Over the last three weeks Fiona Pullen, well-known author of several books, The Sewing Directory website and an all round nice person, has been explaining how to set up a successful creative business. In this final blog of this series, she explores what could be the most important aspect of any business .. the marketing. In her own words …
“If you build it, they will come” Sadly this well known phrase from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams really does not apply to business. Just because you’ve opened a shop, set up a website or decided to offer long arm services doesn’t mean you will suddenly be inundated with customers. You have to get the word out there to let people know you exist – and not just to let the whole world know, more specifically your potential customers.
The more niche the audience you are targeting the cheaper it is and the more likely you are to get results. If you are selling handmade dresses for girls, which sell at around £40-£60 each, there is no point trying to market to every single mum in the country. Many mums will not have that kind of budget, so you need to think about which mums will. You will be looking at fairly affluent parents, so your next step is to think how can you reach them? Where do they hang out (both online and offline)? What kind of events to they attend, or shops do they visit? What magazines or websites do they read? What social media platforms do they use? The more you can narrow that down the better your chances of success.
If you offer long arm quilting it will probably prove more cost effective for you to advertise in local quilt shops, or at local quilt groups than in the local paper for example. The people you will reach in a quilt shop or quilt group are much more likely to need your service than the general population who read the paper, plus the cost will probably be less.
If there are quilting Facebook groups online you could join them and be interacting with your potential audience. You can follow local quilters on Facebook and Instagram, several are likely to follow you back. Share pictures of your work so they can see what you do.
If you sell girl’s dresses look at advertising in the Primary Times (a magazine handed out at schools and children’s play centers). Check out websites like Mumsnet or popular parenting blogs to see if they will feature you or if they sell advertising. See if local play centers will let you put up posters or hand out flyers.
It is key to identify your audience and where they spend their time so you can reach them in the most cost-effective manner. You want to get the best results possible for your time and money. Even when it comes to free promotion – such as social media – you don’t want to waste your time on a platform that your potential audience is not using.
Going back to the first part of this series, focusing on research, you would have looked at your competitors and where they advertise, which social platforms they use etc. Use this knowledge to help guide your marketing strategy.
Fiona is the author of the bestselling Craft a Creative Business, the newly released Making & Marketing a Successful Art & Crafts Business and the founder of The Sewing Directory.