Create A Marketing Strategy For
Your Handmade Business - PART 1 -
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I am Heather Bunker: Designer, branding genius, mom of 4 and DIY lover. This blog is a mix of business and fun - full of helpful tutorials, marketing insights and design inspiration!
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Arther Ashe once said,
Start where you are,
use what you have,
do what you can
I believe that this quote is valuable in a number of ways.
Writing a marketing strategy for any business is a lot of work. but understanding where you are and using what you have is the perfect start.
I am hoping to simplify the process for you a bit.
I know that taking the time to do something like this for any small handmade business is like pulling teeth.
Really though completing these steps will help you to develop an awareness of your handmade brand and ultimately help you generate more sales. The ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to help you grow your business and increase your brand awareness.
Lets put together a successful marketing strategy for your handmade business. The way to do that is to create a multi-faceted and realistic plan that can be implemented consistently over time. I so wish I had some big shortcuts for you but it is going to take a wee bit of time. I urge you to try it though.
Your HANDMADE business marketing plan
(aka marketing strategy) will:
List THE actions you need to take
Establish and define your target market and set an action for each
Figure out how you will measure success
Be flexible enough to allow adjustments
Give tasks for your team/self
LET’S DO THIS!
FIRST MAKE YOUR GOALS FOR YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS
Creating your goals can take some time and I wrote my own out for you to see here.
Download the Guide To Creating Kick A** Goals and then come back here to write your marketing strategy.
THEN LET’S DO SOME RESEARCH
Edward Lowe Foundation has a great article on how to put together a competitive analysis. An in-depth investigation and analysis of your competition is super duper really important, for a good marketing strategy. How can you know what to do for your handmade business without knowing what your competition is up to? Think about hiring an intern for the summer or a local college student to help with the task.
Doing a SWOT Analysis will give you a better understanding of the things affecting your business or campaign and put you in place to take action. It’s an awesome technique that will help you understand your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES, and help you identify both your OPPORTUNITIES and open your eyes to the THREATS you face. No, I’m not talking about a special weapons and tactics team….but I think that's pretty cool too. So don your paintball gear and nerf guns and get to action.
Doing a SWOT plan will help you: Really figure out your problems, set or reaffirm goals, and create an awesome action plan.
Having a realistic and honest idea of the weaknesses and threats that exist for your handmade business is the first hurdle to counter-attack. By taking a look at your business and your competitors you can put in place an awesome set of strategies that you can build and grow on. Distinguish yourself from your competitors so that you can compete successfully in your market and kick some butt!
Download my simple SWOT Analysis and get started now.
Honestly, this is my favorite part of creating a marketing strategy. I really think that any small business who truly understands who they are targeting will do so much better in the long run when they understand their customers.
I mean do you really know, like realllllly know your customers? You can’t truly and successfully position your awesome handmade products without knowing who your target market is, and what needs or wishes they have. Do you really understand your fans, their backgrounds, goals, challenges, and most importantly their interests and needs? How old are they, did they go to school, have kids, or have a love for the handmade themselves? What does their daily life look like?
These questions are meant to be very specific because creating very realistic buyer personas can seriously pack a punch when it comes to marketing and selling your product and brand.
When you don’t really understand your customers it is almost impossible for a business to create an effective strategy to find new brand followers and sell your products. Not only that but really building relationships with them.
Read more about Buyer (user) Personas why you should have them here and learn more about how to create them Here.
UNDERSTAND THE BUYING CYCLE OF YOUR
You're probably thinking what the heck is a buyers cycle? Well, I am going to try and simplify what exactly a buyers cycle is. Basically, it is how buyers get from step one to a decision to buy. Seems simple right. Well, it really is….the trick is understanding and harnessing the knowledge to create campaigns and a marketing strategy that is based on your buyer's cycle. Marketing automation is one tool that can help you cut down on time, and leverage the cycle to keep pace with your followers (buyers). The Business to Consumer sales cycle is fast and consists of a few targeted touches and a continuous presence.
There are three stages to a buyers journey.
Awareness, Consideration & Decision
Most likely at the beginning of your buyer's journey, they have no idea who you are and that they have a need. Buyers are most likely unaware that they even are interested in your product and don’t even know you exist. Sad, I know…but as a business owner and marketer it is important for you to create awareness of your product and brand. Help your buyers understand what exactly you do, your story and your marketing should be focused on why you do what you do and what your product does for them. Social media is one place you can do this…as well as having a brand website to use as a tool.
Once your buyer has realized that they have a need or pain point most buyers will turn to Google. They start their research and begin exploring options for solutions to their need. For example, “Suzy realized that she needs a colander for rinsing and easily serving her berries from her garden this spring” She turns to gold to search and explore what options there might be for a colander. Usually, education starts with a search, reviews, and testimonials. So having a blog or being featured by your friends on their blog would be a good start. Having an SEO friendly website will help you get found too. Consider using an automation tool to begin tracking and collecting prospects information. Also, discuss the reasons why your product might solve their problem.
Sometimes a buyer might make a purchase based on an emotion and not a need. Another aspect to understanding buyer behavior is that a buyer also will use emotion to make buying decisions. There is a psychology based sales cycle as well and this is based on what your buyers are feeling. There are three basic emotions that a buyer might use as well when they are on the path to making a decision.
Consumers make purchases to feel better about themselves.
A lot of people will make purchases to alleviate a real or perceived fear. A lot of marketers will use this tactic and sell how their product will keep them safe or eliminate the fear.
Consumers make purchases for selfish reasons and most often will purchase because their neighbors, cousins uncles brother may have purchased.
You cannot appeal to all three of these emotions at the same time and usually only one will be effective for your brand.
Usually, a buyer will narrow their choices down to a few different options and then they return to the research stage again and then to Google and they dive deeper to see which they prefer.
They compare each vendor that they are considering and reach out. Often they will turn to social media to do further research.
There are a lot of books out there that try and decipher the B2C selling cycle but really the only way you can leverage your buyer's cycle is to understand your product offering and what makes your product different from your competitors. What makes you different is really important in helping your buyers make a choice. For products like food, homes, cars, and clothing it's not so much what it can do for me but HOW IT MAKES THEM FEEL. Emotion-driven marketing campaigns work best.
OK so now we have a good idea of who our buyers are,
how, and why they buy, NOW it is time to put together some strategy.
PART 2 >>
BUILDING A STRATEGY FOR YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS