Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting A Jump Start on 2011- Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

After an entire week since the 2010 holiday rush, I am beginning to miss the hustle and bustle. Most of all I am missing the sales that seemed to greet me in the morning that were more then I have seen all year. Now is the time to begin to think about your 2011 market plans. If you are stumped for ideas on how to get customers to you with little cash to spend- read on!

11. Create free items or samples
Creating free items or samples for your websites and shops are a great inexpensive way to allow new customers to get to know your products or services. It doesn't have to really be just a product, but also could be a free service or a free trial. For every customer that makes a purchase, I do include a cute little sample that includes a cello sealed bag that includes my business card, some stickers from Japan (so cute) and one of the following a free pendant, sushi magnet or a bracelet. These work for my Jade Dumpling shop on Etsy, but it is really easy to come up with an inexpensive themed give-a-way. Most of the feedback I have gotten in 2010 was about the free stuff and how much they enjoyed. It had even gotten me a few really good repeat customers!

12. Send out your products for review
Similar to sending out free samples of your work only this is a slightly different tack. Here once you have developed a new product line, try sending it out to a few of your best customers, bloggers, and people you know as a sample. The trick for this is to send along with the sample a short questionnaire for them to fill out to give you more feedback than is normally given during a purchase. This allows you to work out any bugs, adjust pricing and other critical things before listing on your Etsy shop or websites. This works best for those who have incorporated production work into their studio time. Etsean's that sell one of a kind (OOAK) items might not want to try this one!

13. Get decals printed and place them on cars and other noticeable places
Now you can go online to many print companies and even on Etsy and find decals, bumper stickers and other fun items. People love to decorate their cars- and then they turn into moving bill boards for you. Since they are cheap to have done there is little investment needed. They even have special sticker paper packs you can buy at most office supply shops to print the bumper stickers and decals on your home printer! This is a great thing to include in your box as you ship out items to your customers.

14. Send Promotional Items with orders
Again, here the idea is much like the pens or stickers - keep your mind open to new and fun ways to get you logo and name and brand with the customer. You can find magnets, pinback buttons, pocket mirrors, stuffed animals, wine glasses, seeds, stress balls. Definitely check Etsy because many sellers will make custom promotional items specifically for your shop!  Whatever you can dream of- trust me someone is selling it and can put your logo on it. When sending out promotional items I suggest you tie it into a sale or promotion that you have running. For example- since we just ended the holiday season let's imagine that you had a Christmas sale and everything was 20% off- put that info on your shop, website, blog and then also say that each order will get a free ornament. The ornament can just have something like Happy Holidays from the Jade Dumpling and on the bottom 2010. If it is cute, they will hang it on their tree and pack it up with the rest of their ornaments and next year... when they unpack-- well they are reminded of the gift, their purchase and how much their friends liked the gifts they bought from you! (and order again!)

15. Press Releases
All towns and cities are different. What is news in my town may never get any coverage in yours. Contact your local newspapers, go through them for several weeks reading cover to cover and find out what is news to them. Most newspapers are more than happy to get story ideas from local business men and women. Be sure to ask the editors how they want the information sent to them. Some of the easiest ways to get a news story written about you is to participate in your community. Do something to help others, donate part of your proceeds to a local charity, teach art classes at the local high school or go in and talk about running a business or being an artist. It doesn't matter if you have 100 employees or one or it is just you- it is the job of the business to go out and seek publicity. I suggest searching online for press release template forms. I have found many over the years for free!

These five marketing tips are still just the start! We have many more to go through before the end of January! Try to brainstorm now on your own for half an hour. What ideas can you think of to let your customers know you are out there? Have fun and look for the next post in a few short days!

To read Part 3 of this post, click here.

Posted by Susan of the Alla Prima Art Mall. Owner of Jade Dumpling on Etsy, The Garden District on Etsy, and Global Jewelry Bazaar on Etsy.  Susan has an MBA and is an instructor in both art and business where she teaches marketing, SEO & SEM, and other small business classes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments- we appreciate them!