to exclusive purchases. She likes to show off her purchases to friends and family. She loves her kids and even spoils them. She exercises often and engages in repeated purchases. Once she finds a brand she likes, she sticks with it. She is very active on Pinterest and Facebook, but doesn’t seem to bother with other social media platforms. She acts as the decision maker in her house when it comes to travel decisions, household products, and purchases for the kids. She likes to online shop, but often engages in weekend shopping trips with friends.

As a mural creator, Tonya might be a great target customer for you. Knowing as much as you can about her helps you to understand where to reach her and how to express your value to her in a way that will convince her to buy.


Do some research of your own and then try creating a customer profile for your potential customer type(s)!

NOTE: Some businesses might have multiple target markets. For example, as a mural creator, you might offer high-end home murals to well-off families and fun, funky murals to small businesses. Learn about each and understand how your value and marketing shifts between them.

Research might not be your favorite, but try challenging yourself to find new ways to understand your potential customers. The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to communicate and work with them. You’ve got this!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to make your artrepreneurial journey easier!

Building a Brand Around Your Art

Building a brand around your art is a crucial step in developing your very own art-based business!

Whether you want to be a popular freelancer or the CEO of your dream creative company, building a brand around your art is a crucial step in developing your business. We brushed the surface on how to build a brand in this article, but maybe you need some more time developing a brand that’s truly what you envision. Good. Building a brand is one of the most important things you can do to ensure long-term success in your artrepreneurship endeavor.

As a refresher, there are two questions you must answer that will act as the core of your brand: What is your value? and What is your messaging?

Your Value = Your customer’s problem + Your solution

Your value revolves around the problem you’re helping to solve for your customers. Are you providing them a way to reach more customers? A way to share their feelings or overcome obstacles? A way to build or share their own brand? Get specific. What problem is your customer facing, and how do you help them solve it?

Your Message = Your value + Your customers’ personality

Cool. You have a good understanding of what value you provide. Now, you need to think about how you’re going to communicate that value with your potential customers. The key here is: your potential customers. To understand what kind of messaging will appeal to them, you must UNDERSTAND THEM. Who are they? What do they like? Where do they frequent? Who are their friends? Who do they ask for advice? What kind of image do they try to portray? Who do they want to be? Try to understand what motivates and interests your potential customers, so that you can communicate with them accordingly.

Once you understand your customers better, you’ll know more about how to approach them. For example, should your brand be casual or super professional? Artsy, modern, or classy? Fun, relaxed, or serious? The easiest way to answer this question is to look at your potential customers and think about their image. Are they casual or super professional? Artsy, modern, or classy? Fun, relaxed, or serious? People have a tendency to be drawn to what is like them, so you should try your best to make your brand reflect them and everything they want to be.

Your Brand = Your value + Your messaging (in action!)

Now that you have an idea of what your value is and how you’re going to share that value in a way that is familiar and interesting to your potential customers, create a document that captures the core of your brand. Make a list of keywords that relate to your customers’ key problem. Write out some words that reflect the “vibe” of your brand. Jot down some sentences that feature the popular language of your target customer. This document is SUPER important and will serve as the core of your efforts from here on out. If something doesn’t fit in or match your brand document, don’t say it or do it. This document will help guide you as you continue to build and share your brand and business.

Lastly, you should also develop a brand or mood board that features the visual elements your brand. What kinds of fonts, colors, and other visual elements capture the brand you’ve described in your brand document? Here’s an example of the branding board I created for CREATIONS Film, the creative company my husband and I founded together:

Branding Board Example for CREATIONS Film created by Kayla Banda

Remember: Building a brand is a commitment, not just a one-and-done brainstorming session. Visualizing your brand is one thing (that’s what we’ve done here). But actually creating that brand takes time as you market, work with customers, and build an online and offline community. Use this brainstorming session as a guide to help you make decisions and continue building your art-based business!

Create your own branding document and branding board, and share about your experience below!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get fresh, new content as you work on building your very own creative company!

5 First Steps in Building Your Art-based Business

You might be thinking that it’s time to turn your art into a business. Here are 5 crucial steps in starting to develop your new art-based business:

You might be thinking that it’s time to turn your art into a business. ‘Artrepreneurship’ is becoming more and more common and maybe you’re ready to take a whack at it. Not exactly sure what ‘artrepreneurship’ is? Take a read through Is Art Entrepreneurship? to make sure that you’re ready to take the leap. If you’ve already read through the post, then you’ve decided that you’re ready to move forward with your lifestyle or growth company. AWESOME! (If you’re not familiar with the difference between a lifestyle company and a growth company, please take the time to read through Is Art Entrepreneurship? so that you can have a solid foundation on which to move forward!)

Regardless of which kind of company you’ve decided on, there are 5 crucial steps in starting to develop your new art-based business:

1 – Understand your value

As an artist, you have a very special set of skills and people of all kinds are looking for your services. The first step to serving those potential customers is to identify exactly what it is that you can offer them. Start by thinking about the need you are fulfilling. Perhaps companies have a need to share their messages through video content, but can’t make quality videos by themselves. As a video content creator, for example, you can help to fulfill that need.

Think about your customers’ “pain points,” or things that are hard or impossible for them to do on their own. For example, maybe they can’t make that high quality video because they don’t have the knowledge to edit their videos in professional editing software, but you do. A successful business helps solve it’s customers’ problems — what problem are you helping solve for your potential customers?

2 – Decide on your message

Now that you truly understand what helpful solution you’re providing for your potential customers, it’s time to think about the best way to communicate your value with them in a relatable way. “We help bring your brand to life.” While this isn’t about making slogans, you can develop a message that underlies your creative business. Maybe it’s an internal statement that sounds something like: “I help people grow their own brands by creating killer video content for them.” Decide on what your message, your mission, is so that you can work on sharing this message with your potential customers.

3 – Think about your branding

One of the best ways to share your message with potential customers is through your branding. Your branding consists of everything from fonts to colors to slogans and logos. Your branding should make your message clear to the customer; let them know what problems you can help them solve.

There are two main elements of your brand: the visual elements, and the emotional elements. One common way to share visual elements is through a branding board. See the example below. Read more about how to create an awesome, comprehensive branding board here.

MARQUE ONE brand board
Branding Board example by Krishna Solanki

While a branding board can help you share your brand visually, you should also work on sharing your brand by focusing on relevancy to the customer — this helps to create a emotional response. One way to do this is by creating relatable slogans like the: “I help people grow their own brands by helping them creating killer video content.” Make sure you focus on your value and the problem that you’re solving. Another way is to develop a list of keywords that summarize your value and how you want to share it. “awesome video content, collaborative concept development, message sharing, fun to work with, creative business, professional yet casual, the list could go on. There are many ways to describe how your want your brand to feel. Write down as many as you can think of, then choose the top 5, 10, or 15 that really describe your brand in a way that’s relatable to your potential customers.

4 – Evaluate your resources

Alright, you’ve got your value, your message, and your brand — but how are you going to deploy them? You need to evaluate your resources. How much time do you have to spend working on your business? How much money do you have to support your marketing efforts? Who do you know who could act as a mentor, partner, or evangelist for you? Do you have all the tools you need to execute for your potential customers?

One of the best ways to evaluate your resources is by making a plan:

5 – Make a Plan

Business plans sound stiff, but the benefit you can get from prepping one is well worth the work. Making a plan doesn’t have to be hard. Strategyzer.com provides the Business Model Canvas, which is like a one-page business plan that can help you get a plan going for your new artrepreneurship endeavor. Follow me to the next blog to learn about how to create a one page plan for your art-based business!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Through each step, remember to always be thinking from the perspective of your potential customers.