Last time we talked about branding and how you treat your customers. Now that you know what your brand is, now let’s talk about the specifics on your customers.
Let’s get this out right now. Art is subjective. Period. Not everyone is going to like what you do. Not everyone should. Along with that fact, you’ll find that the more popular you become, the more people don’t like you. Think about the Harry Potter and Twilight series. As each series has grown, so have the detractors who say that they are awful trash. Do you like everything? Oh, come on. Red lights, liver and onions, rats, snakes, spiders, Britney Spears? There’s got to be something you feel the world would be better without. So the next time you get a mother who steps in your booth and tells her daughter, “Fascinating? Really! There’s a big difference between ‘fascinating’ and ‘interesting,” you’ll remind yourself that art is subjective and that you’ll remember the daughter’s words spoken about how much she loves your art before she ran off to get her mother rather than the mother’s words. (Yes, true story – oh well. Someday, the mother will eat her words. Mawhahahah!)
Accepting that, let me tell you a theory.
I once heard that all thoughts exist in a “cloud.” It holds all experiences of humanity. This is why stories can be similar in nature to something that happened in real life, or why ideas that seem “original” might not be.
My extension on this theory is that everyone is plugged into this ethereal cloud at different areas. Did you ever met someone who was so like-minded to you that it was like they were your twin? Or what about someone with ideas so opposite yours you wonder how they ever climbed our of the slime pond of life to grow into a multi-celled organism? Well, the “twin” was plugged into the cloud closer to you than the “primordial pond scum.”
There is also a saying that goes something like: if you want to learn something yourself, teach it to another and in doing so you’ll learn what you need to know.
Taking both these things, you’ll find out who your customers are. Chances are your ideal customer will be someone who thinks very much like you do and who needs to learn the same lessons you need to learn. Think about who you are and what your art represents, and you’ll find your ideal customer. Look at your existing client base. What similarities to you are you finding? From here, you can expand your audience once you know who you’re looking for and why. If you find your art and client base on a different spectrum than you expected to see them, for example you’re trying to sell flowery buttons to burly bikers, you’ll probably see that you need to pick a side. If you want to sell to bikers, maybe eagle or flaming buttons would work better. If you want to sell flowery buttons, maybe crafters and designers would be a better audience. Chances are, you already know that you don’t fit in with the biker crowd or you don’t like doing flowery buttons and your choice will become clear.
So, while art is subjective, once your art is in alignment with who you are and what you know about yourself, you’ll find your like-minded audience.