Shannon Fennell's Blog

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Business Tips for Face Painters, Body Artists and Make-Up Artists #4 – Target Markets

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April 1st means it is time for the fourth excerpt from my e-book The Business of Face Painting.  Of course, if you would like to get all the information included in my book right now you can find out how here.

The Business of Face Painting was published in September of 2009 and I am working on the final stages of the companion book The Art of Face Painting which we hope to have out sometime this year.

Deciding who your preferred clients are and who you want to target with your advertising and marketing efforts is very important.  By concentrating on a specific type of customer you can effectively use your available advertising budget to get results.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Four of  The Business of Face Painting.


What is Your Target Market?

As a face painter most of us at some point will narrow down our focus for marketing to concentrate on specific areas that we prefer doing for our own reasons.  A target market is the group you specifically wish to obtain work from.  In order to reach this desired group we “target” our marketing efforts towards them, therefore they are our “target markets.”

You can define your target market in many ways.  It could be a physical area – say a 50 mile radius from your home; it could be a specific type of event – say birthday parties or public festivals; or it could be specific service only – say you only want to do body painting.  How you define your own target market is completely up to you.

Here is a list of places and events where face painting could be welcome:

  • Shopping malls
  • Store grand openings
  • Birthday parties
  • Family reunions
  • Wedding receptions
  • Christenings, Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs
  • Restaurants
  • Night clubs
  • Golf tournaments
  • Hockey games, football games, etc
  • Company picnics and Christmas parties
  • Easter egg hunts
  • Rodeos and fairs
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Charity events like walks, runs, relays
  • Government open houses
  • Street festivals
  • Fringe festivals and art walks
  • Art galleries
  • Book stores
  • Dance schools and competitions
  • Theatrical education programs or theatres
  • High school lock-ins and grad parties
  • Pre-school fun days
  • School sports days
  • Museums
  • Movie theatres and movie openings
  • Store children’s program activities
  • College events
  • Music festivals
  • Large multiple sports events
  • Holiday     events – New Year, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, etc.
  • Regattas
  • Parades
  • Public outdoor concerts
  • Piers and boardwalks in tourist areas
  • Theme parks
  • Roadside attractions
  • Garage sales
  • Flea markets
  • Craft fairs and sales
  • Scrapbooking events
  • Store sales and special promotions
  • Indoor playgrounds and play centres
  • SPCA or Humane Society events
  • Trade shows, home shows, boat shows
  • Tourism activities – local tours, open houses, markets
  • Church fetes
  • Carnivals
  • Petting Zoos
  • Block parties
  • Community events – neighbourhood parties and get-togethers
  • Hospitals
  • Seniors’ facilities and care homes
  • Daycare centres

This is just what came to my mind.  Don’t take this as an exhaustive list as there are probably dozens of other places and types of events that I didn’t think of.

Whatever you choose as your target market you will need to plan on how to reach those individuals that fit in that group.  This is when you will need to do some research and perhaps get creative in your marketing approach.

You will need to consider where they live and work, what they read, what method of marketing or advertising would appeal to them.  You need to get your message and information in front of those people who could/would hire you.  For example, what type of advertising would reach your target markets?  To determine this may involve some research and possibly some expense on your part to develop material or advertising.  There is a considerable amount you can do for little or no cost, but there is a point where you may need to be prepared to spend to reach out to your desired customers, and that will vary depending on your targets.

Once you decide on your target, let’s say for illustration purposes that we want to reach large-scale public events such as fairs, rodeos and festivals, you need to determine who you need to get your information to and how to actually do that.

The first step is to make a list of the events you want to contact and who organizes them.  There are a few ways that you can do this: watch the newspaper and local publications for advertisements for events that suit your target market and make a note of them – location, organizing group, contact telephone numbers; check local community listings for upcoming events; look up event listings from local venues such as fairgrounds and arenas; check directories from local groups as often annual events and planning committees may be listed; check the local tourism offices for annual events; check with local volunteer bureaus for volunteer planning committees; contact charities that benefit from large events locally to get contact names and information; look up organizations in the yellow pages; churches and schools often hold fairs and events for fundraising purposes.  These are just some suggestions as there are many ways to obtain information.  Once you have a list of events use the yellow pages and online directories to fill in all the information that might be missing from your list such as mailing addresses and phone numbers.

Once you have created a list of potential clients in your chosen target area you then have to determine how you are going to make contact.  There are several ways you can do this from cold calling to a direct mail campaign.  Consider a few things to start with:

1.         How much do you want to spend on this?

I like to keep my expenses low but am willing to spend a certain amount each year on good quality marketing materials such as professionally printed full colour brochures, postcards and business cards.  I also consider postage as a normal business cost.

2.         What is your comfort level?

Personally, I loathe cold calling and it doesn’t matter to me if it is by telephone or in person for charity or personal business.  I just detest doing it and won’t do it!  But many people don’t mind doing it and can do it very successfully.  Technically cold calling is considered sales, not marketing, but when you are a one person business operation you do it all.

3.         How much time do you have to spend on this?

I like to get my big marketing projects done in one session, so spending an afternoon or evening getting a mail-out done is my preference.

4.         What contact information do you have?

i.e. an actual person’s name or just a post office box?

In many cases the only contact information available to me is an association name and post office box.  Committee members change year to year so the contact names are often out-of-date.  Get as much information as you can, but don’t let not having a name stop you from sending your material out.

5.         Is there an advertising media that the majority of your target markets would see?

i.e. the local Chamber of Commerce newsletter?

We don’t have local methods of advertising that would reach all the groups on my list so I have chosen not to spend money on advertisements locally.  In some areas there are parenting magazines that could prove useful to target the birthday party market as an example.

Given all the above I chose to do a direct mail campaign with a letter, a brochure and some business cards to all the groups I had on my list that I had mailing information for.  The first year that I did this I mailed out to 37 separate groups and companies – from that I received 11 inquiries, and 7 confirmed bookings (one of them for multiple dates.)  The second year I sent out 30 packages and got 11 bookings confirmed.  I add a few new names to the list every year and drop some unproductive ones.  A couple of years ago I switched to using postcards rather than the letters and it has proven to be just as, if not more, effective.

Something to remember too is that your target markets can change year to year.  You do not have to stick with something if it isn’t working or if you decide you want a change for whatever reason.

There are many ways to attempt to make contact with your target markets.  You can use any one or combination of methods – it’s just a matter of time and money and how much you want to spend of either:

  • direct mail with an addressed letter to the contact person
  • direct mail with form letter – not personally addressed
  • direct mail postcard only
  • cold call telephone
  • cold call in person to introduce yourself and give brochure
  • direct mail with a follow-up telephone call.
  • advertising in local publications and newsletters, i.e. Chamber of Commerce, tourism board, volunteer services bureau, Rotary Club, school districts, etc.
  • Yellow Pages and other local directory listings free and otherwise.
  • Internet listings, free and otherwise
  • Joining local business groups to network with potential customers, i.e. Chamber of Commerce, tourism board, volunteer groups
  • Advertising in local entertainment publications, newspapers, parenting magazines, etc.
  • Using your postal service household unaddressed mail delivery service
  • Posting notices/posters on community bulletin boards in stores, clubs, malls.
  • Networking with other face painters for referrals.

You should be able to make contact with your specific target markets with a bit of research, some work and minor expenses for postage and marketing materials.

The level of success will vary depending on your area’s economic prosperity and the amount and level of competition there is, but it is well worth the effort in increasing your business and raising your name recognition.

© Shannon Fennell, 2009

with material from “Designs and Templates Volume 1” © November 2007

and “Designs and Templates Volume 2” © March 2008

Author: Shannon Fennell

Multidisciplinary artist, world traveller, make-up artist, and cheese lover. I follow a low carb lifestyle to keep my diabetes in remission. Canadian expat in the UK.

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