Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Business Chat - Promote yourself with a card


Done, done and checked off my list! This week I checked off creating new postcards, ordering more business cards, creating new Thank You cards for all my online orders and started the ball rolling on a spiffy brand new website. 

Promotional materials and packaging are incredibly important for keeping my business alive. They promote my brand, reinforce my message, and keep my business name alive in a customers mind. They communicate my story and my product to my customers, which is what marketing is all about.

For every one sale I make in my holiday craft show booth there will be dozens of people who walk through, admire and leave. Just because they don’t buy at this time doesn’t mean I write them off for future purchases. I make sure I have something they can take away to remind them of me later. This is where my postcards come in. Hopefully they like them enough to put it on their fridge and at some point they can order online. 

The most important thing about marketing materials is that they are consistent, they must reflect you, your product and your marketing message. If your work is small, delicate and neutral in colouring then don’t use primary colours and a splashy font. Your promotional materials must not only reflect your business, they should reflect you. YOU are the product along with your jewellery. Make sure your materials reflect your creative energy and sincerity.

Marketing dollars are limited and so is your time. It’s important to think long and hard about each piece that you produce in order not only to not waste time and money, but to avoid sending the wrong message out to the public.

You may decide to design your own materials. You may hire a graphic designer. Or you could take a middle road and commission a basic “design template” that you can apply to each piece as needed. (I use all 3 of these methods.) 

Whatever you decide run through the 5W’s for every piece you create. 

Who
Who is your audience? Designing an expensive 3 fold brochure discussing your technique may be appropriate to a high-end gallery but if you’re giving it to customers at a craft show it is probably wasted.
What 
What is the purpose of the piece? You can’t judge if something is successful if you haven’t defined what success is. Sometimes you’re trying to educate people on your work and sometimes you just want to tell them how to reach you. Know what you are trying to achieve. 
When
When do they see this? I have several pieces and each has a different version of my message. One piece is for when they open a package, one for taking away at a craft show. And the website is for oogling and shopping. Same message but different versions. Think about when your customer is getting your piece of material and what they expect to see. 
Where 
Where do they get it? If they are seeing the piece when they open a package they aren’t looking to read a lot. If they are picking this up at a booth they need contact information. If you’ve had a long discussion with them then maybe you have give them the 3-fold brochure that you have hidden from the general public in your booth. Again, same message different version. 
Why
Why do they have this? You want a customer to do something, maybe keep the this for future reference, pass it on to a friend, pick up the phone to call you or to order online. When you know why they have this you can design the piece to highlight what you want them to do. Maybe have your website in a larger font, or have an enticing photo on the front so that they keep it. 
It’s important to know in advance exactly what your budget is. Promotional materials can get pricey. Know your limit and stay within it. Also know the quantities that you need. It may be a really great bargain for those 5,000 postcards, but if you only have 200 people on your mailing list, those people are going to see the same card 20 times before you run out.

With online materials and social media, your cost may not be in actual dollars but in time. Remember time is money. If you spend 40 hours setting up a social media site that is 40 hours that you aren’t making work to sell or making money working for someone else. (plus the ongoing hours of maintaining this site). 
And most importantly, once you have your marketing message, and your spiffy new marketing materials, USE THEM! In a micro business like ours, with a staff of one, if you don’t promote yourself who will?
ps. here's a peek of the postcard I created. They will be in my booth for anyone to take. The goal is for people to remember me and know how to find me later. 



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