Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 days of sewing: marketing your creations

Marketing: noun; The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. 
When you are in business for yourself, marketing is the key to a successful business. Social media websites abound with all kinds of marketing strategies, but how can you successfully market within the social media?
This is something I have given much thought to recently - especially since I am into this 31 day series of blogging. Every time I post to my blog, it posts to my personal and business facebook pages as well as posting to twitter and LinkedIn. To be quite honest, whenever I post anything that has to do with my business, it makes me wonder if people are reading what I take time to write, or {the ultimate fear} are they are hiding what I post so they don't have to see it go thru their newsfeed? So just how do you promote your sewing business (or any business for that matter) without appearing as a spammer?

It's easy to sign up for social media websites that you can do advertising on, but submitting your "stuff" does not guarantee that your efforts will be successful. There is actually alot more to it!
So how does one properly promote themselves and become successful without becoming annoying? Two words -  
Get involved in your facebook business page. Get involved in your blog. Get involved in your newsletter, forums or any other social media that you belong to. It isn't enough to just join those sites, you must be a part of the community by being actively involved. 

"Get Involved" does not mean that all you do is post links to your website and promote yourself/business. It also does not mean that you post your website links everywhere to try to gain as many people on your page as you can. While it seems logical that the more people you get to join your page increases your chances of sales, it really doesn't quite work that way. Most the masses of those people who are joining your page are only doing it so that they can post a link to get you to join their page. I have to admit, I have been guilty of this strategy, and I will be the first to tell you that it doesn't work. What does work tho, is to get involved with those who do join your page. Create discussion that allows for interaction between you and your "likers", as well as your "likers" with other "likers".
If you join a forum, get involved within that forum community - don't just be there for self-promotion, be there to interact with others within that community. As they get to know you for who you really are, they will more than likely become your friends, who also can become your customers who will share your page to others. That's all part of the
I have narrowed my marketing strategy down to five steps that I think hope will help make me successful in my business:
Identify my target market and listen to them
New social market places pop up everywhere just about every single week. It's a waste of resources to join each one of them only to find out you don't have time for all of them or even time to manage them. Find out where most your active customers and influencers spend time online - then listen and take notes.  I  belong to several online marketing social websites including:

Get involved in conversations
Engage prospective customers in conversation. If they have a question, try to help answer that question. If you can't answer their questions, try to do what you can to lead them to someone who can. One word of caution for facebook needs to be addressed - don't over-post or you run the risk of people hiding you in their news feed, which is the last thing you want to happen! You want to engage your "likers" into conversation, but you don't want to be annoying or appear as a spammer. Get to know your "likers" and those in the forum communities you belong to. Be their friend - engage in their conversations and compliment their creations. 
Give! Give! Give!
I think it's very important to establish a blog as your home base. Use your blog to communicate. Give free information and/or samples. Host giveaways! It's especially nice to host a giveaway of something that you sell on your website, as it can result in customers! Everyone loves free stuff! You don't have to give it ALL away, but be generous and publish often to keep them coming back to your blog for more. The more content you produce and publish will generate more traffic that you can attract back to your website. 
Master the Tools of the Trade
Post pictures, videos, tutorials and talk about what you do in your business. What you post in a picture or other media will either make or break your business. If you post pictures of wrinkled, or poorly constructed garments, it will reflect on the kind of work you do. Don't be in a hurry to take pictures to post - take time to iron your work and hang it properly on a hanger, dress form or model. Take a good look at your pictures before you post them - look at them with a customer's eye - if you find flaws, then it's likely your customer will too - they aren't blind! You don't have to hire a professional photographer, just keep in mind that you want the item you photograph to be very pleasing to the eye. 
Show your prospective customer that you not just know the tools of the trade, but you have mastered the tools of the trade! 
Use website analytics software to measure leads and sales 
Social media activity affects the success of many other inbound marketing techniques: 
- Search engine ranking
- Social bookmarking activity
- Social networking connections
- Video/podcast views/listens
- Inbound links
- RSS subscriptions
- Comments on your blog
- Mentions of your brand
- Number of times people search for your brand
- Visitors (first-time and repeat)
- Leads and Customers!
The end goals is lead generation and sales. But, there are plenty of leading indicators as you ramp up your efforts. 
Use tracking codes, a solid analytics package and closed loop marketing in order to track the visits, leads and sales that occur as a result of your social media activities.
In today's journal entry I tried to focus on the marketing aspect of a home business, since there are "sew" many of us out there trying to learn the ropes. For my regular blog-followers, this might have been a really boring post - not much sewing substance and all marketing. For those readers who are interested in marketing their creations, I hope you gained some valuable information. More and more WHAM's are trying hard to market their creations and become successful at it and trying to figure it all out at the same time. I certainly don't know all the ropes of it yet, but I'm working on it right along side those of you who are!


I hope you enjoyed today's feature - be sure to check out all the other 31'ers HERE!

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1 comment:

Esther Grant said...

Always the very best from you Laurie and thanks so much for sharing this complicated matter of marketing. So much to read, so many changes on a daily basis, so hard to keep up with it all. ♥

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