Editor’s note: Today I have a special guest post from Tara Swiger, one of our awesome Guide to Businessy Goodness advertisers. Tara just had her first book, Market Yourself, published & it is a perfect fit for us! I’ll be reviewing the book when I get my hands on a straight off the press copy, and I asked Tara to visit and share her businessy goodness wisdom + co-host tomorrow’s #OMHG chat. I know marketing ourselves is something we almost all struggle with (myself included). Thank you for sharing this with us Tara!
Running a succesful handmade business is full of questions + decisions (no matter what your definition of success is!). Where should you sell your goods? How do you talk about it? After you’ve got everything set up (shop, a few sales, good photos)…what do you do next?
Six years ago I started my own handmade business, and three years later I quit my dayjob to do it full-time. And whoosh! Just like that, I started getting a flood of those questions: How did you do it? What do I do next? I’ve been answering those questions (by asking more questions!) for the last two-ish years and I’ve learned one thing: everything comes down to marketing.
Marketing = sharing your handmade goodness with the people who will love it.
And after the initial set-up of your shop, nearly all your questions come back to that – how do you get your gloriousness into the hands and minds of people who want it? Price, retail vs wholesale, writing copy, taking photos, ordering business cards (glossy or matte? This picture or that?) all comes down to marketing questions.
So I spent the last two years thinking about, writing about and digging into the marketing of many, many handmade businesses. And I came up with a little equation for answering nearly every question you have.
Your awesomeness + your people = your smart, effective, non-icky marketing
If you’re ultra-clear on what your awesomeness and what your people want, and where those two things meet up, you’ll know what to do.
Let’s look at it a little bit closer:
1. Your awesomeness – the thing that makes what you make extra-special. This is your vision, your color sense, and your attitude. It’s your words, your photos, your designs. This spark of you-ness separates your thing from all the other things kinda like it. When you can talk clearly about this and share it with others, half your marketing is done.
2. Your people – the people who will love your thing when they find it. These are your buyers, your celebrators, your friends. It’s their language, their favorite colors, their wants, needs. If you know where they are and what they want from your thing, the second half of your marketing is done!
When you combine these two things, you can make all kinds of decisions – from your price to the places you sell your goodness, from the craft shows you attend to the labels you use.
Most of the crafters I work with know one more than the other. Some spend all their time thinking about what makes their goodness so good, that they forget what their people love about it (and if you don’t speak their language,they won’t know it’s for them!). Others think so much about what people will buy, that they forget to add their own spark (making lifeless, middle of the road stuff).
What part of the equation are you comfortable with?
What part needs help?
Tara Swiger is a writer, maker, and Starship Captain. You can get clear on your marketing equation and see how it fits into an easy system of marketing in her new book Market Yourself: A Marketing System for Smart and Creative Businesses. Ask Tara your marketing questions in this weeks #ohmg Twitter chat, on April 27, at 1pm EST
Brilliant post Tara! Thanks so much. I struggle to know exactly who my people are = other than people like me!! But I think I’ve got the other part down – I can’t help but love what I create!
Thanks Miss Cupcake!
When you think about your people start with this question: Who wants/needs what you sell? What do they use it for?
Or if that’s too fuzzy, how about this:
If you were buying your thing to give to someone, who would you give it to? Why? THAT is your person!
So wonderfully stated. I tell clients that ‘being you’ is the first thing that sets them apart from people with similar goodness. People buy based on emotions and a sense of connection, that’s why being your awesome self is so important.
Thanks for sharing, Tara!
Oh I love this so much and I can’t wait for the chat tomorrow!! It is so true that once you get everything else done you can’t just sit back and wait for people to find you! I know why I’m awesome and what I *think* sets my goodness apart from others but I need help finding my people! This is a great post! 🙂 Lots to think about!
You have in one blog post, simplified the the incredibly complicated task of how to market your product. I read this and had a “Eureka” moment, of course, that it! I knew it all along, just somehow didn’t occur to me.
Many thanks for sharing your insight!
So very TRUE! I recently stumbled upon my AWESOMENESS and it has been an exciting discovery process – NOW I’m discovering the people! It is such an amazing adventure that we are all on together!!! It was super duper cupcake exciting meeting you through your guest post!
Can’t WAIT to read the book 🙂
Hello Tara, I really like your comment above “If you were buying your thing to give to someone, who would you give it to? Why? THAT is your person!”
I find this part so difficult. It’s as though I am trying to mould myself to please everyone ! Will see if I can get to your Twitter chat. Ipm EST, I’ll go and check out what time that is in Australia. Oh dear looks like 3am!
Hooray for non-icky marketing!
Sometimes I struggle more with my awesomeness (like when I was going through my divorce). Other times I need to check in more with my peeps. I believe the key to the best marketing is knowing your audience.
Can’t wait to read your book, Tara! Yay!
Debbie – I’m so glad to hear it!
We love your blog! You have great comments. My daughter and I are a duo blogging team. You have given us some really handy ideas. Thanks for sharing…. *!*
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