Hi everyone! I’m Brenda, a knit wear designer, who owns Phydeaux and Phydelle. I manage finance and operations for my day job, then come home and design, knit and manage my online shops and businesses. I took a little detour from our marketing discussions last week, to talk about time management. This week, we’re back to marketing and promotion, to talk about creating buzz about your biz … in a good way.
What would you give to create buzz about your indie business? An arm? A million dollars? Hiring a public relations rep? I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give up body parts or your entire life’s earnings to create some positive buzz all on your own, without hiring a PR rep!
You have several avenues immediately available to you, absolutely free, for getting the word out about what you do, all via the internet: blogs, social networking sites, local media, word of mouth. Although you can create buzz without spending money, you do absolutely have to spend your most precious commodity: time.
If you’re reading this, you’re already aware of the power of blogs. Paper N Stitch is one of many blogs dedicated to highlighting handmade and vintage businesses. Not sure where to find more? Most blogs have links to other blogs, which is a great way to browse new blogs and perhaps even add them to your own reading list.
Instead of just reading these blogs, get involved! Leave comments! You don’t want to leave a comment with your shop and other websites right in the comment box – that can be seen as self-promotion (spam) – but you blog comments do have specific boxes for you to add your name, email and website. If you regularly leave comments or questions about a particular blog post, you’re then participating in online discussion and community, a building block for getting your name out there!
Social networking can be a fantastic way to build relationships, but it’s not for everyone. We’ve talked before about basing your marketing efforts on your naturals skills and interests. If Twitter or Myspace or Facebook isn’t your thing, you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon just because “everone else” is doing it. Of course, you might want to try one of those sites out – you may just learn that it is your thing! Social networking is based on relationships, rather than self-promotion (spam). You can definitely build a positive buzz about your business by building and maintaining relationships online – just remember to avoid promoting yourself too much!
Everyone has some form of local media and business networks available to them: newspapers, television, chamber of commerces, small business associations, etc. I grew up in a very small town and I still read the local newspaper from time to time … online! Contact your local newspaper! Pitch them a story about your business! Join your local chamber of commerce and take advantage of networking events, workshops and seminars. Building a strong local reputation is a great foundation for building your regional, national and even international reputation.
The absolute best way to create positive buzz is to have not just satisfied, but extremely happy, customers! If your customers love what they’ve purchased from you, they’ll tell family and friends about their purchase. If they’re knocked out by your fantastic customer service, they’ll talk about you, as well as their purchase. Your customer service is how you build relationships with your customers! Thank your customers for their purchase! Let them know when you’ve shipped their order!
Package your customer orders nicely, perhaps with tissue and ribbons or special wrapping, and think about adding a thank you note to give your package a special and personal touch. Consider adding a coupon or code for a discount on their next order, which will help build repeat customers. Or a sample or other freebie, which may create another sale if it’s a sample your customer really likes. Many shoppers of handmade and vintage have their own blogs, and love to tell their readers about their shopping experiences.
Positive buzz is priceless. Negative buzz is a nightmare! Give superb customer service, avoid spam, stay original and unique, treat others with professional respect, and you’ll avoid the negative buzz. People tend to believe what they read on the internet, so let’s make sure they’re reading wonderful things about you and your business.
Any other ideas for creating positive buzz? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t work for you? Thinking of trying something new?
Image credits: (1) ; (2) Assorted tags by Orange Beautiful, $7; (3) Thanks letterpress card from Paper Dragonfly, $4;