Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Business Chat - Stay in touch!

Sometimes I know I sound like a broken record saying the same thing over and over but here I go again. If there is only one piece of advice that I could tell someone starting out in a crafty business it would be this.
It is not the customers job to stay in touch with you it is your job to stay in touch with the customer. 
Customers are interested in what you do. Remember, people buy handmade because they want to know who is behind the scenes. They are interested in your world and why you do what you do. They want to hear from you. When a customer has given you their email address for your mailing list (you need a mailing list) they have given you permission to contact them. So go ahead, contact them! 
One of the best methods of keeping in touch is with a newsletter. A newsletter can by your secret weapon for creating long-term residual sales and building a fan base around your work that sells it for you. They are great for letting people know what craft shows you’ll be at, what new work you have or if you have a new online sales venue. They make it easy for your customer to give you money.
When producing your newsletter, always keep your business goals in mind. Are you running a holiday promotion to increase sales? Consider making the promotion the centerpiece of the newsletter, or at least make sure to prominently feature the promo code. Want to showcase your new products? Mention “new products” in the newsletter subject line, and include lots of cool photos of your new stuff. 
Your other goals may include increasing your connection with your customers, establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in your field, or letting people know about an upcoming event. Here are a few more ideas to help you get started. And if a particular story is too long for a newsletter, you can always link out to your site or blog and encourage people to read it there:
  • Latest products: Everyone likes to see what’s new and fresh.
  • Behind-the-scenes: If you have an interesting story to share, people will want to read it. How do you make your products? How did you get started?
  • Video: Don’t be afraid to experiment with using video — sometimes adding a little clip or even a Vine video can go a long way in communicating who you are.
  • Events and promotions: Going to be someplace where people can meet you in person? Let folks know via your newsletter! 
How often you should send a newsletter is up to you. It depends on how good of a writer you are and how much you have to say. Some artists write weekly. Some write a couple of times a year. Personally I send mine out monthly. I find this keeps me in their vision without annoying busy people. Whatever time frame you decide on the most important thing is to be consistent. Remember, branding means consistency. If you promise people it’s a monthly newsletter and then send it every 6 – 9 weeks you’ve broken your promise and broken their trust.
If the idea of a newsletter seems like a good one to you but you don’t quite know where to begin, do some research. Sign up for newsletters from a selection of crafts people that you admire, and sign up for people in different fields. (you can always unsubscribe later). 
Check out what sort of thing people write. As you read someone’s newsletter think to yourself, what do I like about this? Why would I want to continue to subscribe? What do I not like? 
Think to yourself, what do I want to tell my customers? That is your newsletter. 

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