Hi there! Brenda from Phydeaux and Phydelle back to continue our conversation about marketing. Last week, we talked about marketing basics, including identifying who your customers – real and desired – are.
If you did your homework last week, you should have an idea of who your customers actually are and who you want to be your customers. So … are they the same? If your answer is “yes,” great! If your answer is “no,” what did you decide about which group to market to?
The good news is that you can market to different groups of customers – doing so is just a little more complex and time consuming.
Now that you (hopefully) know who your customers are, how do you reach them? Remember that “marketing” is everything you do to create value for your actual and potential customers, with return on investment (e.g., sales!). How are you going to reach your potential (and real) customers?
There are many, many ways to reach your customers. Arts and crafts fairs are full of potential customers, just waiting to be introduced to your wonderful product. Brick and mortar (B&M) stores are a great venue to introduce your product to customers. Both of those venues are time- and resource-intensive, and are great ways to build customers, but not as immediate for online sales.
Getting exposure via online exhibitions and blog features or giveaways (we started off Craft Venture talking about online exhibitions and marketplaces) is a great way to increase interest in and traffic to your shop.
But how, oh how, do you actually get yourself directly in front of your potential customers? You can start your own blog! You can also place targeted online advertising, via banner or text ads! You can start a monthly newsletter with special sales and discounts for your subscribers! These are all pretty easy, although your blog and your newsletter will take some time to build up as you entice subscribers to add their names.
We’ll explore all of these options, and more, on Craft Venture! However, let’s think big picture this week. Now is the time for you to build a sizable customer base in preparation for the holidays! Now that you have an idea of who your target customers are, how do you increase your potential customers and convert those to real customers?
Here is your homework: design your marketing plan around your natural skills and talents.
Be honest with yourself! If writing and spelling are not your strengths, a long chatty newsletter isn’t the best fit for your marketing plan. If your photos are incredible, what about a newsletter focusing on visuals with limited text? Similarly, if writing puts you to sleep or you just don’t possess that talent, use flickr and other online photo websites to showcase your products (while making sure you don’t violate their commercial and spam guidelines!).
If social networking isn’t your thing, don’t spend time trying to Twitter or Facebook or Myspace your way to success. Social networking isn’t for everyone! In fact, other than Twitter, I’m not that into social media myself. However, if social media is working for you, keep up the good work!
What works naturally for you? Not the latest marketing thing that everyone’s doing, but the thing that is a natural fit for your experiences, talents and skills? For me, it’s blogging. I love to write and never seem to be out of possible topics. I don’t blog ceasely on my creations; instead, I blog about a wide variety of things, letting readers in on glimpses of my personal life (glimpses, mind you), sharing things that are important or interesting to me, and incorporating lots of visuals (photos). I also recently started a blog not about me, but about handmade and vintage, which includes interviews and features and giveaways and tutorials. The latter doesn’t market my own shops directly, but promotes others’ shops. Similarly, my monthly newsletter is also a natural for me.
What do you think may work for you, given your skills and talents? Have you been trying a marketing method without success, and if so, does that venue use a natural talent? Share your tips and insights on marketing ideas based on what you do naturally, easily and well!
Image credit: 1) Custom business cards, letterpress, by Invited Ink; 2) Typewriter necklace, by Cute Ability; 3) Antique folding art deco camera, by Sweet Love Vintage