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Friday, March 27, 2009

Shop Talk Friday: Marketing

We are bombarded with marketing information in modern life. From the car zipping along the open road with the top down in a Ford commercial to the Goodwill drop off boxes in your office parking lot, our brains absorb and filter hundreds if not thousands of pieces of information every day.

And we forget the majority of it.

The fact that we forget most of what we see or hear explains why the amount of it continues to increase, as companies strive to be the one car ad or ring commercial you remember when you decide to make a purchase.

For smaller entrepreneurs, jumping into the pool of ads, commercials, shows, fairs, and more can seem like diving headfirst into the deep end without knowing how to swim.

So in this article, I am going to keep it simple, list things for you to consider, and some places to go for additional information.

Marketing Basics

In the long run, marketing is simply getting your product in front of people who would like to buy it. Here are some tips, and ways to do it online for free, as well as some things to think about as you plan your strategy.

  1. TARGET - Who are you selling to, and what would they want you to say about your product? You’re working with the law of averages here because you can’t know what every one of your potential customers wants to hear. In general, try to aim your message at a target audience. Everything people see that references your store can be considered a message up to a point. That includes your store banner, pictures, descriptions, titles, your blog, and tweets, because all of that and more give people information about you and your work. The main thing is to be consistent as much as you can, and to give some thought to what you are saying about your store and your work. You may have more than one thing to say, so some trial and error may happen before you hit the right note with your customers. Contrary to what the gurus want you to believe, marketing is rarely an exact science.
  2. HOW- This is a major consideration for every company, large or small. I am narrowing it this week to Etsy. For Etsy sellers, Etsy does a lot of the groundwork, and they bring in large numbers of potential buyers. Your consideration here is really more how to reach the buyers they bring in and to make your items and store stand out in the crowd. Good ways to do this include:
  • Excellent Tagging – Use synonyms, search word helpers like Yahoo and Google, and when in doubt, try searching on the tags you would like to use and see what products pop up. Only one word is allowed per tag box (i.e. “silver”) except for phrases (i.e. “sterling silver”, “cornflower blue”).
  • Descriptive Titles - Include potential search words but are also user friendly - those 26 word titles you see sellers sometimes use are not really user friendly.
  • SEO Friendly Descriptions – SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It means using words in your product description that people might use when searching on the Internet. If you describe a bracelet without mentioning the word “bracelet” in the first paragraph, you have missed an SEO opportunity. So an accurate and detailed description is important.
  • Good Customer Service - Prompt communication, clear expectations, thanking them for their business, treating people with consideration, unique product packaging. Stand out from the crowd with your “above and beyond” good customer service.
  • Coupons and Offers for Repeat Customers – Whether you offer a percentage off, free shipping, or some other benefit, offering incentives for repeat business is a good idea. You can offer them only for customers who spend a certain amount, or use a sliding scale where someone who spends $200 will get a larger percent off on their next purchase than someone who spends $20. Add a sense of urgency by including an expiration date.
  • Referral Cards - This is one way to bring in new customers. Offer existing customers a percentage off for every new customer they bring in who purchases. Include a code for both existing customers and new customers to use so you can track it. Limits on these should be clear, and don’t offer more than you are comfortable with.
  • Treasuries and Etsy Team Activities – These are simple, give you the power of group promotion, and increase your visibility and reach. Participating in Trunk Shows, Scavenger Hunts, Blog Promotions, etc. puts you and your work in front of more potential customers than you could do on your own, making your efforts more effective. And it’s free.
  • Etsy Minis and Trade – Minis can be made either of your store, or of your favorites in other stores. One easy and simple way to use minis is to trade minis with a friend or teammate to reach readers of each other’s blogs. You can also profile a friend or teammate one day a week, once a month, or however often you want to do it, and have them profile you. There are also blogs that look for artisans to profile and these can also be helpful. Do a little research to find them.
Your homework for this week is to think of two new ways to promote your work that you haven’t tried, using this list as well as your own ideas. Some resources for additional information:

The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam. I have this and am finding it WELL worth the time it takes to do it. {Editor's note: I have this book as well and have found it to be a valuable resource for creative people trying to wrap their heads around business ideas.}

Making a Living In Crafts: Everything You Need to Know to Build Your Business by Donald Clark

Next week, I will be covering a whole host of online sites and promotional opportunities, free and not free, for you to consider as well, and will be writing a separate article on wholesaling considerations. So there is a lot more information to come!

~ Kristen


Hollyrocks said...

Very good tips here, thank you so much for writing this. I love that you even gave homework, that's thorough!

photoadele said...

i agree with holly, thanks!

Ambient Lights said...

I forgot to thank you before, so thank you Kristin! As always, I <3 to read your articles and greatly appreciate the wealth of information you give us =)

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