5 Ways to Market Handmade Holiday Products
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
A list of holiday gift-giving trends for 2020 can be found here)
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. For a list of sales channels you can sell your products through, check out:
- WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE ONLINE (besides Etsy)
- HOW TO SELL THROUGH ONLINE CRAFT SHOWS
- WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE LOCALLY
To get potential customers to your sales channels so you can sell your products, you must use marketing.
This requires making use of marketing channels and implementing marketing methods on those channels (there’s a wide variety of both).
You’ll find more clarity on sales channels, marketing channels, marketing methods, more examples and how to discover your 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.
1) GET YOUR PRODUCTS IN THE MEDIA
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 a 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 a 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 covered in your local newspaper, on the radio, or TV to see if it sparks ideas for stories that can be told about your business.
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 marketing 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.
2) PAY YOUR WAY INTO PEOPLE’S FEEDS
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 this page).
Some advertising platforms will allow you to target a specific group of people. You may be able to choose 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.
(*Discover my secret technique for finding loads of people who will BUY your products in HOW TO FIND A GOLDMINE OF CUSTOMERS).
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, only 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, it’s important to get specific and be strategic. Paying for advertising on any ol’ platform won’t give you results. Know your target market, create an ad for them, and place it where they’re most likely to notice it.
3) USE SOCIAL MEDIA…THE RIGHT WAY
Social media is probably the most common form of marketing used by handmade businesses but unfortunately, not the most effective.
Too many businesses use social media to promote their products to followers as much as possible.
These businesses 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.” 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.
Instead of posting product shot/link after product shot/link, try using the Trojan Horse marketing method (more on that here). You may post:
- Great gift guides (that aren’t just full of your products)
- Fun activities to try over the holidays (that may incorporate your products)
- Your favorite recipe (that may be enjoyed with one of your products. E.g. if you’re selling table decor, kitchen products, etc.)
- A cool gift-wrapping idea (to wrap your products in)
Using social media to give back in the form of content your followers are interested in (because they’re not interested in: “buy this”, “now buy that”, “now buy this in the color red”), will actually boost engagement.
People don’t like, comment, or share content they’re not interested in. But when you create a gift guide full of really unique products for hard-to-buy-for-dads that’s actually useful and includes one of your products but isn’t a list of your products, you create something people want to share.
And what happens when people share your content…or like, or comment or click? It starts showing up in more people’s feeds.
You may be thinking; sharing a recipe is cool and all, 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?
People don’t typically head to Facebook or Instagram to shop; they log on to be inspired, informed, entertained, etc.
Social media isn’t for selling; it’s for warming people up to the idea of buying from you.
Use social media to make a connection, build trust, stay top of mind, etc. Getting followers onto your newsletter list is the next best step to ease them into.
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.
4) SEND AN EMAIL…OR A FEW
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, however, the majority of them 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?
Are they going to remember your business and just think of it out of the blue? Chances are slim.
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.
Not to mention, people are more open to buying when they follow a link from an email vs. a link on social media. Email marketing’s return on investment is 4 x higher than social media!
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 online shoppers to let them know when stock is running low, when custom-order deadlines are or when orders must be in by to receive shipments before Christmas or the New Year.
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.
5) BLOG ABOUT IT
If you don’t have a blog on your website, you can still use this marketing channel.
Instead of implementing the ideas below for your blog, pitch them to bloggers as guest posts.
A blog is another great place to implement the Trojan Horse Strategy and give visitors something entertaining, educational, or inspiring to read while slipping a product mention in.
Instead of simply saying one of your products makes a great gift, you can tell an interesting story through a blog post, share the benefits of your product, and the reasons why it makes a great gift.
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.
- Best places to shop for gifts in ___________ city (drive people to a shop that carries your products)
- My favorite holiday events around _________ city (mention a craft show you’ll be selling at within the list)
- Why giving __________ (your type of product) for Christmas is the perfect gift
- Trends that will be hot in 2019 (and products that fit that trend; yours being one of them)
- Getting fit/healthy/environmentally friendly/stylish/organized/etc. in the new year and how to do it (your products being one of the ways that can help)
Get creative, put the reader first, and make use of the Trojan Horse Strategy so that an article is informative AND it helps promote your products.
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.
Fantastic information in an entertaining way! The blog gives so much insight into the subject matter that it does not only become quite easy to understand the concept but to implement it as well.
Thanks Artisanal Creations! That’s so great to hear…I always aim to share interesting information from a different perspective 🙂
Love your books. I have all of them. Most informative. Workbooks are great too. Best info I have found.
Erin; Another wonderful update of what works. I agree there is more in your book – How to sell Handmade Beyond Friends & Family – which I purchased but I love getting your blog updates. It’s a great reminder. I’ve not tried writing for or making a blog yet but have been on Facebook for the last three weeks. Tomorrow I am trying a small craft fair in front of my favorite gift shoppe. A new area but not necessarily my target audience. Trying to get known. Thanks again!
Thank you so much for your support Jan & Joyce! I love that you love my ebooks 🙂
Joyce – I hope your craft fair went well! In terms of writing, a blog can require quite a bit of writing, but writing feature articles for other people’s blogs to start or writing press releases can help get your business’ name out 🙂
Thanks for reading!
I used to read your updates as often as I could, but not as consistently as I should. You wrote about if you had a product, but it needed reamaging and updating to make it fresh and inviting again. I latched onto that article like a cat to catnip!
My product has been off the market for 30 years! I had hung onto and paid for storing most all the components to manufacturer the product for most of that time So I worked on the ideas you presented and I’ve got new ways to market. new packaging, and a new audience. Thank you. Judy
The best method that works for me is Social Media Promotion. It’s easy these days to create good content and engage with customers through Social networks. However, I never tried blogging as a way to promote handmade products. I was thinking about selling handmade products on Amazon, but I’m afraid that I don’t know the competitors and the market. Do you have any posts about selling on Amazon? I know that it’s a hard process. I need to create a strong listing, find the right keywords (found some information on https://amzscout.net/amazon-keyword-tools/) and take high quality photos of the product to increase the chance of being seen and make people buy. Do you have any advice on your blog?