One of the most important features of any successful craft business is a great marketing plan. How you choose to market can make or break your business. But how do you go about marketing your business? And what if you can’t afford to advertise?
When I first began my craft business, I knew very little about how to market my products. Although in the past I studied creative writing, corresponded for a newspaper, and even worked in the marketing department of a publishing house, I knew very little about advertising. I also had no money to invest in advertising my business, so I knew that all of my advertising was going to have to be done through my own persistent hard work. And I was going to have to teach myself almost everything.
Here are some things I have learned over the years on how you can start successfully marking a craft business. [keyword says ‘marking’ instead of marketing’]
1. Take advantage of social media.
Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and Pinterest are a great way of marketing your craft business for free. It takes time to build up a network of people on these Web sites, but you can easily get started by adding everyone you know in real life. Ask your friends to share your photos or like your business page. The more you share on these social sites, the more traffic you will get to your page or store.
Keep in mind that social media is always changing, and while one platform may be popular right now, another may become more popular in time. For instance, when I first started marketing my craft business, Facebook was the be-all and end-all in social media marketing. However, the trend has now turned more toward Twitter and Pinterest. Keep your eyes open for changes, and instead of shying away from them, try to embrace them so that you can keep up with the trends.
You can also vary the kind of material you post based on the networks you use. For instance, Pinterest is best for images, such as photos of your latest line of products, while Twitter is great for short bursts of texts, such as a discount offer on one of your items.
2. Create a blog for your business.
A blog is another great way to market your craft business. Again, it’s free, and it’s a fun way to interact with your potential customers. When you sell online you can often use Google analytics to find out where your traffic is coming from. I’ve had a lot of traffic come to my Etsy shop straight from my blog, or from another crafting blog that has featured some of my work.
You can use your blog to talk about the process of your work, share photos of your products, and even host contests. Giving away free products is a great way to drive traffic to your blog.
To get your work featured on another blog, contact fellow craft sellers on social media networks, your preferred selling Web site, or simply ask a friend. Many bloggers are happy to do a feature for free, or in exchange for being featured on your blog. Some will also do product reviews if you offer them a freebie.
3. Network at local fairs and events.
Craft fairs and other local events are a great place to network with other crafters as well as potential customers. Hand out business cards or fliers with your business information on them so that everyone you meet can connect with you on Facebook or your Web site. Include any other relevant information too, such as if you take custom orders.
Make sure that you have plenty of business cards or fliers printed in advance. I have always felt that professionally done business cards are best, but there is no reason why you can’t make your own as long as they look good and do the job. Have a stack of cards or fliers on your craft table and be sure to slip one into every shopping bag too.
When you present your wares in a physical location to a live customer base, you can also talk to people to get feedback about your work. It’s a wonderful way to meet more people who are interested in the handmade business. Even if I don’t sell anything at one particular fair, I generally find that the networking I get done makes the experience worth it.
If you plan to sell, be sure to make sure your business is licensed to sell at craft shows.
4. Ask as many questions as you can.
The very best way to learn as much as you can about marketing your craft business is to ask questions. Every time you meet a new crafter or you find a new craft business that you admire, ask how they market their work. Some people may not wish to share the details with you, but many are happy to help. Be polite and explain that you’re new to the business and would like to try different advertising ideas.
Almost everything I learned about social media networking was learned from other crafters. I did gain a lot of insight by reading articles online and experimenting with my own ideas, but I would have to say that my most invaluable tips came from other successful craft business owners. You could fairly say that we’re all in this together.
5. Always put your best foot forward.
Finally, when marketing your craft business, always remember to present your very best work. Choose high quality photos, proofread your text and be professional at all times.
By showing your professionalism through your marketing plan, you will send a clear message to potential customers that you know what you’re doing and that you’re one of the best in the business.
I hope that these tips from my own personal experience will help you as you create a marketing plan for your craft business.