Promoting Your Business

Image courtesy of PromosInASnap
It's one of the more tedious aspects of running your own business. We as artists/small business owners have to be incredibly multi-talented. We are our own boss (yay for that), the artist, photographer, shipping & packaging extraordinaires, customer service reps, and (of course) we are our very own Marketing Team.
With all the things we are supposed to be doing to make our business prosper, such as relisting, renewing often, and listing fresh items on a regular basis, it's difficult to pull yourself away from creating to actually DO the promoting. So, I'm probably not the first one to admit that I've skimped on promoting my business in the "real world" instead of just working the Etsy forums.
I did a little experiment. I live in an apartment complex, and I can see the community mail boxes from my patio. Above the mail boxes is a nice little wooden beam that runs the length of the mail box structure. I decided to attach 6 business cards to this beam with tape just to see how long it would take for them to dissappear. I figured, everybody in the apartment complex will eventually have to check their mail, so I can get my name out there to hundreds (yep, it's a big apartment complex) of people at one time.
It took 2 days for all 6 business cards to vanish. After only 24 hours of taping the business cards up, I made a 7 item sale to a brand new Etsian from my apartment complex! They signed up that day JUST to purchase from me! What an awesome feeling, and how freakin easy, right?
So, here are some easy ways you can promote your business outside of the Etsy:
  1. Do what I did. If you live in an apartment complex try attaching your business cards to a community message board or even ask your front office staff if you could display your business cards in the front office.
  2. Leave a tip. When you go out to eat, leave your business card along with your tip. Also, some restaurants have "fish bowls" for business cards along with some sort of "Win lunch for your company" special. Always drop your card in there.
  3. Pay bills. When you pay your monthly bills, stick a little business card in along with your payment! It may seem odd, but I've known sellers who have done this with success.
  4. Share. Give what you create as gifts to friends and family (if this is feasable) and give them a stack of business cards to hand out to people who ask about your product. I always do this for my friends and family, so when they get compliments on their jewelry they hand out one of my business cards.
  5. Craigslist. Put an add up on Craigslist. I recently made a sale within 24 hours of posting an advertisement on this website to a local customer.
  6. Make friends. Fellow artists are a wonderful resource. Make friends and connections and swap business cards. There are a handful of fellow Etsy sellers who hand out my business cards with their orders, and I do the same.
  7. The Golden Rule- always always always carry your business cards with you. You never know who you might bump into and what new opportunities await you! Even if you *assume* (which you never ever should, I learned this the hard way while working in a department store) that your pediatrician won't be interested in your shop, give them a business card anyway. I recently went to see an Endocrinologist and found out that HE shopped on Etsy! I never ever would have guessed it!

The bottom line is, a large part of finding success and building a business is directly related to how much time and effort you put into promoting it. You just cannot put things in your shop, sit back, and wait for the customers to come to you. Sometimes promoting requires you to step out of your comfort zone and talking to strangers, but give it a try for just one week and I promise you will see a difference.

Got more creative tips and suggestions? Let me know, and I will add them to the list!


neoinileias said...

you have interesting blog

sugar panda said...

Thank you! =3

Amber Rose said...

Yeah, very interesting!

Great tip, thanks for sharing! :)

Damselle Jewelry said...

great ideas! Starting a business Fanpage for Damselle Jewelry on Facebook has been successful for me as well. You can check out the link and some other good promoting ideas on my blog.

Tizzalicious said...

Thanks for all the great tips!

jessicajane said...

nice post, that is really cool about your sale to a neighbor!! although, i could do this, but my single, (30 something ish) electrician of a neighbor prob wont want any of my jewelry. Hahaha.

Stelie Designs said...

So true about owning your own business! We are everything not just designers/creators. Great suggestions! I LOVE your stuff and will be ordering from you in the future.

1000app said...

Great ideas Sugar. For all your readers who want to get some cards printed, they can get 250 free http://bizcard.com . Anyone who wants to go further can use the code LVTS2008 and save $$.

Aylin said...

I love your blog, it really stands out. Those are some awesome tips!! <3