Finding and Targeting Your Market

By Carolyn Edlund

Courtesy Helene Kippert

The results are in . . .

Four days ago, I posted a poll on Artsy Shark asking my readers to describe their goals. Of the multiple choices listed, an overwhelming  79% responded that they want to work as full-time artists selling their work. Why did I ask? This information helps me stay on topic in future articles and interviews, gathering and sharing knowledge which matters to artists who are entrepreneurs, which are my audience.

What are your results?

Taking a poll is one method of identifying an audience and understanding their needs and wants. You can do similar “research” by speaking with your customers, observing shoppers who respond to your work, and engaging in conversation with gallery owners, consultants, retailers and other artists, who may have important input to help you determine your target market. This will enable you to hone your product line, focus your marketing, choose trade shows in vertical markets, and use your advertising budget wisely.

Niche markets

Constantly evaluate the marketplace and where you fit into it. This will enable you to take advantage of niches where your work can flourish.

An example of this is metal sculptor Tom Torrens, who has designed bells, fountains, gongs and outdoor sculptures for thirty-five years. Originally selling products to gardeners, birdwatchers and landscapers, he found that members of the clergy were purchasing his birdbaths for garden sanctuaries and use as baptismals. Thus was born a new market for his work, which has evolved into an entire liturgical collection ranging from offering plates to altars.

Go where your customers are

What do buyers in your niche care about? Do they love fine wine, anime, duck hunting, NASCAR racing? What is their lifestyle, their habits and their budget? Do they gather at conventions, retreats, resorts or even camping sites?

Once you have decided to target a market, get involved and educate yourself about the niche and all its nuances. Attend their events, and make it a point to meet people, especially leaders and influencers in the group. Network with other vendors to understand buying habits, and create strategic alliances with those who don’t compete with you but share the same customer base.

Be authentic. If your work is geared toward a niche that you truly care about, you will want to become more involved and educated.  As sales follow, you can immerse yourself even further and become the “go-to” person for that niche when they are buying related art or handmade items.

What are the benefits?

When you become well-known in a niche, you will enjoy the reputation of being a desirable source for the needs and wants of your group. Customers seek you out rather than you having to chase them. You will also receive referrals from satisfied customers – the best source of quality business leads. Testimonials will also help you build your reputation.

Many businesspeople in different industries have built extremely successful careers through targeted marketing, and you can too. Do your research, target your market and increase your own business through selling to your niche.

See more of Helene Kippert's work at


  1. Or follow the create great art and the market will find you theory…

  2. I need help in finding my niche market. I love doing biblical, country landscapes, and florals. Where would I start to find markets for these subjects?

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