Craft Venture: marketing that works for you

laptop sleeve by byrd and belle
Hope you all had a great long weekend! I’m Brenda from Phydeaux and Phydelle, here to talk with you about the management and marketing of your indie business. My daytime job and degree are in business management, which have proven invaluable for my own indie business. Last week, we talked about basing your marketing plan on your natural skills and talents. For instance, if you love spending time on Facebook and Twitter, then social media marketing may be the plan for you! If you can’t stand the idea of spending your time on Twitter … don’t use that as a means for marketing!  This week, I want to talk about marketing that works for you, rather than you doing all the work!

A common theme I find in the seller forums for online marketplaces is, “I promote all the time – why aren’t I selling anything?”If you feel the same way, never fear!  I’m going to suggest you try something radically different than constant, while ineffective, promotion.  Instead, use marketing and promotion that works for you, rather than you working for it!

Quick refresher:  what’s the difference between marketing and promotion?  Most simply stated, marketing is everything you do to bring value to your real and potential customer, with return to your business (e.g., sales!).  Promotion is one aspect of marketing:  keeping your business fresh in the public’s eye, via advertising and public relations.

Let’s say that your shop looks fantastic, descriptions are engagingly well-written, shop announcements and other documentation complete, and photos out of this world.  You’re ready to start marketing!  You’ve also identified some marketing and promotion ideas that are natural fits for you.  Excellent!  However … are these ideas that require you to work yourself to exhaustion, or will these ideas do the work for you?

If you’re spending your day in the forums and chat rooms in order to drum up business, you’re doing all the work.  That’s time you could be spending creating new things, coming up with new marketing ideas, having fun with family and friends, etc.

usb stick by woodtec
work for you, while doing the work for you?

If you spend a little bit of time in the forums while your ads or blog features draw in potential customers, that’s letting your marketing do the work for you.  A well placed ad on a blog with moderate to high volume traffic that matches your marketing target works for you 24/7!  Blog features also work for you 24/7, and may even generate interest to be picked up by other blogs! work for you, while doing the work for you?

How do you advertise on a blog?  Read blogs!  Read them to see if the perspective and interest matches your own and offers sponsorships.  Will your items be a good fit for that blog?  If you think so, look  for a link to sponsorship or advertising information.  Does that information include daily and monthly site visitor/traffic data?  Number of unique visitors?  Alternately, blogs using “blogspot” may have a “follower” widget – is the number of followers sufficiently high to warrant your hard earned advertising money?  When you find your blog, you may need to email your banner ad (we’ll talk more about this in future columns!) and link URL to the blog editor or you might just need to submit that information online.  Be sure that you have some means to track shop visitors from that blog, either via Google analytics or a special discount code for buyers or some blogs provide those details to you.

How do you get featured on a blog?  If your shop is looking incredible and you’re effectively using tags, there’s a good chance that blogs will find you!  However, you can contact most blogs directly, with a professional, polite and engaging email, without attachments to get stopped by spam filters or clutter up inboxes.  Work on an email template that you can revise for use over and over again, be sure to address your email to the right blog and to the blog owner’s name (you’re not likely to get a response by addressing your email to “to whom it may concern”), and in just a few sentences, introduce yourself, what it is that you’d like to be featured, and why it’s of interest to that blog owner.  And be sure to include links to that item and your shop!

These are just two marketing and promotion ideas that do (most of) the work for you!  What other ideas have you found work for you, while doing the work for you?

Image credit:  1. Laptop sleeve by byrd and belle; 2. USB stick by woodtec

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