Marketing your products or small business doesn’t have to be so overwhelming—with a bit of practice and a few learned lessons along the way, you’ll be feeling confident enough to share your passion with anyone.
But what does it mean to market your business?
Marketing is an essential part of all business and you’d be surprised at how much it plays into success in the long term. You’ve got to give your target market a reason to consider you in the first place and marketing helps get your message out. When your target consumer group becomes customers, marketing also helps to keep them updated on what’s new and trending.
Your engagements matter too. Whether it’s on social media or IRL doing event pop-ups or frequenting the shop(s) your products are available at, there are tons of ways to engage with your customers.
I help a few local businesses as a marketing consultant for newsletter subscriptions and social media marketing. This allows me to work alongside these businesses to grow their engaged customer base. I also sell physical goods and I keep an eye out for shops that align with my vision of where I imagine my products being available.
With classes taking much less of my time and attention now, I can focus on expanding my business and so I wanted to share a few things I keep in mind while marketing my business and products. Firstly, out of respect for their time, I recommend you call or email the shop owner ahead of time, so you know it is convenient for you to come in and have an in-depth conversation with them.
Take this as an opportunity for both businesses to grow, not just for your own. There’s a saying, “community over competition,” and I wholeheartedly stick to that mentality while scouting for potential business owners to introduce myself to. You should feel you could add value to their storefront as this is not simply an opportunity to push stock.
It will help you to have a clear understanding of your vision and to outline your expectations moving forward. If you know what you want before you start searching, it will be easier to see when it is in front of you.
It’s also important to understand that they may not feel as though your businesses align in the way that you do. If this is the case, don’t let this deter you from having other positive interactions with the business owner in the future. Not everyone is looking to take on new team members, new products, expansion, etc.
If that’s the case, use it as an opportunity to take inspiration from what you aligned with and continue refining your craft until you stumble across the next place that’s good for you.
If you are introducing your products, start with a bite-size set of items to make conceptualizing the brand easier for the other party. I wouldn’t recommend you walk in with armfuls of stock, but you can offer to show some product that you’ve brought along with you if your other conversation alludes to a good business connection.
When I share my handcrafted polymer earrings with local businesses, I stick to sharing one style rather than an entire collection as it could quickly become overwhelming with all the options. You want to be clear about what you have to offer and why you can see it fitting into their existing setup.
I don’t ask about the possibility of my products being sold somewhere if I don’t already feel a good connection with the owner of the shop. No number of sales could be worth the dissatisfaction of selling somewhere you don’t align with! There are too many better opportunities for you to choose to settle, so make sure you feel good about the future with that new connection.
One last thing to touch on is the excited nervousness that stems from anticipating a meeting to discuss your business. You’re making a simple introduction, but it feels like your life is on the line. Just be yourself instead of getting lost trying to come off as more professional. You both will be more comfortable if you go about it as a normal conversation rather than a formal interaction.
Take a breath and condense your thoughts before speaking. Take time to listen to what they’re saying and connect to it. You’re not looking to sell something right then, you’re both just getting a feel for what your businesses are about. Talk about what makes you passionate and don’t focus too much on sounding like you know what you’re talking about—It will come naturally.
If there’s a real connection you will both feel good about it after the first discussion, although there’s always something else to sort out later. Don’t feel bad about that—it’s overwhelming to try to lay out all the details at once. Give yourselves some time to think about things before you make a final decision.
Regardless of how things go, you can learn and grow from the act of putting your business out there. Not only is it a big step to actually reach out, but you’re likely to rethink your expectations when presented with the chance to tell them to someone else. It’s a good opportunity to really dig deep into what you see for yourself in the future and how you anticipate getting there.
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