Paula Hutchings of Marketing Vision has kindly put together her tips for building brand awareness on a budget. Over to Paula... For a small craft business with limited marketing funds, getting your message out there can seem like a pretty daunting prospect. You lovingly create beautiful products – now your task is to start building brand awareness and attracting customers. Online marketplaces are a brilliant way to promote your products to potential customers – but what else can you be doing to supplement this? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stretch your budget and create a buzz around your products without breaking the bank! We are sharing 5 simple, low-cost ideas to get you started:
Social media is a great way to create brand awareness for free. In addition to promoting your products, you can build relationships with your followers and fans, raise your profile and reinforce your credibility – all with a wide-reach. Remember to be authentic, consistent, interesting and helpful with your social media activity. Share information and knowledge, don’t just jump straight to the ‘sell’ of your products. It’s important to strike a balance between shouting about your products, and building a community around your brand. For maximum success (and minimal stress!), pick one or two platforms (those that are most relevant to your business) and do them well. And make use of a social media management tool like Hootsuite to help things run smoothly and efficiently.
As a unique craft business, the edge you have is you! People want to know about you, your products, your story and compelling reasons as to why they should buy from you. A well-written, well-managed blog provides the perfect platform to create and maintain a relationship with your target audience and establish a two-way communication. As a craft business you will have lots of content to share – beautiful product images, your latest product news, behind-the-scenes snapshots, customer reviews, short videos and much more. Your blogs don’t have to be lengthy - just remember to keep the content interesting and engaging for your target audience, and let your personality shine through.
Email marketing is a fantastic tool for small businesses. Low-cost (if not free), email marketing is targeted, measurable and highly versatile. From newsletters and business updates, to promoting special offers and carrying out market research – email is an incredibly flexible marketing channel. Carried out well, email marketing can be really effective – in fact, numerous studies show email to be a key marketing channel for delivering a high return on investment. And the brilliant part is you don’t have to be especially tech-savvy to do it yourself! Email marketing service providers like Mail Chimp have a great range of easy-to-create, flexible design options suitable for businesses of all sizes.
You want people to fall in love with your products and get them talking about you – right? Then you need to generate some PR coverage. To do this, you don’t have to hire the services of an expensive PR agency, but you do have to be bold! You can use a variety of tools and techniques to build relationships with your target audience through mainstream media. Information communicated via these channels has a much bigger impact than paid advertising because consumers consider it to be more trustworthy and meaningful. Think about how your target audience consume media and who their key influencers are. Shortlist and make contact with the relevant publications or key influencers. Be brave! Twitter can be a great way for you to make initial contact with busy journalists. Once you have made contact, why not send them a product sample (or image) accompanied by a punchy, informative press release? Be patient, and remember to follow up with potential leads.
Be sure to include a promotional postcard or flyer with every product order you send out. A simple glossy postcard is a great, low-cost marketing tool that allows you to let customers know more about you, your products and latest news. Remember to include your website address (if you have one) and contact/marketplace details. Offering customers a discount on their next order to encourage loyalty, or trialling a ‘refer a friend’ incentive can be really effective marketing techniques. Building a loyal customer base is a great way to build brand awareness - and it is of course, less expensive to keep customers than to try and get new ones!
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