Since American Craft Endeavors is taking a little break from the craft festival circuit until September, when we will be at the Downtown Venice Craft Festival, we thought you might find it useful to use this time between shows to review your marketing strategy. Do you have all of the tools you need to market your craft business properly?
Today’s vast online resources make it easier than ever to market your craft business to the right audience. In addition to social media, online stores are making a huge splash and payment apps are making it easy for businesses to accept credit cards for payment. The key is to maximize exposure of your product by utilizing these tools to connect with customers and spread the word about your business.
Having a well-rounded online presence is everything when it comes to successfully marketing your craft business. Create a checklist that includes the following essential online marketing tools for your business:
- A great website. Your website is your online home and a 24/7 brochure. That’s where your customers will get to know you, your product and how to get it. The key to a successful website is great branding — that is, the image that makes you unforgettable in your customers’ eyes. A great logo, consistent color scheme and design throughout the website and your other online materials are, of course, essential parts of proper branding. In addition to that, however, the tone and feel of your website is just as important, if not more important, than the rest. After all, this online space represents your business, but it also represents you. What image do you want to portray? You can go with an online website creator like Weebly for a simple, no-fuss way to create a site. But you can also hire a professional web designer to come up with a concept that fits your business. One website that incorporates everything you need in one space is Amy Wiley’s Ozona Treasures website. Another one of our favorite websites is Nina Maldonado’s Sugar and Oats.
- An online store. Having an online store gives your customers the ability to access your crafts at any time, no matter where they are in the world. That way, if they missed you at the last craft show, they can still purchase your beautiful pieces online. Some website design sites, such as Weebly and WordPress, give you the option to add an online store to your site as part of the design package. If you hire a professional to create your website, they can integrate an online store into the website as well. But if you prefer to be more hands-on, or you would rather have just the online store to worry about, Etsy is by far the best and most popular online store presence you can get. Queen Bee Creative Company, run by jeweler Mandie Cornwell, is a nice example of what a fully functioning Etsy store looks like. Check out Melanie Cech‘s beautiful site, featuring an online store with easy checkout.
- A social media presence. One of the most vital aspects of developing an online presence today is being part of the social media revolution. Getting people to comment and share your posts is how you grow your following. The key is finding your niche and what you’re comfortable with. Some people love doing all of the social media stuff, from Facebook to Pinterest. Others prefer to keep things simple, so they just have a Facebook business page. As long as the branding remains consistent across social media and your website, you should be just fine. But the most important part of social media is the “social” part — this is your way of communicating directly with your audience and talking one on one with customers and potential customers. So be sure you take time at least once a day to post relevant and useful content to your social media sites in order to keep your audiences engaged. Ashley Brown’s Collision Creations Facebook page is a wonderful example of consistent, creative posting that keeps customers engaged.
- Newsletters and email communications. Sending out a newsletter is a great way to keep your customers abreast of what’s happening with your business and how they can remain in communication with you. It reminds your customers to think of you and gives them an opportunity to feel like they are part of your business family. The great news is that you don’t need to be a designer to have a great newsletter. Online apps like MailChimp allow you to create beautiful, interesting newsletters easily, and you can keep your mailing list together in one place. To sign up for ACE’s newsletter, go here.
As we approach our first fall craft festival in September, it’s important to ensure that your craft business has as much exposure as possible. Take some time now to make the most of your online presence. Build momentum about your work and maximize sales when the time comes for you to be with patrons at the shows. Stay tuned to our Facebook page as well as to this blog and our website for information on how to participate. Find out where we will be in the near future and join us at a craft festival!