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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Do your clients understand who their target markets are?

As a designer, you need to know what target markets you are going after if you want your design campaigns to succeed.

Every design campaign should have a type or group of people to target. Maybe you're designing for women between the ages of 25-35 with a toddler at home. Maybe it's balding men over the age of 50. It could be weekend warriors who like to surf. How about black businessmen between the ages of 22-35 who like driving fancy sports cars and jetting off for weekend parties in Las Vegas? All of these are target markets.

Whatever target markets you are designing for, it's your job to get into the heads of those people and design something that appeals to them.

But what happens when the marketing message your client wants you to create is more geared towards them than their target market?

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I discuss your position as the designer and how it's your job to educate your clients on what will and what won't work for their marketing campaign. Be sure to listen to the podcast for the expanded story.

Some clients don't understand the difference.

Some clients have a hard time distinguishing between what interests them and what interests their target market. A new restaurant owner is probably very interested in what brand of pots and pans they use in their kitchen, whether they have a gas or electric stove, where they get their meats, produce, spices. All of these things contribute to a successful business.

Patrons of the restaurant, on the other hand, don't care about the pots and pans or where the spices came from. They're interested in a good tasting meal eaten in a good atmosphere.

Both sides are interested in the restaurant, but they are interested in different things about the restaurant.

It's your job as the designer to weed through the information provided to you by your clients and pick out those bits that are of interest to the target markets.

Changing the message but keeping the meaning.

Sometimes, the success of a marketing campaign all comes down to the wording used in the campaign. Hiring a copywriter or wordsmith can help focus the message, but budgets don't always allow for them.

Look at the information provided by your client and try to determine the impact it will have on its target market. Adjust the information if needed to appeal to the target markets you are going after.

A paint shop that advertises “We can match any colour with a 95% accuracy” isn't as appealing as a paint shop that advertises “Show us a colour and we can match it almost perfectly”. Both messages mean the same thing, but to a customer wanting a special colour paint, the second one is more likely to get them to purchase their paint at that store.

Explaining it to your clients.

Some clients understand the concept of target markets naturally. But for those who don't, it may seem like a daunting task to explain it to them. You may be inclined to simply use the information they provide you and create their marketing campaign as is. If you do that, you will be doing your clients a disservice.

Point out the differences between what they think is important in their business and what their target market thinks is important. Use the restaurant analogy from above if it helps. If you can get them to understand, it will make it much easier working with them going forward.

If you point out the miscommunication between your client and their target markets you can improve the message they want to get out. Not only will you be creating better-focused marketing material, but you are also building a bond between you and your client that could last for many years. The next time that clients need something they will trust your judgement more.

Have you dealt with clients who didn't understand target markets?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Elly

My question for the podcast is about internships; would you take on an intern in your business as a home based designer? What would you look for in an intern? How importat do you think internships are in building a successful design career? I'd love your view on internsips both as a business owner and a former design student who has built a succeesful career.

To find out what I told Jordan you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Tip of the week Sales

Running a graphic design business can get expensive. Not only is the hardware required very pricey, but some software has recurring pricing which becomes a monthly or yearly expense. Taking advantage of special sales such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day sales can save you a lot of money. Even if your subscriptions are not due at that time of year, you can probably extend them by purchasing or upgrading during a sale. Pay now to save later. After all, every cent you don't have to spend means more money in your pocket.

Episode Sponsor

Thank you to this week's sponsor, Storyblocks. Save on Millions of stock photos, vectors and more at Storyblocks.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com