This month, we’re turning our thoughts towards creative businesses and how best to run them. Getting the word out about your creative enterprise--whether that’s designing and selling fabrics and wall media on Spoonflower, trying to market yourself to a commercial fabric printer, or selling clothing or other items that you make yourself--can be a daunting prospect. After all, you’ve already invested so much time and energy into the dreaming and making of your vision. Now you have to sell it to someone? How?
To help you reach others with the message of your creativity and talent, we’ve asked some creative types who are already doing it very well to share pointers on marketing yourself. We’ll be bringing you advice and information on how to figure out who your audience is, how to utilise your existing strengths in a creative business, and how to create marketing collateral to show off your skills.
We’ll also be offering a few giveaways of resources to help you start and maintain your creative enterprise and to employ social media in a genuine and effective way in business.
“Marketing Yourself March” begins today with Diane Gilleland, aka Sister Diane of Craftypod, crafter, blogger, and podcaster extraordinaire. Read on for her tips on figuring out your market reach below!
Online marketing can seem like a daunting task, especially to us creative types – we’re often more about the making-things than the tooting-of-the-horn. If the idea of marketing intimidates you (or even if it’s just something that manages to slide to the bottom of your To-Do list), try downloading this little worksheet. It’s designed to give you an idea of your potential marketing reach, right this minute.
To help you get started filling it out, let’s walk through the steps.
If these numbers are low, however, it doesn't necessarily mean you won’t have sales. And if the numbers are high, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be rolling in money. Here’s what’s true: the more people you have access to, the more potential you have to develop a positive word of mouth reputation. And that reputation is a very powerful marketing tool, as we’ll see in a moment.
You might have thousands of blog subscribers, but if most of them just glance at your blog from time to time, looking for freebies, then these people may not represent much "marketing muscle." A passive audience may still buy your stuff here and there, but they aren't as likely to help you spread the word.
Even if you have only a dozen blog subscribers, if they always comment on your blog and share links to you, well, these people are golden. They're actively engaged with what you do. Not only are they more likely to buy, they're more likely to recommend your stuff to friends. They have more marketing potential than any huge, passive audience.
Now, it's time to look at the strength of your network. Look at your best blog (and Twitter, and Facebook) buddies. Do any of these people know people who might be able to help you spread the word about your work more widely? Do your friends have blogs? How many people read these blogs? How many Twitter and Facebook friends do they have? Do you (or your friends) have contacts at any large blogs in your subject niche? How about magazine editors? Do you or your friends know anyone who works for your local newspaper (or its website)?
Don't limit this scan to just your online friends. Everyone you know, whether it's a Twitter follower or your child's teacher, might know people online who can help you market. Make yourself a list of these contacts right now.
Who are the most influential bloggers for your specific subject matter? Who is podcasting about your subject? Who has a video blog? These are all people who can help introduce you to new customers. I don’t recommend emailing them out of the blue and asking them to feature you! Instead, make a daily, weekly project of connecting with these people through their blogs and social media. Get on their radar as a nice person, not as “just another person asking for publicity
What to do with this information?
By the time you've finished this investigation, you should have a great idea of where your marketing strengths are, and where your network-building needs some focus. And that’s half the battle! Good work so far!
About Our Guest Blogger
Diane Gilleland blogs, podcasts, publishes, teaches, and makes videos about all things crafty over at CraftyPod.com. When she's not doing those things, she's doing whatever her cat tells her to do. And what's wrong with that?