It’s now easier than ever to reach the outside world….
. so why do so many small businesses struggle with marketing their business and reaching their potential customers?
As most of you know, Steve and I get very little time off. Steve has a regular job 4 days a week and is self-employed for 2 more. Although I am in the studio Tuesday to Saturday, Mondays are usually reserved for catching up on housework and the garden.
Not every Sunday is free, but when it is we like to go out, find something arty or crafty to see and this also mostly involves visiting a small tearoom or café.
We love connecting with other crafters, finding out what they do, how they started and generally connecting with other like minded folk. We’ve both had to learn the hard way on setting up and more importantly sustaining a small, independent, crafting business.
It’s not been easy. We’ve made mistakes. I’ve read more books on marketing than I can shake a stick at. The main reason for wanting to set up Handmade Yorkshire was to help, advise and encourage others, who want to turn their passion into a full time or part time business and pass on the hacks and knowledge we have gained along the way.
We chat, connect and get to know many crafters, most of which love doing what they do but are clueless when it comes to marketing, social media, website building and other nasty things that get in the way.
A question we often ask, especially at craft fairs is:
“Where can I buy your stuff?”
To which the answer is usually one of the following:
“You can email me”
“I’m at a craft fair next months at (somewhere I will have forgotten by the time I get home)”
“I only sell at craft fairs”
On prying further and asking again….
“Yes but WHERE can I buy your stuff”
we are usually met with a blank stare.
“Have you a website? Facebook page? Instagram? Twitter? Pinterest? Blog? Etsy? Ebay?”
Then comes the dreaded answer
“No I’m not on any of those yet”.
Seriously! If not WHY NOT?
Apart from Etsy and a website the above are all FREE!
Yes FREE! And you are missing the opportunity of engaging with customers, building repeat customers and most importantly SELLING YOUR STUFF!.
THE 5 BIGGEST EXCUSES PEOPLE GIVE FOR NOT DOING THE ABOVE.
1 “I haven’t time”
2 “I’m crap with technology”
3 “It’s not a real business… it’s just a hobby”
4 “I wouldn’t know where to start”
5 “I don’t think that it will help me”
Yeah and the list goes on.
Let’s take the excuses one at a time shall we?
“I haven’t time”
This is probably the lamest excuse ever. I know lots of busy mums, who hold a family together, work around them, have a multitude of other commitments but also run a successful business.
Try turning off that T.V. when there is nothing worth watching.
Schedule in a time slot where you will market your work.
Treat the above as a task, just as you would a project or commission.
Make it part of your daily routine.
“I’m crap with technology
Well, hello and welcome to my world.
You might feel like you are crap at technology, but everyone has to start somewhere. If you never start, you’ll never learn! Simples.
“It’s not a real business… it’s just a hobby”
Well… you might not think of it as a business but I’m afraid that if you are making money from your hobby… it’s a business!
If it’s just a hobby, then why are you selling it?
To pay for more stock? Yes, that’s a business!
“I wouldn’t know where to start”
Well, ok I sort of get this. For years I paid other people to design websites for me. I spent a fortune not getting what I really wanted. When the businesses folded they left me with no code to get into my website, no passwords and no clue as to how to recover all the information I had on there. MEGA FAIL!
I cut my teeth with a Blogger Blog and really started blogging for fun. It was about me and my creative life along with my personal life. Everything mashed together in a kind of what you see is what you get fashion.
I made friends, creative friends, spiritual friends, cat loving friends and small business owner friends. It was a great way to chat to others, learn how to write about myself and my life and it became part of my morning routine. The blog had nothing to do with my business, however I did post pictures and write blog posts about my work or what I was working on at the time.
I learnt how to add photos, link to others websites or articles and inspire and motivate others. I used it as a kind of on-line diary. I started it for me… however it got a huge following and interaction and it was probably my best teacher. I had no training, No direction and absolutely no idea. What I didn’t know about I used the help files, the forums and youtube. One step at a time. That was way back in 2006 and to be honest, I’ve never looked back.
The moral of the story? Pick 1 platform… yes just 1. Start at the beginning, learn as you go. Use help files, forums and groups to feel your way through and I promise you in no time, if you stick to it, it will become second nature.
“I can’t see how any of this will help me”
Well, I have news for you!
The vast majority of the worlds population is now on the internet.
How do you expect people to find you if you are hiding away in your workroom and only coming out for breath when you attend craft fairs?
What happens when the craft fair is over and you decide that next month you will be at a show somewhere else?
What is someone was visiting the craft fair on their holidays, bought something from you and want to buy more.
What if someone loves your stuff but somehow this month they haven’t the spare cash?
What if what they saw they really liked, but it was a little over their budget and would definitely come back for it next week or month.
What if someone liked your stuff so much and just knew that her friend would also love it?
The simple and hard truth here is… if you have no internet presence then that super customer will go elsewhere.
You are simply throwing sales away.
You are really missing a trick.
And the saddest thing of all here is… it's mostly FREE! It costs nothing or very little to set these up.
With the world wide web, people can buy anything they want, from whoever they want and whenever they want.
If you are not there, it certainly won’t be you!
So: What is stopping you?
What are your sticking points?
What are you struggling with?
What do you need help with?
And How can we help you?
Leave a comment in the comments section below, contact us on facebook or simply pm us with your questions and we’ll answer them both here and in a future blog post.
Warm wishes and happy crafting,