Good ways to reach brides?
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I'm looking to finally go on the offensive and start to market my business. Are there any cool tips or suggestions anyone has found really helpful?
I'm trying to stay on top of being active in my favorite blogs (I really don't have the time to start one of my own and there are so many good ones out there that I find it a challenge to stay up to date), I renew 2-3 listings a day, and I'm considering advertising (a little nervous about laying down a big, to me anyway, chunk of cash but I'm looking at it as an investment).
Any other good ways? Have bridal fairs turned out well for anyone? They're a little pricey in my area so I'll have to work up the courage to give one a try.
Any input is appreciated :)
Posted at 6:39 pm Aug 10, 2011 EDT
A few thoughts... Don't renew your listings... I am assuming that you are doing this to put them back at the top, but for one, etsy doesn't do things that way anymore, and two, if you simply edit the listing it does the same thing. You don't actually have to change a thing, just pick a listing, hit edit and then hit publish again and it will put it in the "just listed" bar and make it more relevant. As far as I remember, when you renew, you get charged again. I read that someplace ages ago and did it that way for awhile but then realized that editing has the same effect.
When you visit blogs that are wedding related, there are a few thoughts, make sure that the blog you are visiting is your demographic. Not all wedding blogs are read by the same audience. So read through the comments and try to figure out what age, income level, priority drive the readers have... and COMMENT! Make sure that your comments are interesting enough that the people who read them think, "oh, hey that girl seems cool, I will go and check out her stuff!" Don't just say "Great post!" People are so starved for personal connections now that they will develop a "relationship" with you if you give them the chance and nine times out of ten that will be what makes the sale.
If you think your bridal fair is worth the coin, go for it, but I would be surprised if you get enough from it. If you do, make sure that they make their attendees list available (find this out before signing up) to you and follow up on it. There are two reasons... one, if they aren't making a list, they aren't very organized... the contact list is one of the key reasons to produce a bridal fair. The list should have the date the bride is getting married at as well as her contact info. USE THIS! Reason number two: That's why she gave it to the door people... make a ten percent off offer or something along those lines and follow up. MOST brides don't bother spending or committing on the day of the fair, and if they lose YOUR contact info or didn't get a chance to really see what you have on offer, or connect with you, you are missing the chance of doing business with them. You have to remember that they are on the verge of insanity leading up to the wedding, so if you contact them in a helpful manner, and keep it personal and not gimmicky, you could close a sale you wouldn't have otherwise.
If you do the fair, have somebody who knows your product well and is enthusiastic to help you out. You WILL get burn out if it is over a whole weekend which most are. If you are less than thrilled at being there, it will come across and you will want to take breaks. Don't eat or do not related things at your booth... and make sure that your booth is the best and most interesting set up you can possibly manage. Have your coolest friends critique it... DON"T BE BORING. Everyone else there will have a white table cloth with pamphlets all over it and a very basic uninteresting set up. WOW the crowd. If people are looking at booth after booth, after five or so they will start to skip over anyone they don't actually intend to seek out. So get their attention before they even know what your product is. Look up ideas online, flickr has some good setup ideas... and set it up a few times at home to make sure that the ideas work and look great.
ALSO: DON"T IGNORE THE BRIDESMAIDS!!! This is possibly the worst mistake people make... focusing on the bride and ignoring her friends. These girls are next in line! If you make a good impression, they may be your next customers... also, they will have a really big say in the brides decisions... and while the bride won't be as easily sold because everyone is catering to her and trying to win her over, the bridesmaids (at least one of the girls in the group is a BM) will be bored and tired of the attention the bride is getting. Include them and you will be rewarded.
Having said ALL of that, what I usually say is that it is sometimes more worthwhile to just visit the show yourself armed with your cards and some samples. You won't be allowed to market yourself mind you, so you have to be aware, but that's guerrilla marketing at its best. If you haven't been to one in your area there are two reasons to do this. One is that you have a good chance of wasting money if you haven't been before and you don't know what the scene of that particular show is. Best to go and scout for the first year, then be ready for the second. The second is that you won't be stuck behind your table... if you are stuck with tables that are not drawing attention and people are skipping over your area, you can't leave (unless of course you are tag teaming with your helper) and sometimes the best way to make sales is just to walk around, listen to what brides are discussing with other vendors and then get into discussions with them... there is nothing wrong with handing your card out to people, but making sales is usually not allowed. Look in the rules... it usually depends on how big the show is as to how strict they are about that.
If it is the kind of show where you are selling product at the table, make sure you have more than you think you will need, always have a full display. Take notes on brides you really connect with so you can start your follow up with "so how did that dress fitting work out for you?" or something that shows them that you were paying attention to your conversation with her. Personal, personal, personal!!!
The last word on shows is actually good to think about for anyone starting to market themselves. Fusion marketing is the act of joining forces with somebody whose product complements yours in some way. If you are able to find somebody with whom you can share a table, it cuts all of your costs in half and you don't have to find a helper if you don't want or have one. If you are doing any marketing at all this can help. What I posted above about the photo shoot is fusion marketing. For the cost of shipping samples of product out, you get the cost of a professional photographer covered, you ride the coat tails of all the other products (somebody who is looking at the post for table setting ideas will also happen to find your product) and you don't have to worry about the cost or trouble of an "ad". People tend to overlook ads in favour of a write up. It is less biased and they feel that they are getting more of an honest feel for the product. Also they can see how the product works with other products. So if you find people in your area who are looking for the same demographic, team up with them and work together to find a way to join forces. It's usually a win win win situation :)
Hope some of that (phew!) helps :) Let me know if you have any other thoughts or questions... I recently found an excellent article on how to use some pretty interesting means to market things that I got a lot out of (re tweeting and such) but I bookmarked it on the old (read: dead) computer... so I will try to find it again and post it here. The other thing you might want to do is to look up Tara Gentile. She has about a zillion things on the go and at least a few blogs that are related to crafty entrepreneurs and she is AMAZING! Here is one of her current ventures:
but she has at least one that will really resonate with you. She also is connected and linked to other very valuable sources... spend some time checking her and the others out and you WILL find a direction! Super awesome info...
I would love it if you would share here what you try and how it works out! Cheers!
Posted at 4:10 pm Aug 23, 2011 EDT
Oh yes... and ALWAYS carry business cards. I suck at this... but you never know where your next sale will come from. Make them fun and pretty too... I don't know if you have checked out MOO, but they are super brilliant and the cards are amazing quality (they have eco options that look amazing) and really pretty designs. You can choose to use one of their zillion designs or upload your own artwork or photo... and crazy inexpensive. I think your first order is free... just pay for shipping? It's been awhile. They come in adorable little box as well to carry them around it so they don't get smushed. AND they have tons of other products you can branch out with if you get a need for them.... personalized stickers and labels, post cards, etc... some great ideas on their site too.. using cards as a lookbook for your product for example... check them out!
Posted at 4:16 pm Aug 23, 2011 EDT
My pleasure! I love sharing what I have learned... I've been doing it long enough, what's the use of knowing stuff if you can't pass it along, right? I am happy to answer any questions for sure! Let me know what your experiences are if you try out any of these things!
Posted at 1:10 am Dec 31, 2011 EST