How to ensure you are targeting the right natural skincare product at the right market

a blackboard with a white circile on and the words target market written in red in the middle
Who are you going to sell to?

Welcome to Part 3 of the Online Skincare Business Course!

Hopefully you have read the previous articles in the course:

In the last article we were talking about what natural skincare or beauty products you were going to sell. Hopefully you have drilled down a bit on that now and have an idea of what your natural skincare product range will look like. Remember though, this is not fixed in stone. As you go through the course something may jump out to you as a problem or you may get an even better idea. If you need to, just nip back to the article on How to decide which products to sell, re-do your notes and move forward again with your new product range.

The whole point of doing this course on setting up and running a natural skincare business is so that you can get your new business off to a flying start and hopefully avoid any mistakes which may hold you back or cost you money.

Who are you going to sell to?

In this article I'm asking, 'who are you going to sell to'?

Most people say anybody! Of course, it would be great if everyone bought your products but you have to realise that they will not appeal to everyone. What you need to ensure is that there are enough people out there who will be interested enough in your product range to buy it. You need to have the right products, the right image and packaging and you must make sure you are aiming at the correct target market.

It may be that you have just one fabulous product that you want to market – say a hand and nail balm, that you are going to sell only to nails bar and beauty salons in the United Kingdom, and maybe do some markets and shows as well. This is great as it gives you quite a concentrated focus, but if you have quite a few different products in your product range you will need to refine this even further. You need to write a profile of your ideal customer for each of your products.

Profiling your natural skincare product range

A customer can be an individual or a company. For example, an individual may buy your nail balm for full retail price at a show or market or perhaps on-line. You may also sell your nail balm to nail salons at a cheaper (trade or wholesale ) price and they will then add on their mark-up and sell it to their customers.

Think about each natural skincare or beauty product in your range and see whether they would be better for an individual to buy, a company or maybe the product will be suitable for sale to both as in the example above.

For each product in your natural skincare product range think about the following questions (in relation to retail outlets/shops):

  • What sort of retail outlet or shop would be ideal to sell this product?

  • If you are considering selling to a retail outlet or shop, does it have to be city centre based or will smaller towns and rural areas have a need for the product too?(For example, the award winning intensive hand balm that I used to sell was extremely protective and great for outdoor hands that worked hard. There may not have been a great market in a city centre nail bar for this type of product but there certainly was in shops in more rural communities where a larger proportion of people work outside, garden on a regular basis or are involved with horses and dogs.

  • Does the retail outlet/shop need to be certain size or have a certain clientele to use this product? For instance, is your product a high end organic product with a price tag to match or is it a natural and functional skincare product at a cheaper price?

  • What is it about your product that would make the retail outlet/shop want to stock it? Great results from the product? Fantastic profit for the retail outlet? A great following on social media for the product? Fabulous presentation of the product?

Alternatively, you may decide not to start selling to retail outlets/shops but to concentrate on individuals at local markets, friends and family and also sell via an on-line website.

Say you have developed a fantastic anti-ageing face oil or cream. Although younger people may buy it, it is likely that the formulation might not be suitable for a younger oily or combination skin so your main target market may be people in a slightly older age group. One product in your range or many products? With the face oil example you may have a range of face oils or creams for different skin types. Think carefully about what it is that you are going to have to sell and who that ideal customer will be.

If you are struggling here it might be a good idea to go back to the previous article on How to decide which products to sell and have another look at your product range.

For each product in your natural skincare product range think about the following questions (in relation to individuals):

  • Is the product targeted mainly to men, women or could either buy it? For example a beard oil may be targeted at men but women may buy it as a gift.

  • Is there a particular age group that this product is targeted at? For example an anti-ageing cream and acne cream would have completely different age groups to target.

  • What sort of lifestyle will the ideal customer for this product have? Vegetarian or vegan? If vegetarian or vegan customers are you main target market, make sure you also see the next article on Additional Accreditation & Certifications. If they are more likely to live a green lifestyle then this will also help you narrow down on retail outlets you may be able to sell to, for instance health food shops, and places where you might be able to advertise such as healthy or green lifestyle magazines.

  • If your target customer is likely to live a green lifestyle, will the product be packaged in a way that will attract them? For example in a recyclable container and packaging and refillable?

  • Where is your ideal customer likely to shop for the sort of product that you are selling?

  • What benefits does the product that you are selling have that will persuade them to buy it?

Analyse the answers to the product questions

Once you have answered these two sets of questions for each product in your homemade skincare product range, sit down and analyse the results.

If you find you have many products aimed at completely different markets, for instance a product to treat acne (younger age group), a mature face oil (older age group), a beard oil (men of any age ) then you might find it hard to make an identity for your company in the beginning. How are you going to sell yourself as a specialist for that particular product or lots of different products to different age groups? It will be a lot harder to market to such a broad range in the early days. Identify your target market and focus on it. This is actually often the hardest part and you must make time to get this right. You probably just want to rush on and get to the exciting bit of making and selling your natural skincare products, but this part is crucial.

How would you explain your company and your natural skincare products to a customer?

You need to be comfortable with your product range and know what type of people you are trying to sell to. Imagine you are at a show and your ideal customer comes over to you and asks about your products. How will you give an overview of your company and explain your products to them in a concise manner? Write down the benefits of the products and their unique selling points and then create a short answer that you can give to someone who asks about your company and the products you make,

If you are having difficulty pinning this down then go back to the article on How to decide which products to sell and have another look at your product range. Perhaps you could make your product range simpler, say a hand wash or a soap, plus a hand cream or a shower gel with a body lotion and body oil. With just these two or three base products you can vary the essential oil blends and give yourself say three of four ranges of matching shower gel, body lotion and body oil. For example, a rose and jasmine set, a citrus set, you get the picture.

This would give you a lovely range of products that will not be too difficult to produce, will not need shed loads of different raw ingredients (same base ingredients in each shower gel, body lotion and body oil) and you can concentrate on getting a brilliant formulation and essential oil blends for a small range of products. It's a good idea to look at a smaller natural skincare or beauty product range if you are feeling overwhelmed or confused now that you have looked at your target markets and ideal customers.

Remember, once you have launched your first products and started selling them, you can add to your natural skincare product range by going through these articles again and developing more products. Take your time to get your initial product range right.

Carry out a research questionnaire

It is always useful to have as much data as possible. Make a questionnaire and ask friends and family if they could give it to people they know who fit in to your target market. For instance with an anti-ageing face oil you could write the questionnaire to ask whether they have ever used a face oil and if so what they thought about it. Are they still using it? If not, why not? What is their favourite product to use on the face? Describe your product and the benefits of using it and ask if it would be of interest to them and if so, what they would be willing to pay for it (don't forget to state the size of the product).

If you want to really boost your research with the questionnaire you could do it on-line via your friends on social media or on something like a Facebook Group.

You can get a lot of information from this type of research. It could be that the results show that people are not inclined to buy a face oil because they automatically think that it will be too greasy (correctly formulated they are not), or because they think that natural skincare products do not work (so, so, so untrue!), therefore this is something that you need to address in both your formulating and your marketing and sales strategy.

By the time you have finished answering all the questions for your products and possibly tweaking your product range here and there, you should have a really good idea of what natural skincare or beauty products your business is going to sell and who your ideal customers and target market are.

It's now time to move on the to the next article on Additional Certifications and Accreditations.

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