If you’ve created holiday themed products, you have limited time to sell them. Which means you must work hard to market them. As you probably know, they aren’t just going to sell themselves.
(If you haven’t created products for the holidays, here are 3 quick and easy steps to boost holiday sales with minimal effort)
This article is focusing on marketing channels and marketing methods…NOT sales channels.
You can create listings on Etsy, add new products to your website, sell at a craft show, etc. But those are your sales channels.
To get potential customers to your sales channels so you can sell your products, you must use marketing. Which requires making use of marketing channels and implementing marketing methods on those channels (there are a wide variety of both).
You’ll find more clarity on sales channels, marketing channels, marketing methods, more examples and how to discover you best channels and methods in HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY.
But for now, let’s quickly go over a few of the marketing channels and methods found in the ebook to get you started.
Probably the most common form of marketing used by handmade business but unfortunately, not the most effective.
Too many businesses use social media to promote their products to followers as much as possible.
They become that friend who’s always asking for a favor and eventually we just start ignoring their messages.
“It’s Larry again…wonder what he want’s this time.” Oh Larry, a relationship can’t just be all take, take, take. Sometimes you’ve gotta give!
You’re trying to build a relationship with your followers too. They’ll begin to expect that every time you show up in their feed, you’re going to be promoting a product and asking for money.
You must give back to your followers once and a while or you’ll turn into a Larry.
“But I’ve gotta make sales!”
When’s the last time you posted to Facebook and saw a flood of sales come in?
Or even one sale?
If you’re not seeing the results you want from your social media marketing, make sure you’re not making these 3 (very) common mistakes.
And then give the Trojan Horse Strategy a try next time you’re posting to social media and see if your interaction increases.
Also, try different marketing methods through your social media marketing channels. For example, instead of just posting photos to Facebook, try sharing links to articles on topics related to your products, try posting a video, try using Facebook live, etc. You’ll find more marketing methods for each marketing channel in here.
Remember, you’re not using social media to make a sale. People don’t typically head to Facebook or Instagram to shop; they log on to be inspired, informed, entertained, etc.
People also don’t typically go from follower to customer in two simple steps. There are many steps in between so trying to make a sale is a bit aggressive on that type of marketing channel.
Instead, use social media to make a connection, build trust, stay in sight, etc. Getting followers onto your newsletter list is the most logical next step if they don’t buy.
You should absolutely be collecting email addresses during this busy holiday season. Your business is going to encounter hundreds of potential customers who are gift shopping, majority of whom will NOT buy from you.
And those who do buy are likely buying for someone else.
Wouldn’t it be great if they eventually bought one of your items for themselves too? Which may not happen until their bank account recovers from holiday shopping.
Are they going to remember your business in the new year and just think of it out of the blue? Chances are slim to none.
But if they’re on your newsletter list, you’re in control of when they receive a message that reminds them of all the items they were admiring when shopping for someone else.
You can do the same if you get them to follow you on social media…but it’s harder to get someone to follow you when they’re in the middle of shopping (you don’t want them getting distracted or leaving your website to go to your social media page…keep them where the sales happen!)
And it’s also harder to get your messages to them…and at the right time. Social media algorithms kind of hold our posts hostage and decide if and when they’re worthy of being shown.
Once you have a newsletter set up and subscribers on your list (not sure how to do that? Simple to follow instructions are here), you can send an email blast after an event, letting people know about the great items or deals they missed or sharing stock that’s still available.
Or you can get in contact with website shoppers to let them know when stock is running low, when custom-order deadlines are or when orders must be in by to receive items before Christmas or New Years.
Creating urgency is a great way to clear out more stock.
Use that newsletter! It’s one of the most effective marketing channels out there. And yes, it’s definitely more effective than social media.
You may have started a blog on your website, but if you haven’t, you can still use this marketing channel. Instead of implementing the ideas below for your blog, pitch them as guest posts for others’ blogs.
A blog is a great place to implement the Trojan Horse Strategy and give visitors something entertaining, educational or inspiring to read, while slipping a product mention in.
A blog post should almost always be focused on how you can provide value to readers. What type of information can you share to make their life better, easier, happier, etc.? Once you have that determined, find a way to weave a product mention in so it feels natural.
People who haven’t gotten their Christmas shopping done yet would probably appreciate a handy gift guide, such as: Best gifts under $50 for that hard to buy for person.
This list may suggest one or two of your products but mainly consist of other business’ products.
You could then get in contact with those businesses and ask if they’ll share a link to the gift guide on their social media, blog, in their newsletter, etc.
There are many other types of blog posts you can create to help drive readers to your product listings.
Get creative, put the reader first and make use of the Trojan Horse Strategy so that an article is information AND it helps promote your products.
If your products or business have a unique angle, sending out a press release may get you featured in a local newspaper or on a local TV or radio show.
What do I mean by unique angle?
The media is looking for a story, not an announcement or advertisement.
“Suzy is selling jewelry you can buy as gifts” is not headline I would click on or stick around to hear about after a commercial break.
“Give a necklace this Christmas & save a cat’s life” gets me wondering; how can I save a cat’s life? The answer may be that a business is partnering with a local cat shelter and donating a portion of sales to it. It’s an interesting story that also promotes a product.
Have a look at the types of stories that are covered in your local newspaper, on the radio or TV.
You might see a story about a business selling a product that makes a great gift and gives back by donating profits to a local charity. Or a product that’s the latest trend, which trend it’s replacing and where to buy it. Or maybe a business is making a common product out of an uncommon material.
Starting a business or selling a product is not news; what do you do that’s a bit out of the ordinary and interesting?
If you’re hoping to be featured in a magazine, you must work months in advance. Have a look at this article for a better understanding of a marketing schedule and how some channels require you to plan ahead).
You may also look into how you can get your products featured on the home page of a platform such as Etsy. Or on your favorite blog or website.
Start with great photos, great branding and great copy (e.g. product descriptions) to increase your chances of getting featured. From there, look into each platform and what they’re specifically looking for when choosing brands or products to highlight.
Think niche when looking for places to advertise. Where are you most likely to reach your target audience who’s perfect for your products (as they aren’t for “everyone”, or “women of all ages”…right? If they are, please read over this article).
Some advertising platforms will allow you to target a specific group of people. You may be able to decide the gender, age, location, etc. of the audience your ad is shown to. Which can help it reach the right people and perform better.
But you may find it more beneficial to find where your niche market is hanging out and then place an ad there.
Let’s say you’re selling hair accessories that are made for people with red hair (you choose colors that look great with red hair, the model in all your photographs has red hair, your branding appeals to redheads, etc.).
If you place an ad for the accessories on a general fashion blog, it’s going to have a lot of competition, reach a small percentage of people who are a true fit for the product and the ad is likely to be ignored.
But if you place an ad on HowToBeARedhead.com, RedheadRevolution.com, SimplyRedhead.com, etc. (yes, those are real sites) your ad is going to have less competition, stand out to website visitors and get more clicks.
If you’re planning to spend money on ads, get specific and be strategic. Paying for advertising on any platform won’t give you results. Know your niche market, create an ad for them and place it where they’re most likely to notice it.
There are many other marketing channels and methods to take advantage of; these are just 5 to get you started.
For more ideas, instructions to implement, etc. please download HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY.
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