Monday, 2 September 2013

Monday Maker- Marketing & promotion

It’s week three of our making blogs. Our top tips to making a product to sell.
We have looked at inspirations, making a product, selling methods & websites alongside photographing your pieces. Now we look at marketing your products and promoting them to increase a sales.

Marketing & Promotion means what can you do to help sell your product? 
There are endless ways and means to do this. There are many paid marketing websites out there but here I recommend all those that are free. If you are starting out, counting the pennies is important.

If we assume you are selling your wares on our own website or a  selling site like Etsy or Folksy, 
How do I encourage people to come and see my wares on the sites and places I am selling them?? 
How do I get word out that I am selling something lovely?

Word of mouth
Firstly this is probably the best form of promotion. Hard I know to do for a maker. 
Not many people like to tell the world they have made the best thing since sliced bread. There are easy ways to do this in a hidden way.
The website is a site where you can make a little home page about yourself, who you are, what you do with an image to support your page. Like a little C.V. You can add links to your website, facebook, twitter and Linkedin pages if you have one. As well as a touch button for people to directly email you.
Have simple business cards made and have them in your pocket always with photos of what you make.  There are many reasonable sites doing cheap deals. Look at Vista print and often run free cards through the website.
You never know when you may get chatting to someone who likes what you do, and would like to contact you at a later date. My Mum and sisters are great advocates of my work and have talked about what I do so much so I have had sales through their friends. 
Word of mouth doesn't just mean your own words. 

Put up flyer's
Putting up flyer's in local places your clients may be. For u-ni-k this is easy. New Mums and Dads regularly go to coffee shops. As do Grannies and Grandads, Aunts and Uncles etc etc. 
The charity N CT generally tend to do seasonal second hand sales. At these they give away flyer bags promoting local businesses. . At a small charge you can have your flyer's added to these bags. 
If your company is child friendly like ours, put flyer's up in local sure start centres , drop flyer's at nurseries if they allow and ask schools if your flyer's can be added to book bags. 
Make your flyer's informative, simple to read and aesthetic. 

“Best of” sites
If your local area has a “best of” site add your little company to it. Now days many people are looking to help independents and will always try and “shoplocal” and support small & micro businesses rather than put money into large corporate rich companies.

Social Media
-Facebook. Look at setting up a company page on Facebook, Upload good quality photos into albums that show your pieces off to the best you can. Simple is always best. In the “about you” section write some simple words to explain a little about you and what your product is. If you have multiple products talk about the “ethos” of your product. Have a way that clients can contact you by phone, contact form or email. Add status updates frequently that are friendly and informative and complement other small companies. Normally that will encourage many to look at your page and “like” it.

-Instagram. Although u-ni-k doesn’t use this to the best of our ability I know companies that use Instagram to promote and run competitions on instagram. A photo speaks 1000 words!
-Twitter- a simple way to “follow” like minded businesses. To chat, liaise and # with key words that showcase or “class” your product to get new followers who may spread the word or be potential clients. Words like “handmade” “gift” “baby” etc are good for a u-ni-k gifts. Through networking on twitter we have managed to get u-ni-k included into Joanne Dewberry's newly published book & won an WOW award from Jacqueline Gold.

Linked in is great too. Look at setting up a business page to support your little company and link it to yourself. Ensure you make is appealing with regular updates to make people come and look. Old colleagues love to be nosey at what you are doing.

Grow your clients list
When you have a sale, ask permission and keep the clients  contact information. It will come in handy with marketing tools like Mail chimp. (See below)

Crafting sites
Ukhandmade is my favourite. 
It’s a place to share your thoughts by suggesting your written blogs to be used on their site. A place to look for local craft markets to participate in. You can ask for your company website to be listed. They are frequently looking for companies that have products suitable for a certain editorial planned to be included. So keep your eyes and ears pealed. They even have seasonal showcase walls where makers selected images shown for a  set time for a small charge.

Craft Markets
UKhandmade has a written article on this that explains all! 
An very important and interesting read. Click here

I am part of three local networking groups. A place for like minded businesses to welcome new people and their companies, promote your own and ask for help. A place to find a local printer, source a perfect ingredient, share a promotion and find like minded friends. I have found once you use regularly, by helping and sharing other businesses, people then recommend you too. 
Share the love and people will love back.

Mail chimp
This is a fabulous free tool that I think every company should use. Mail chimp provides a news letter type tool. You can maintain, add, edit your mailing list too. You can design a newsletter to send with news on new products, seasonal suggestions, offers and sales etc with links to your website. Mail chimp kindly accesses the “opens” and use of links on the newsletter and cleanses your client list for you. A perfect tool in my mind.

If you have a lot to say (Sarah & I do) write about it. Get a little following, link it on your website too so it's constantly new and spreading the word.

Go right to the point
Do a little homework. Find the magazines and newspapers that you feel your clients read. Make a list of those who write the articles and do the photo shoots you think your items would sit perfectly with. Write a press release explaining why your product is special and send it directly to the people who write the articles. We have been successful with this many times. Our products have been included in ST kids (The Telegraph) and Selvedge magazine, The Telegraph Christmas gift guide to name a few.

u-ni-k baby blankets featured in Selvedge

Paper animals- Casa Facile

-Always have in mind who you aim to sell your product to. Don't put up flyer's for a product directed at the elderly in a Sure start centre!
-Be friendly and open and always remember you are representing your product.
-Always use edited and simple text.
-Always use a simple, naturally lighted, beautiful image that shows the product off to it's best ability. 
-In our opinion, word of mouth is the best way to promote your wares if done correctly. 

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