You know that feeling you get when you finish a novel by your favorite author and you go searching for more books she wrote and can’t wait until her next book comes out? Well, you can actually create the same kind of raving fans who become collectors of your craft.
Whether you’re new to selling your crafts or you’ve been in the creative business awhile, you may be overlooking one of the easiest methods to build a consistent stream of income. Repeat customers. Those who tell their friends about you and can’t wait until you show up at a craft fair near them or put new work up on your site.
Here are some tips to help you get loyal followers and repeat customers:
- Whenever you sell a piece of your work, make sure the buyer has several of your business cards so that when her friends or co-workers comment on your work, she can tell them how to contact you. I prefer odd shaped business cards. They don’t get lost in a stack or thrown away. Put a photo representative of your work on your card so that the person remembers why they picked the card up.
- If you exhibit at a craft show or even do home parties, offer a raffle prize. Put a basket, bowl or box up on your table with a sign about your raffle. Have people drop their business card or slip of paper with name and email in the container for a drawing and ask permission to email them with news about shows you are doing and new pieces you release.
- If you have time, note on the person’s raffle ticket or card a description or style name of the piece they bought so that you can let them now when you add new similar styles, color ways or complementary pieces to your line.
- Make sure each piece you sell is accompanied by a short bio with a photo of you and maybe a bit of info on your process.
- Start with one of the free list capturing companies and send out a brief newsletter at least once a month. Put images of your new pieces and links to your website where they can purchase the pieces.
- Give tips, for example care instructions for the jewelry or textiles or whatever you make.
- If you sell a small ticket item, you can also offer a “punch card” type loyalty program. (ie. purchase 10 pieces and you get a free gift) or refer 10 friends and get a free gift.)
- If your handmade items are pricey, it’s a great idea to get an actual snail-mail address so you can acknowledge your gratitude. A handwritten thank you note is a rarity and will make you memorable. (Even better if your thank you note has a photo of your work to jog their memory.)
Please let me know how these tips work and do share in the comments if you have other ways you’ve built a following.
Terri Belford has been self-employed for more than 30 years and been on all sides of the art and handmade craft business as an artist, gallery owner and consultant to artists and crafts people. You can follow her on Twitter@craftbizcoach and Facebook. And follow her blog for more craft business articles.