Let’s face it, all of us are in business to make money, one way or another. Until we realise that we need to have a marketing strategy in place, in whatever form that takes, we will consistently flounder from one thing to the next wondering why nothing seems to work.
Marketing always sounds professional and kinda scary. But it doesn’t need to be. Just think, if you don’t do it, how will anyone know about your fantastic products?
Marketing also feels like it is something that you can put off. It’s better to get the product right and then you can market it. In reality, you should be marketing from day -1. That’s right even before you have a product!
There is an old saying (actually I’ve no idea whether it is a saying but I read it somewhere) that only 25% of your time should be spent on product development. The rest should be spent on marketing! Can you honestly say you spend that much time on marketing? I know I don’t.
Only doing minimal marketing results in no one knowing about your business. And if no one knows about what you do and how great it is, how will you make sales.
What is marketing
Marketing doesn’t need to be complicated. It is just a means about telling people about what you have to offer. This could be as straightforward as putting flyers on your stand at craft fairs. But could include taking out Facebook ads, sending emails to people you have contact with or to putting up videos on youtube.
Essentially, marketing is the mechanism you use to communicate with potential customers. What that mechanism is and how complex you make the communication is up to you.
Your route to creating that communication with your perfect customer is called a Marketing Channel.
Deciding on what marketing channels you choose to use will be specific to you and your business. But making sure you use them effectively is vital.
What is a Marketing Channel
There are so many marketing channels to choose from that it can be overwhelming. It is often best to pick one or two and do them well, rather than trying to do them all and not doing a great job at any.
Here is a list of some marketing channel suggestions. It is by no means complete.
Content – This includes content such as blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.
Direct – This includes Chat, direct mail, word of mouth, affiliates, etc.
Email – This includes opt-in incentives, sales emails, newsletters, email signature, etc.
Events – This includes craft fairs (in person or online), giveaways, parties, etc.
In-Person – This includes loyalty cards, QR Codes, Signage, networking, etc.
Paid – This includes any paid adverts, both online or offline.
Partner – This includes joint venture or collaborations.
Place (not your primary selling place) – This includes market places, directories, website, outlets, etc.
PR (public relations) – This includes media releases, PR stunts, guest features, gift guides, etc.
Search – This includes anything linked to search engine optimisation for the chosen platform or market place.
Social – This includes all the usual suspects of Instagram, Facebook, plus anywhere else where your perfect customer might hang out.
I found a useful list here to give you more details of marketing channels and how to use them.
Evaluate your current marketing strategy
Once you know what some of the marketing channels are, it’s time to sit down and work out what you will focus on and what you want to achieve.
- Go through the list of marketing channels above, and work out what channels you currently use or could use in the future.
- For all of the channels you use, note why you have decided to use it, how often you use it, and the outcome.
- For all of the channels you are interested, note whether you enjoy/ could improve/ do more of/ want to do less of/ want to start doing.
- With a buyers’ hat on, try and search for products similar to what you sell. Where do you go to search? What do you use to search? What are the results? Do you pop up in your search? You are not necessarily looking for your products, but if you find them, it shows your current marketing is working!
These tasks will give you an idea of what marketing you are currently doing and what you could do to improve your marketing. It will also help identify your current marketing strengths and weaknesses and where your competition is. It may also give you an insight into new areas that you hadn’t thought of before.
Create your marketing strategy
With the results from the 4 steps above, sit down and start planning your marketing strategy.
Firstly decide on what your primary selling platform is going to be. All marketing you do should ultimately be directing your customer to this selling platform. If you send them to anywhere else, you are diluting your efforts. This may be your Etsy shop or your own website (or some other platform) but should not be both.
Next, decide on your primary marketing channel. This is the channel you will be working on most of the time. Something that you will be doing or thinking about daily. This could be creating pins, youtube videos or blog posts. Basically, it is where you will spend most of your effort. Content created in this channel should direct the audience to your primary selling platform.
Finally, decide on up to 4 supporting channels that you want to take advantage of. These are additioanl marketing channels that you will use to direct your audience to your primary selling platform and/or primary marketing channel. They will act as a supporting channel, but they will not be something that you spend a lot of time on.
For example, suppose your primary selling platform is your website and your primary marketing channel is Youtube. In this case, you may also be using Pinterest, Instagram, and email to direct your audience to your YouTube channel and/or website. Most of your effort will creating videos that directs the audience to your website. Yet, you will still spend some time on doing a few Instagram posts and Pins. These should take a small proprotion of your time.
This will enable you to make sure you can create good quality content in your primary channel without spreading yourself too thin or producing low-quality content everywhere.
What marketing channels do you find works best for you?