Deciding how to aim your designs to make a splash with a particular target group is a tactic that’s difficult to master, but reaps mega rewards.
Consider this: what do you put in a mousetrap if you want to catch that pesky little rodent who keeps getting into your snack drawer? Cheese, obviously. And what might you put at the end of a fish hook when trying to catch your evening dinner at the local pond? A worm, of course. OK, so which type of designs should you put in the Marketplace or in your Shop to attract customers and give yourself the best chance at making a sale? [insert cricket noises here]. Not as easily answered, is it?
There are a few techniques you can use to target not only your designs, but your themes, marketing and Shop design, as well. It may seem like common sense once you read through them, but mastering the art of niche targeting takes some hard work and a lot of trial and error. Let’s have a peek at a few of them.
Where your target group lives can play a huge role in their interest in your designs. A couple things to focus on when considering geographic customer targeting are:
- Local customs or traditions
- Local cuisine
- Local sports teams
- Local dialects or sayings
Popular Spreadshirt Shop Owner Nektarinchen runs an incredibly successful business that centers around the quirky Austrian dialect. According to Nektarinchen:
Identify topics instead of trying to appeal to everyone. The best way is to be part of the target group yourself. That way you have a greater awareness of what people want, and you can save yourself the research of identifying the needs and esthetics of a target group.
What your target group does for a living can open up a whole new world of design ideas and sales potential. The best example of this would be creating “get hammered” designs for carpenters.
Some things to consider when designing for specific professions:
- Problems specific to the job (i.e. bad kids for teachers)
- Tools or gear specific to the job (i.e. a hammer for a carpenter or white clothing for painters)
- Skills specific to the job (i.e. mathematics for an engineer or patience for a nurse)
- Lingo or jargon specific to the job (i.e. “10-4” for a police officer or “CSS & HTML” for programmers)
One can use specific niches more intelligently by studying the target group. I adapted one of my designs specifically for hairdressers as a play on the saying “Life is not only black and white.” I used the dye codes for hair colors that only hairdressers would know: “Life is not only 2/0 or 12/1. It’s full of 5/66, 7/32 and 8/34”. It was an absolute hit!
Designing for specific hobbies is also a veritable fountain of opportunity. But don’t think you can just jump in there with a bunch of “Keep Calm and Paint” or “My other car is a Harley” designs. The intricacies of the hobbies are how you’ll create appeal with these very specific target groups. Crafting your designs around these specifics is sure to speak to a niche target group far more than the clichéd designs.
Keep in mind the following when aiming to appeal to hobbyists:
- Where the hobby takes place (i.e. in a boat or at the lake for fishing)
- Sayings or slang specific to the hobby (i.e. “salty” or “rage quit” for gamers)
- Things or items specific to the hobby (i.e. dirt for gardeners or GPS for geocaching)
According to Nektarinchen:
Taking the time to get this right requires a lot of work. It takes research and a lot of man hours to find just the right design idea. But the really well thought ones will succeed far better than copying one from the first ten rows of the marketplace list page.
We hope that this insight into target market designing helps sparks your creativity. There are endless opportunities out there for sales if you can tap into a niche market with thoughtful, clever designs.
Do you run a niche Shop or design specifically for a particular target market? How do you feel about these tips, and do you have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!