Are you in a place where you need more customers? This usually happens when you’ve sold your handmade items to everyone you know (and their grandmother) and you aren’t quite sure how to break out and gain new customers. Let’s face it – traditional print ads will break the bank for any small business owner. There must be other options…right?
Here are a few ideas –
- Host an event. Try hosting a trunk show either in the home of a well-connected friend or at a local gallery, bead or yarn shop. Have an open house or a traveling event in which you share the traffic with several shops in your niche.
- Look at other small businesses and see what they are (and aren’t) doing. What are their marketing techniques? Now try to see where the holes are. What are they missing?
- Start an e-mail list or newsletter. Invite your customers, blog readers and social media followers to sign up for an e-mail newsletter. In the newsletter, provide tips and tricks relevant to your niche and a discount coupon for your online store.
- Write a book or eBook – Having a free downloadable eBook on your website or blog that is relevant to your niche is a great way to build a following and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
- Create a website or start a blog – Not only do you want to make face-to-face connections but also connections via the internet – both can be valuable to your bottom line. In this day and age, all of your customers expect a “real business” to have an online presence.
- Sponsor a local sports team or charity event. Sponsors are often given space in brochures, programs or signage, and there are usually different levels of sponsor donation options.
- Speak at seminars, workshops, trade shows and other relevant events. If you can teach a class at a trade show, do a make-and-take, or speak to a crowd you can set yourself up for some great marketing opportunities.
- Ask your current customers for referrals. You can ask them to refer some of their friends or you can offer a bonus or discount for a referral who makes a purchase.
- Send handwritten holiday, birthday or thank you cards. If your business is client-based, it is a great idea to keep yourself at the top of their mind by sending appropriate special occasion cards.