Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Heart Art: Finding Your Market with Megan Auman

Megan Auman recently presented for the I Heart Art seminar series at MICA. I was able to experience the presentation through a live webcast. As a chat room sardine I met many crafters, artists, and entrepreneurs anxious to refine their marketing strategy.
From the beginning, Megan had a great energy (despite all the sound blips and frozen screens) she really reached both live and online audiences with a great clarity. I believe her website states her mission best: 
"...what would business school look like if it was geared towards crafters, designers, and makers? At crafting an MBA, the goal is to help you polish those basic skills (like business planning and bookkeeping), develop a marketing plan (online and off), and help keep you up to date with trends in the business world – while also helping develop skills specific to a craft based business (selling online, craft shows, trade shows, and promoting your portfolio)." 

Everyone always tells us to "find your niche", but we often need questions and processes that allow us to really narrow the field.
Here are a couple of Megan's answers to the "niche dilemma": 

Ask a Bazillion Questions About YOUR Customer (Be Specific!)
Is your ideal customer male or female? Age?
Where do they live? Geographic area? Counties? City vs. suburb. vs. farm country?
What do they look like? Hair, skin, anything!
Are they in a relationship? Married? Single? Kids? Grandkids?
Employment/Career? Professional Occupation?
Office? Home? Checkout counter?
Income level? Do they get paid regularly? What is their pay check pattern?
Vacation? Do they have time for vacation?
What do they read or listen to? TV? Books?
Trend follower?
Friends? Loner?
Stay at home type? Go out on the town type?
How is my ideal customer different then me?
(Your ideal customer is NOT you!) 

The Social Media Spy Cam
We all know you have researched old boyfriends/girlfriends from college on Facebook, why not put the same effort into researching your fans? What about your twitter followers--who do they follow?
*Pay attention to what your fans and followers talk about
*Send out a formal Survey: Facebook/Blog Polls or Survey Monkey
*Start to have a dialogue: Post questions that your customers will answer freely
*Even Google map your online purchases
Research your Competitors
Do they have a press page?
Which blogs or magazines feature them?
Look up the target demographic of that site or publication using online resources like
What stores are carrying their products?
After your research is done be sure to ask yourself - how do I differentiate myself from my competition?

Amazing Resources and Presentation Links:
The Great Northern Crafts
: All based on embroidery for Twin Peaks
Girls Can Tell
: A craft shop that makes all products with diagram imagery
Peter Shankman: Social Media Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, CEO, Speaker, Consultant & Adventurist
More information on the NEW Business program at MICA and other Continuing Education programs.
A 12-week marketing e-course by Megan Auman!
Free traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more for websites...

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