“I like your shirt. Where did you get it?”
We’ve all heard something like this before. It’s nice to have someone admire something we’re wearing that we made with our own hands. It makes us feel good about ourselves. But have you thought about how your answer to this question is an advertisement for that company?
Big brand names know that when a customer wears their products he is a walking advertisement wherever he goes. That’s one of the reasons why so many clothing brands like to display their logos so prominently; they don’t want there to be any question about where that item of clothing was purchased.
But why should the big brands be the only ones with walking advertisements for their products? It’s really easy to take this principle to heart when it comes to your craft business too. And you don’t have to emblazon really big brand names or logos across your products to make this work. All you need are unique, wearable products that will turn heads.
Here are some tips on becoming a walking advertisement for your craft business. Who says the little guys can’t do big business too?
1. Wear your wares proudly.
If you make handmade jewelry, accessories, or clothing, you can very easily get a lot of attention for your business by wearing one or more of your finished products everywhere you go. Wear what you’re the most proud of and people will want to know more.
Wear your most colorful and creative designs. An unusual pair of earrings makes a great conversation starter. A hat or scarf with a unique pattern or color scheme will often make people ask where you shop.
Even if you don’t regularly make wearable products you can still take advantage of this. If you make miniatures, make a few of them into earrings you can wear to social engagements. If you crochet blankets, make a few headbands to wear when you go shopping. In this way, you’ll get people noticing your work and talking about it.
2. Become a sandwich board.
If you don’t want to make any wearable products, you can get your business name and logo printed on a T-shirt. This way, everywhere you go you will still have the opportunity to talk to people about what you do for a living.
Make use of both sides of the shirt. You can put your Web site or E-mail address on the back, as well as information about what you make, so that even when you are standing in a line or waiting to be served at a restaurant, people will notice your business.
You can also have promotional pin back buttons made to wear on your jacket or bag. These are also great freebies to give to people you meet. (See more about freebies in tip 3.)
3. Be a marketing pro.
You should have business cards or fliers on you at all times. It’s perfectly natural for people to talk about what they do for work, so there should be no exception for those who are self employed.
You should put a card in the hand of almost everyone you meet. When you visit a boutique and you chat to the owner about a common interest, give her your card. When you visit the post office to mail your orders, tell the postmaster what you do and give him a card.
Learn to talk to strangers. Talk to people at bus stops, in lines at the grocery store, while in the doctor’s waiting room or when picking up your child from school. A lot of people are lonely and grateful to have someone to talk to. Even if you don’t end up talking about crafts or business, you can still give a card to anyone who will take one.
Giving out freebies is another great way to market like a pro. Discount coupons for your online shop and sample products are ideal. If someone shows particular interest in something you have made, offer them a freebie and encourage them to visit your Web site when you give them your card.
4. Give your products with love.
Whenever you need a gift for someone, whatever the occasion, give your own products. If your items are well made, desirable products then people will be more than pleased to receive them for baby showers, birthdays, weddings and more.
Of course you should still put thought into your gifts, making them personal for each individual. Choose colors you know the recipient likes, ask them what their favorite animal is so that you can incorporate it in the gift, or ask them what kind of earrings they want so that you can custom make a pair to their taste.
When your gifts are finished and ready to wrap, consider making gift labels for them with your business name and information. A handmade gift should not have a price on it, just as you would not leave a price on a store bought gift, but there’s no harm in letting your recipient know that you do this kind of thing professionally and are open for orders.
5. Leave a footprint.
Guerrilla marketing is very popular these days. A few of the many ways people have done this on a small scale include: leaving a branded sticker on a telephone pole, a business card left on a table in a restaurant, or even painted graffiti on a wall.
Or, why not get a little crazy and try yarn bombing? Leave a handmade scarf tied around a tree or a hat on a fire hydrant. You can also leave an envelope somewhere marked “for whoever finds this” and put a free pair of pretty earrings or a cute key ring inside. Put your business name on the product if you dare.
But you don’t have to use drastic guerrilla tactics like this to leave a footprint. For something a little less cloak-and-dagger, carry your business cards with you and tack them to bulletin boards in stores, doctor’s offices, or any other place where you are welcomed to do this. Many companies are happy to help promote small businesses.
I hope these tips have helped you to see new ways of marketing your craft business. The main thing to remember when you want to be a walking advertisement is that you should be excited about what you do. If you’re excited, you’ll get other people excited too.