Image from mycustomer.com
Maybe you just started a new craft and made it a business, or maybe it’s a hobby you have had for years that you are only now trying to make money on. But either way, how the hell do you sell it?
Marketing can seem like this impossible to slay beast when you are just starting out in your business, especially when you are brand new.
According to Wikipedia “Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships.” and I think that when you break it down like that, it seems a lot less scary!
What relationships do you already have that will help your business? Which would be beneficial to create? When you break it down in more digestible terms, it doesn’t seem as big a mountain to climb, and you realize that you are not doing it alone.
A great (and easy) place to begin your marketing, is by creating an online presence. A lot of large companies even value brand awareness over actual sales, so take the time in the beginning to really think about what your brand is. What is the style, feeling you want to evoke, or general mood of your product or service. Think about the colours, fonts, and anything else you want to use to give your brand its own personality. The sooner you nail this down, the less changes you will have to make later. Make an “inspiration board” (a post on this will follow) and see what similarities you see between the images you have chosen. Once you have this down, start building your online profiles. Choose the same username for each platform, if possible, and get that handle even on ones you think you won’t use. You never know where someone will find you, and it’s better that you have that domain name/user name now, than for someone else to grab it later and undermine your brand. If you are @xyzclothing on twitter, don’t be @xyzboutique on Instagram. (it’s confusing for customers and people trying to tag you)
Another great starting place is to find groups online that you can connect with people in. London has more than a few groups for things like moms in business, home based businesses, crafters, etc. Take some time to look for a few groups that you think you fit into, and spend time introducing yourself and your product. Start small and join one or two groups at a time, so as not to overwhelm yourself.
Ask friends and family for referrals. Post on your own page about what you are up to, or pick up the phone and call a few friends. You will be surprised who doesn’t know about your new venture, and who is willing to help get your name out once they do. Many of them may even be interested themselves in your product or service, but even if they are not, they will be sure to share a post or tow online.
Look for vendor markets or craft shows that you can be a part of, and spend time building connections with the people around you. Those people may become your best friends in business, and can tell you about other events that might be good for you to participate in. You can approach stores as well to carry your product, either by going in with samples, or by sending a well crafted email (we can with these as well) explaining what you do, and the benefits to the store to carry your items. Be wary of approaching too many places too quickly, and not being able to keep up with stock, as well as approaching them too soon when your branding is still messy. You will only have one chance with most of these places to make a good impression, so be sure to make it count.
Hopefully these tips help, and if you continue to think about marketing more like building lasting relationships with customers and other makers, it won’t seem so scary!