Seller Guide Chapter 1: Identifying your Audience

Knowing your audience is the core element of any e-commerce strategy. And, it’s no different when selling custom shirts.

What is a Target Audience?

Your target audience is the group of people your products and messaging are aimed towards.

Most products aren’t going to appeal to everyone, which is why identifying your target audience is important! By conducting research on the kind of person you think will be interested in your product, you can better position your campaign to appeal to them. If your target audience is large, it may be wise to break it up even further into segments. Segments are groups within your target audience that have different characteristics.

You want your custom apparel to resonate with your target audience – or your segments of this audience. These are the people who will ideally buy and share about your product.

3 Questions to Answer about your Customers

1. Who Are Your Customers or Followers?

Start by building an understanding of your current audience. Begin to create lists of characteristics of them, then think about who you envision purchasing your shirt. Consider what will motivate them to buy, and what visuals would connect with them.

2. What Do Customers Love About You?

Your customers have chosen to buy your products over competitors and alternatives. So, what sets you apart from the rest? What is your competitive advantage? List out what your customers are saying about you, the pros and the cons.

3. How Do Customers Engage With You?

Where do your customers get their information about you? Are they visiting your brick-and-mortar store or office? If your community predominantly reaches you online, do you send out email newsletters, post on Instagram or your blog daily? These answers will help you when it comes time to promote your campaign. Getting the word out about your campaign is as important as creating an well-designed t-shirt.

Identifying Your Target Audience

By using the following research tactics, you can fully identify your target audience. You’ll know in general who they are, and therefore can make assumptions about what they’d like to see in your campaign.

Find Demographic and Behavioral Data Online

Start your research by using social media and website analytics tools. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter all have analytics tools specific to their platforms. Google Analytics provides insights on web behavior and demographics specific to your profiles. These resources show age, gender makeup, location, and devices used. Also, you can spot behavioral patterns like referring websites, channels and keywords searched.

Other demographic and web analytics tools include Think with Google, American Fact Finder, MyBestSegments, Kissmetrics and Hubspot.

Research and Monitor Competitors

Your competitors are brands that share the same target market as you. Start to compile a list of the competitors in your industry. You can set up Google Alerts for your competitors to monitor relevant news and events.

Create a competitor scorecard in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel to track your competitor’s information Note the channels they’re on and their strategies — are they using custom designed merchandise or apparel? This will help you define your strengths and areas of opportunity.

Competitive analysis tools include: BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, and Google Trends.

Engage With Your Audience Directly

Speaking directly to a member of your target audience is very valuable. There are several different ways to do this. You can conduct a one on one interview, hold a small focus group, or run an online survey. It’s important to consider which of these items you think your target audience would engage with most. Draft a list of questions that uncover people’s motivations, wants and needs concerning your product or similar alternatives.

Survey tools that help gather research online include Survey Money, Typeform and Google Forms.

Track Down Key Influencers

A key influencer is anyone active online who is followed by your target audience. To start, get to know the brands and individuals your audience admires. Dig into your follower list and explore who your followers are following.

To keep track of relevant influencer information, consider adding a tab to your competitor research Google Sheet or Excel File. For each influencer, list any contact information, keywords, hashtags and content topics you have in common. This will come in handy when you’re looking to build partnerships to promote your products.

Keep in mind, your audience is likely hanging out on a variety of channels, some you may have never heard of. When you’re ready, consider searching beyond social media. Explore company websites, blogs, forums, news sites or other unexpected niche communities.

Key influencer and social monitoring tools include Keyhole, HootSuite and BuzzSumo.

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