THE TARGET AUDIENCE FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS:
A distinct group of consumers within the predetermined target market who you identify as the targets (or the recipients) for the specific message you are directing your design.
A Target audience is a group of consumers which can be identified as purchasers of a company’s product or service. In business and in graphic design, identifying the target audience helps the company develop effective marketing strategies.
The previous article was about strategies for graphic designers to understand the customers with a target audience assessment which helps them create a design product that speaks the client’s language and answers the clients and users needs.
In this second part, we will discuss the specific strategies for those working as freelance graphic designers. Defining a target audience is one of the most important tasks. It is the foundation of building your focus working group. Most people in graphic design have started as freelancers as it is a great opportunity to see what the designers are good at. Later, they change their mindset to business owners or working for agencies. In this phase, they tell the clients what they can do for them.
The Graphic Designer Audience
The graphic designers’ audience is not “everyone”, “anyone who needs graphic design”. Freelance designers need to define their target group market to identify, understand that niche and reach them with their marketing message. The more specific the target group is the more designers need to focus to be able to reach them and satisfy their specific market needs. It becomes a well-defined focal point but, on the other hand, it does not mean you are restricted to that niche – they are your main focal point nevertheless other people can also interact with you, but they are not going to be your top focus group.
The more detailed the graphic designers target their audience, the best conversion rates they will reach.
Why Should Freelance Graphic Designers Choose a Niche?
When you are working by yourself, if you are starting a business, you need to tell in a few words what you do and for whom you do it. It assists you to be clear about your work, communicate with your clients, attract more customers and become more involved in the things you excel at.
You should draw your own unique story as you test what you are skilful at and specialise in that area. Consider and detail a niche is important. Primary consideration on niche might avoid having to rebrand the site focus later. It will also make it easier for clients to refer your job to other people, online or by word-of-mouth.
In case you are looking for a designer to produce a brochure for your company, who would you choose? One that is an enthusiast with a dash of tech know-how or one that specialises in books and magazine designs? A freelance graphic designer should build a portfolio with the aim to earn trust and authority.
Use The Niche to Stand Out From The Competition
People looking for designers, normally rely on trust, authority, quality and reputability. Deciding who your clients are will help you develop some good qualities to target them. Specialise in your niche. Own your niche. That will set you apart and shine before potential clients.
PEOPLE LOOKING FOR DESIGNERS NORMALLY RELY ON TRUST, AUTHORITY, QUALITY AND REPUTABILITY.
Is It Possible to Niche Too Much?
The chosen niche is not a forever thing. The designer should evolve. Should change. Businesses grow and evolve and that is part of the market.
Transitioning from one niche to another involves reworking the brand messaging to tell people who you are trying to serve, why you are moving to that area, what you are offering and how you will do it. As a precaution, change the social media, blog and website immediately to centre on the new niche.
How to Select The Niche
The following steps ensure ways to select niches and attract relevant clients:
Define The USP – Unique Selling Point
Your selling point needs to be defined and reachable within seconds of your client visiting your site. It gives clients a reason to reach that designer. Clarify who your customers are, how they can find you, what you offer them.
Crossover Skills Valuable In The Niche
Specialised abilities, previous work experiences, decision-making, oral and written communication knowledge, problem-solving, organisation, technology abilities, and others are distinct advantages over the competition and should be emphasised.
Nobody can train honesty, punctuality, integrity, good communication skills and education, good work ethic. Market them as an asset.
Draw a Unique Story
Many people have stories that set them apart from others. Our experience matter. These stories form a personal world understanding and inspire others.
Highlight Passion Projects
Feature favourite passion project in the marketing material. They are great examples of what you offer. Highlight the things you enjoy and make them personal.
Make The Niche Profitable
The best work is to be paid to do what we like. If the niche is profitable, concentrate on it. But if the niche has no money, better change it. And find a target market willing to pay and provide successful money. If you are passionate about that niche that doesn’t pay, take it on projects to help the community but leave the financial living to a niche with more demand.
How to Find Clients
This is the most interesting question for freelance graphic designers. How can they find the target market willing to use their services? This is when understanding the target group is essential. The more clearly the designers define the group, the better they can understand them and reach them with the best prospects.
Technology offers us several ways to target the market with audience research to go after the people who really want their services.
Steps of Audience Research:
- Compile data on current clients – identify those that are already using your services and define their characteristics and information into a database with trends and averages. One improvement to this step is to develop buyer personas. They make it simple to visualise who is engaging with you.
- Check the website and social media analytics – analytics guides from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat, for example, help you understand who is interacting with you even if they are not customers.
- Investigate the competition – are they going to the same segments that you are? Or other segments that you did not contemplate? How are they positioning themselves? There are several SEO research tools useful to help you find the keywords the competition is using and uncover emerging or niche markets. Examples of those tools are SpyFu.com, Alexa.com, SimilarWeb.com or Trends.google.com.
- Clarify the value of your product – customers enjoy learning features and benefits of your products. Is it going to make their life easier? Better? More interesting?
- Create a target market statement – to create a brand positioning statement to define your target market to guide your marketing efforts. Make a target market statement for each product (or product category) you offer.
- Include your target market into social ads – or, create specific social and/or organic ads to the targeted market exactly as you have defined them. Are the ads in their language? Do the visual make sense to that audience?
- Add lessons to target audience research – The results from including the target market into ads should produce additional results to the first ones you had. This is normal. People change. Target market changes. Revisit this audience research regularly to ensure you are still covering the most valuable potential customers.
Sometimes we are working on a niche that is not profitable to us. What should we do? Is it a trial and error? I advise to check if there are other people in that niche running a cost-effective business, and look at those successful competitors and learn from them (not copy them!). Try to understand the struggles they went through and learn how to stand out from them
Working with clients
“If you don’t plan on creating your business, then you plan on being broke”
(Mentioned by Kendra Gaines)
Consistency is key. Once you have selected your niche, be clear about what you are trying to do and how you will convey about your service. Set up the features of your service and the benefits it will bring to your clients. Be clear about that. Remember that you are in a competitive market. Know what prompts your audience to respond and make sure your service does that.
When you feel you understand your audience and your purpose go to your design process. Use all the good design foundational theories to make your design clear and effective. Keep the visual hierarchy that you as a designer possess and communicate to the target market with order and cleanliness, connecting with the customer in language and tone. Always remember that your goal is to “get the people to move” (Kendra Gaines).
It means you have to connect to them using the principles of psychographics – personality traits, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyle). Use the visual design to incite the consumer to feel a certain way as a call-to-action to respond to your message.
To work as graphic designers we have to understand marketing tactics and align our visual work to them. It is hard work and it takes time. Make sure you work smart and work hard. Your business and your clients depend on the effective visuals you create.
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