Marketing 201

September 16, 2009

What’s the thing I spend the most time on? Not beading–marketing. It’s the “necessary evil” in this business. As a matter of fact, it’s necessary in almost every business. Reading through various artist sites, marketing appears as the most difficult chore. The issue is: it has to be done. But how? How to keep it effective and efficient? Here’s what works for me:

1. Set a dedicated time: Find a day and a block of time that you can dedicate to marketing/advertising. For me, Sunday evenings are best. I’m usually in the mood to research new places to advertise. During the week, I collect websites and community newspapers that often offer low cost (or sometimes free) spots. Sundays are for looking into prices, audience and frequency.  I spend no more than 1.5 hours. After that, it’s not focused, you’re just surfing.

2. Don’t be afraid to mail: An occassional local mailing is okay. Don’t spend thousands of dollars. One thing I learned from my days in direct mail is: target. If you have a specialty, try to target customers for it. For example, you make men’s gifts starting at $20. Your list should target households who spend at least $75+ on gift/men’s items. Or, just household that spend $75+ on gifts.  Going too broad creates the risk of your mailing ending up in the recycle bin.  Vistaprint has a reasonable mailing program. You upload the photo and wording, they pull the list, print, and do the mailing for you.  For my store, I mail twice a year, unless I have an appearance, then I’ll do a special mail drop for that.

3. Private customers: Nothing is more satisfying than seeing the customer love your work.  And the word of mouth ain’t bad either. My main customers are people who saw a piece of jewelry on me and bought it. Right off me, no bag or box. 🙂 Face to face sales are the number one way artisians work. Always put a card or two in the box/bag. Which leads me to:

4. Brands/Logos: It’s never too early to have a logo or store name. It’s easier tax wise to use your name (RMB are my intials–the taxman knows me as Rosalind Brinson), but it really doesn’t cost that much to do a DBA (Doing Business As) listing. Most of the forms you need are on line by state, and free.  Upon receiving my tax identification number, NY sent me a packet of helpful information.  If your earnings are less than a particular amount you may be able to file just once a year–but check with your state’s tax department.

Logos are personal, but they need to be professional. Choose colors wisely. You want something that stands out, but not garish. Again I found a very nice one at Vistaprint. (No this isn’t a commercial for them. 🙂 ) If you’re doing a show, get some stickers with your logo and put them on the bags, or if you can afford it, have bags pre-printed. Obviously business cards are a must. “About the Artist” postcards are a nice touch for shows, and donated art–which leads us to:

4. Charity Events: It’s great to donate to charity auctions. I consider it an honor when I’m asked. I always include business cards, and “About the Artist” cards to display with the piece.

These are just a few ideas. There are a ton of other ideas out there. The best is to find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to try different strategies. The most important thing is: Don’t give up.

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