Do you have a marketing plan for your craft business? I am not speaking of a business plan, which is a more formal lengthy manuscript used mostly when attempting to raise money from lenders or investors. Instead of a multi-page document, the marketing plan consists of seven sentences which guide your progress in the coming months and years. The seven sentence plan can be drafted on one or two pages.
1. What is your most desired result to be achieved from your marketing activities?
The first part of creating a marketing plan is envisioning what you want the success of your craft business to look and feel like. Start by writing down exactly what you want your craft business to accomplish and by when. If you want $5,000 in sales each month within the next six months, write that down. If you want to get 20 items listed on eBay in the next sixty days, that's a target. Go ahead and make that list right now.
2. What benefits does your work provide?
The second step is to list the benefits of your art or craft. What do people get by purchasing what you offer? Be careful not to focus on the features of your products. Features differ from benefits. For example, features of art and craftwork include dimensions, weight, colors or materials. Benefits to the buyer include escalating value, gratification, confidence, pride, good taste, and satisfaction from owning an original work by a reputable artist. Get specific and write down what makes the benefits of your items unique or different from other artists. What makes your items stand out? What's in it for the customer? The more benefits the better.
3. Who is your audience?
If you think it's everyone, guess again. Even if everyone is a potential customer, you can't possibly reach them all. The purpose of step three is to zero in on your target audiences, thus allowing you to carefully plan how to promote to their specific needs. Experienced artists selling their work already know that women are responsible for most purchases of handmade items. Creating marketing material that appeals to women then becomes a clear necessity. Get as specific as you can about identifying who is your most-likely-to-buy audience(s). Define them by age, sex, race, income, hobbies, purchasing habits, and any other demographic fact that helps you describe them completely.
4. What is your niche?
The most successful artists develop theme lines. World famous photographer, Anne Geddes specializes in photos of babies and pregnant mothers. Christian Riese Lassen is known for his pictures of dolphins and sea creatures. Being a big fish in a small pond is more profitable than getting lost in a large crowd. There are thousands of jewelers, woodworkers, and stained glass artists. Become known for your award-winning stained glass windows adorning historical homes or churches.
5. What are your marketing tactics?
What tactics will you use to reach your audience? Will you sell at craft fairs, at home parties, through stores, on eBay, to mail order catalogs, through licensing your designs, or by getting media coverage? Using an assortment of marketing tactics in combination works better than a single approach. List all of the tactics in a column on a sheet of paper. Prioritize your tactics by profitability and ease. You now have a list of the most useful marketing methods suitable for your crafts business.
6. What is your identity?
Take a look at how your business is defined. What is your identity? Please don't confuse image with identity. People in business want to project a favorable image, but it's crucial to present a true identity, one that reflects values that inspire confidence like the finest quality workmanship, honesty and reliability. People relate to genuineness. Your company name reflects your identity. Many artists wisely choose their given name as all or part of their business name because they know people trust other people.
7. How much will you spend on marketing?
How many craft artists do you know have a marketing budget? Probably very few. We know from the Craft Organizations Directors Organization survey that the average gross annual sales of craft artists is around $76,000 a year in sales. If your sales fit that survey, what percentage of your sales will you put into your marketing? If you know this number, you are already ahead of the competition, because most artists and craftspersons don't budget for marketing.
When you've created your 7-sentence marketing plan, schedule your tactics on a calendar so you have a timetable by which to mark your progress and create a sense of accountability.
Craft artisan, author, and business educator, James Dillehay specializes in helping craft persons improve their sales and marketing skills. For more info visit craftmarketer.com