One of the things about having my own creative business that seems to take extra bravery and skill is marketing. If you are like me in that you are not independently wealthy you also need to find ways to market your creative business that don’t cost a lot.
I am not an expert and I hope to never lay claim to that title, because that would mean that I have lost my desire to learn and grow and have become complacent. The way I look at things, complacency is the kiss of death to any small business person.
Here are 5 tips for marketing your business that won’t have you breaking open the piggy bank.
1. Go social.
It’s been said time and time again that Facebook and Twitter RULE right now in the social marketing world. Just remember, they aren’t the ONLY game in town and as hard as it may be to believe, some day they may not even be a game (remember MySpace?).
Sure, it’s important to update your Facebook business page, promote your shop on Twitter, ask questions of your audience, comment on the updates of others and just let people get to know you on the BIG sites but don’t forget the smaller web spaces too. Do you have a Flickr account? Do you post photos and comment on the photos of others? Do you have a Tumblr blog where you can do quick updates? What about Instagram? You can’t be everywhere but you can find the sites that feel the most comfortable and spend some time there.
According to one resource I read there are more than 200 well known social networking sites on the internet. Yes, I realize you don’t have all day. Try setting a timer for 30 minutes and hit as many sites as you can and make connections. Setting a timer keeps me focused on what I am doing rather than having me chasing down interesting looking links all afternoon. My trick is to spend 20-30 minutes a day on Twitter and Facebook and another 20-30 minutes updating other social networking sites I like. It may still seem like a lot of time but I do it over lunch or afternoon tea.
Cast your net wide and catch more fish!
Do you have a blog? Of course you won’t want to write about your online shop and craft shows 100% of the time but it’s a good way to let fans of your work know where you will be as well as a little bit about you personally. People like to know a little about the artist they buy from.
Another way to use blogging for marketing is to guest post on other blogs. You don’t need to mention your business at all. Write good, useful content for blogs similar to your own and leave a SHORT bio sentence at the bottom of your post linking back to your blog. If you have a widget at the top of your blog, pointing to your online shop, your blog readers may click though to find out more about what you sell.
The trick here is to be authentic – be yourself. The readers who feel a connection with you are more likely to click over to your site and then maybe to your store in order to see if you really are like them THAT much. (Or if you’re really the goofball you say you are.)
I know, advertising costs money. Unless… can you trade advertising with someone else who has a blog with a similar feel and style as your own? Can you trade some of your finished goods for ad space on a little larger blog? Also, look at blogs that don’t have a lot of traffic, maybe you can afford a small space on a smaller blog.
Don’t forget to put a business card or post card in every purchase. Whether you hand the sale over a table or ship it out make sure you make it easy for shoppers to buy from you again.
Who are you? What are you all about? What feelings do you want to convey to readers, shoppers and your social network about you, your business and your products? Not necessarily what your products ARE but how they make people feel. Is that an afghan or is it a handmade, cozy blanket of comfort and warmth? Go beyond your basic product description and figure out what makes you stand out and from that write a short slogan or catch phrase to summarize it.
Now that you know the feelings you wish to evoke in readers/customers you can use your catch phrase or slogan to create a logo and/or banner.
Use your logo and slogan or catch phrase everywhere you can. In your shop, on your blog, on your business cards and other marketing materials. Let your brand guide you and help you keep your company looking and feeling consistent with your brand.
Now when someone sees an image that is in keeping your brand they will think of you.
Have you ever seen an item and thought, “Oh! I bet so and so created that.” GOOD BRANDING!
5. Be Consistent
Don’t think that promoting your business from October-December is enough. You should put on your marketing hat every, single day. You don’t have to be pushy and annoy folks. Rather, show up every day, all year long in a way that is consistent with your brand. Be thinking of ways you can get your name in front of potential customers every day and then do the work to get there.
It takes some bravery, skill and creativity but there are plenty of ways to get word out about your creative business without spending a lot of cash.
Do you have any ideas or thoughts for promoting your business that don’t take a lot of cash? What is the most creative way you have promoted your business?
By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess