by Helena Kaufman
Artisan Ally continues on the marketing theme with this three part series on how to start, begin to manage and keep up with the contacts and plan that help you build a profitable business from the beauty and love you create.
In our last communication we looked at the opportunities stemming from going out to meet your market, live and interactive, where you meet, greet and sell over the days and hours of an event. Your sales there come from existing customers and the new ones who discover you. Some might have been referred to you.
Perhaps you manage to capture names and contact details of people? They’ve given you their cards, or they’ve signed up for your news or sale announcements. So now what?
Keep in touch! You’ll grow your business success by spinning those valuable exchanges of contact information into relationships. You develop and maintain a relationship through frequent contact. Even if you are far removed geographically as well as distanced from the inspiration or atmosphere of the original meeting venue, your aim is to meet these three goals for good communication:
1. Contact that is consistent
2. Messages that offer value
3. Planning for visibility in all market conditions
Happily, technology has made being in touch easy and economical for any size business. Small business especially finds great advantage in the low or no cost contact opportunities that keep you fresh in the minds of customers, suppliers and potential customers.
Did you know that 82% of people you’ve done business with will not remember you in 2 years? Your fortune and your future business lie in your follow up.
Let’s take a moment to look at mindset before we move on to your message and ways to get it out there and working for you.
As artists and designers, we are occupied with the process concept to creation of our work. Then there are the details of running our business. It can be overwhelming and we may be so busy that we forget to include others in the process. It may be of interest!
Technique, inspiration, materials or unique training help us stand out and be memorable as artists. As people in business, we want to be remembered. We want to have contact with our sphere of buyers and supporters. Activity outside of pure sales fuels a great deal of our success beyond the demand for the beauty or functionality of what we produce.
Your customers, collectors, associates, suppliers, and the media all want to hear what you are doing, what you are offering, and what you are planning. This is part of the relationship-building process. They’ll be receptive to your communication if you plan it as meaningful contact of interest to your readers. They’ll open your mail and continue to invite you into their time and space. Weaving together good communication with good content helps support both the business and artistic side of our efforts.
You may not be able to control how long they read your material, how often they open your mail or when they buy. What you can do is adapt some of the proven marketing and communication practices, used by successful creators of any product or design you can imagine. First, ask yourself, “What exactly do I want to say?”
Create Your Core Message
Again, your message should be in the service of your readers. By now you should have an idea of what you need to say about what you do, how you do it, the value your work offers and who is interested in it. Create a brief message about your work. What you need is to focus on a single core reason why customers should buy your product. Use this statement to relay, quickly and with confidence, when you are asked to explain your work verbally, or to give a written description. You can develop a few versions to match your product line and audience.
We’ve borrowed this concept of the ‘pitch’ or elevator speech from the film industry. It simply gets the core message, the minimum information needed to understand and appreciate your work, out in a compact form. Organize that, practice it and you will never be at a loss for a natural, correct and quality answer to the question, “What do you do?”
Send your questions, comments or columns suggestion for what you’d like to see on Artisan Ally via Jewelry By Design. Keep shining and polish your promotional IQ in Action (Intent and Quality in Action)
Helena Kaufman is a writer and communications trainer. In 1982, success at promoting, marketing and writing about 200 artisans launched Helena as an event publicist. The designers who sold at the Annual Manitoba Christmas Craft Sale exhibited original functional and decorative pieces in fibre, pottery, metal, oil, paper, wood, distinctive wearable art and more. Helena worked to raise their profile, bring media attention and increase their sales. She now shares some of that savvy in the Artisan Ally series. Helena’s writing and communications site can be found here.