Handmade Marketing on a Budget

Today’s Crafty Business Advice Question comes from Ti of NomBieCraftz.

What is the best way to advertise on a budget?

Social networking is one of the best ways to market your shop, period. And it’s free!

Can You Hear Me Now Necklace by TheSpangledMaker

Okay, so as the saying goes, “Time is money”. So it’s not free-free, but the time invested in getting new Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Tumblr follows is worth it because you’re building a long-term relationship with potential customers. Traditional advertising flashes on the screen for 30 seconds, and then it’s gone.  That’s why the big companies have to play the stupid things so often.

So how do you best use a social network to market your shop? Check out my 6 Secrets to Twitter Success for a Handmade Business here. The same basic principles apply to any social network.

It’s also important to continue to build your following. If you have 600 Twitter fans, every time you share a link to your item, you’re only reaching those same 600 people. It’s just a simple fact that the more people you reach, the more potential for sales you’ll have.

Another great way to advertise on a budget is by doing giveaways. Again, it’s kinda free. You don’t pay money (or at least you shouldn’t have to… any blog wanting you to PAY to do a giveaway is shady, if you ask me), but you are offering up a free product, which is costing you the materials and the time to make it.

Be selective when choosing a site to do a giveaway with. One of the things you’ll get used to is people demanding free stuff. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has an AWESOME blog, PERFECT FOR YOUR ITEMS, and they’d just LOVE to giveaway one of your AMAZING items to their followers! It’ll be a BIG HIT! Or maybe they don’t have a blog but they’re doing a CHARITY AUCTION for KIDS WITH LEPROSY and isn’t this a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to get the word out about your AMAZING items and do something GREAT FOR KIDS all at the same time!

My personal rule is that unless I’ve heard of the site doing the giveaway or actually know the person, I don’t give freebies. There are too many people out there willing to take advantage. It might not even be intentional, but it’s still costing you something. Never forget that. A freebie isn’t free for you.

Rebel Yell ORIGINAL by NeverDieArt

Here’s a simple checklist you can use if you’re considering doing a giveaway with a blog/website you’re not familiar with:

  • Have they done giveaways in the past? What was the response like? I’d like to see that they’ve done lots of giveaways before mine. I’d also like to see a lot of response. If their last giveaway only go 10 entries, then it’s probably not worth it for you, because that generally means the site doesn’t get much traffic and/or the person running it isn’t promoting it. If you’re giving away freebies, then their side of the bargain is getting the word out!
  • How much response do non-giveaway posts/pages get? I like to see a regular stream of interaction on posts that aren’t giveaways. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but a few comments here and there show me that the site gets some amount of organic traffic. If they only really get comments on giveaways, then I wonder if their only source of traffic are the freebie/giveaway junkies that run around entering every giveaway on the net, never bothering to look at what they’re even trying to win. Part of the appeal of a giveaway is exposure to your key demographic and freebie junkies aren’t part of it.
  • Do they have a following on Twitter and/or Facebook? Again, this speaks to their commitment to promoting their site. I’d want to see a Facebook page or a Twitter account with significant followings (at least 1,000 on Facebook and at least 3,000 on Twitter)
  • Are they asking you to pay to do the giveaway or give them a freebie in addition to the giveaway prize? This is an automatic deal-killer for me.

People often get overwhelmed by the idea that they’ll never be done with marketing, but that’s the nature of running any business. We’re like sharks. We have to keep swimming, or we die. To make it easier, set small goals for yourself. If you make it a point to get 10 new Twitter followers a day, by the end of the year, you’ll have gained 3,650 followers! If you get 100 new Facebook likes on your fanpage per week, that’s 5200 new fans for your page in a year! That’s thousands more potential buyers for your shop. They won’t all buy, but again, that’s the nature of running any business.

Happy crafting!


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