Who are your customers?

How do you define your target market? Do you have a particular type of customer in mind when you market yourself, or do you just look for anyone you think will pay? Are you afraid to specialise because you’re afraid to lose money by turning away customers?

These worries are natural, but a take-all-comers approach is not very effective. It’s hard to stand out without a clear idea of who you want to work for and what you want to do.

Rather than trying to be all things to all people, your best chance of success is to find a niche.

A niche is a market within a market, like portrait photography. Within niches there are even smaller niches. You can be a portrait photographer who specialises in family portraits, wedding portraits, pet portraits or corporate portraits. Within these narrow niches you can specialise even more. One very successful Sydney photographer specialises in fine art black and white family portraits. He doesn’t do weddings, he doesn’t do colour; just families, and just black and white.

Three steps to identify your niche

1. Look at past clients:

  • Look for clients you’d like to work with again
  • Look for the style of photography that makes you happy and that you do best
  • Think about what your past clients liked about your service and your work
  • Consider which clients have generated more money for you

2. Ask some questions about potential clients:

  • Is there a big enough market for what you want to sell?
  • Can you tailor your products and services to address this market’s needs?
  • Does anyone else already service this market is there room for new entrants?
  • Can you reach this market cheaply and effectively?

3. Create a picture of your ideal customer

  • It’s time for a bit of visualisation. Think about your customer’s age, gender, occupation, family, income, values and interests.
  • Now whenever you’re reviewing your business, building marketing plans or trying a different approach you can ask yourself, “would this appeal to my target customer?”

Choosing a niche will give your marketing efforts a sharp, natural focus.

Forget about getting to everybody. Put your time, money and effort into being the best in your niche. Your skills and focused approach will attract customers and put you ahead of the competition.

Robyn Mayne

Children’s portrait photographer, workshop facilitator & customer experience fanatic

Robyn Mayne Robyn operates the popular photography & lifestyle blog Today is Different and provides photography courses, workshops, retreats and networking events for photographers.

Robyn is offering all PhotoMerchant customers a 25% discount off two day workshops in Sydney (Register here and use the discount code pm1210a, or get 10% off consulting services anywhere in Australia by quoting the same discount code.

Written by

Kain is a co-founder, creative and marketing director at Fotomerchant. You've probably seen his template designs, blog posts and video content. His photography website lomovision.net is home to a collection of lomography, instagram and experimental photography.