How to get your products in front of the right customers
Are you overwhelmed by all the things you think you probably should be doing to promote your handmade products online, but aren’t really sure where to start? Help is at hand. Polly Dugdale from Handmade Horizons, explains that by using a clear three-step guide you can cut through the confusion and see where you should be promoting your handmade products online…
Featured image: Butcher’s Row, Leeds, Greeting Card by Simon Lewis Illustration
Step 1: Identify who your target customer is
Knowing who your target customer is means that making decisions about your business becomes much easier. This can help with every aspect of your marketing – including how and where to promote your products. Really try to get inside a customer’s head so you can anticipate how your products can help either solve a problem they are having (that could be that they need an original gift, for example), or indulge their fantasies (to have the most adorable child at playgroup, maybe?).
If you feel like you need a bit of help on working out who your target customer is, Handmade Horizons have a free ‘dream customer’ worksheet you can download.
Step 2: Imagine where your target customer hangs out
Once you have a clear idea of who your target customer is, you can start to imagine which websites he or she visits, which magazines and newspapers they read, who they listen to for fashion and shopping advice, and of course, where they shop. Try to imagine where they are getting their influences from, and where they are spending time.
A great tool for finding those places is Google. A search in Google for keywords relating to other topics and products your dream customer would be interested in will uncover a host of magazines, websites and bloggers who are writing about these things. This, in turn, will help you work out where to promote your products – and it’s these magazines, websites and bloggers who will be most interested in writing about you too!
Now, grab a pen and write down all the places you can think of that your target customer is already interested in or is hanging out.
Hint: These options could include blogs, magazines, social media platforms, search engines, craft fairs, your mailing list, local meeting places, online directories, forums, radio stations, podcasts… (this list could go on for a LONG TIME!)
Step 3: Work out where to focus your attention
Your next step is to work out which of the above options you should focus your attention on. Don’t feel you need to cover all these bases though. Unless you have a small army of professional marketers and PR experts to help you out, then effectively getting coverage for your products across all the above channels is not for mere mortals!
How many channels you focus on completely depends on how much time you want to dedicate to marketing. The key is not to spread yourself too thinly. There is nothing wrong with choosing to focus entirely on one particular area, such as getting featured across as many influential blogs as possible. Alternatively, you might want to dedicate your time to building an engaged following on one social media platform. Or if you have time to cover both, even better!
Make an action plan
So, decide the areas you want to focus on for the next 3-6 months, set out an ‘action plan’ for how you are going to approach them, and then commit to it!
Go with your instinct on this. Which channels have the biggest potential to deliver sales? Which will you most enjoy? For example, if the prospect of tweeting fills you with dread, then don’t feel like you must be on Twitter. If your heart isn’t in it, you’ll find that your limited time is much better spent doing something that does flick your switches. Having your own business is meant to be fun, after all!
When you’re writing your action plan, here are some points to consider:
- be well-organised and do your research
- create a hitlist of different target publications/individuals within each chosen channel to approach (these should be written down, with the name of the appropriate contact to approach)
- write a great email/tweet to approach people with and get their attention
- make a note of who has been approached already, so you can follow up if you don’t hear back initially
- be prepared for what additional information and images they may need
- have a CALL-TO-ACTION. Getting featured in blogs and magazines is great, but if there’s no instruction for the reader to click-through to your online shop or information about a special offer/new range that you want them to look at and where to find it, then the coverage isn’t going to be as useful for you as it could be. For each bit of coverage received, think about the best call-to-action you can provide. This will depend on the type of channel, so do some research. Looking at what seems to work on that existing blog or in that magazine is the trick here (and trial and error is often your friend!).
At the end of your marketing campaign, find out what has worked and what hasn’t. You can do this by looking at the Google Analytics for your shop to see where visitors have come from, and which of the referrers has generated the best quality traffic for you – which visits have converted to sales and which referrer has sent through the most engaged traffic (based on length of their visit and number of pages visited). As a seller without unlimited time on your hands, analysing where your success has come from is essential, because it allows you to then spend your time on the most effective channels.
Featured image: Flower Stall Textile Collage by Inkybird