Monday, July 6, 2009

This week's topic...Publicity

Yes, this goes hand in hand with signage, but I wanted to cover a few other options as well.

· Business Cards: Every item that is sold at your booth should have your name, business name (if you use one), and contact information on it. The simplest way to do this is with a business card. Be sure to place one in every purchase. Have them available in your booth for customers to pick up also. You can order business cards easily at local office supply stores and printers or you can order them on line. They don’t have to be expensive; in fact, there are several on-line websites that offer them for free in smaller amounts (+/-250) and all you have to pay is shipping. Vista Print is the one I use and have been very pleased. If you ‘google’ “free business cards” you’ll find many websites to choose from. Every website has hundreds of designs to choose from. One company even has a smaller card they call ‘moo’ cards. These would even make good tags.
· Postcards: These are great if you are doing several events. You can list your schedule of where customers can find you and your products. Mail them to your customers if you have a mailing list. I’m always excited when I get one in the mail for a craft show. It goes right on the fridge so I don’t forget. Hand them out at shows also to pick up new customers. Just be sure to include all your contact information on them as well. These work great for sales, promotions, open houses, parties, etc.
· Flyers: Often with the same information as a postcard. I normally have a list of where customers can find me next. You may want to add a coupon to the flyer on a future purchase. This will also help see how well they work.
· Magnets: Yup, you can have your business card made into a magnet. Maybe you want to create a cute little promo item with your contact information to hand out to customers. People keep these things.
· Pens and Pencils: How many times have you gotten a pen with business information imprinted on it? I think I have 3 in my purse right now. One of them is mine. These are great, inexpensive gift items to hand out to your customers as a thank you. Leave one at the doctors’ office, supermarket, etc when you fill our forms and checks. Google sites to have them printed, there are many to choose from.
· Calendars: Another great item to print your contact information on. Customers will see it all year.
· Vehicle Signage: Today, it is so much easier to obtain vinyl lettering for your vehicle windows than ever before. Home based businesses with websites make it quick and convenient to order on the web. Etsy and EBay have many to choose from. It is easily applied and removable. Another option is magnets that stick to the door. Again, these are available at sign/printing shops and on the web. These may be a better option for you since you can pull them off at a moments notice. Painted signage can also be applied by a professional. Which ever method you choose to use, keep the information short and simple: Name, phone, website, a very brief description if needed, and your logo is you use one.
· Websites: Basically there are two different types; one that provides information only and the other that offers products for sale. If you are creating items to sell then the second one is yours. You may want to consider Etsy, Artfire, Crobbies, ShopHandmade, etc. to get started. There are many of these selling sites where you can list your items for sale. You set up your own little site within their site. They are easy to operate and inexpensive. All have links to contact you directly. Customers can purchase 24 hours a day and an email will come to you with the sale inform. You may also want to have your own website. One can be built for you or you may opt to build it yourself. The second is much less expensive and you can change your photos and information yourself or have someone do it for you.
· Blogs: These are kinda mini sites if you choose them to be. Most of them are personal journals of some sort. Most creative people I know use them to promote themselves, get their items on the web and direct customers to their selling sites. It’s a great way to keep your friends and customers updated on the latest project or event in your life. I love blogs. You can visit mine at Blogspot, Blogger, Typepad and Wordpress are all very popular places to create your blog.
· Twitter: It’s all the rage at the moment. It’s basically a few short blog. Just a sentence or two. (Updated my blog. for example). You can follow someone on Twitter just like you can on a blog. It can be a great way to stay in contact with your customers. You can access Twitter via you computer and cell phone (if you have internet on it).
· Facebook: This is another way to share your new products, activities, photos and events as well as your personal life. Many businesses are now using it to help promote themselves. You can even create a fan page. You can also have separate accounts for your personal and business activities.
· Word of Mouth: This is almost always the best way to advertise because most of it will come from your customers. A third party talking about your product, service, and you can be far more influential than if you tried to do it yourself.
· Free Product: This is another way to promote yourself and your product. A simple little gift item with each sale, of course with your contact information, is a wonderful way to get your name out. I’ve used a mint matchbook for the last couple of years. I put them in each purchase and also place a small basket of them in my booth for potential customers to take. It has started many conversations and made sales as well.
· Raffle Item: If you want to build your mailing list you may want to offer a raffle drawing for a larger item of yours. Just be sure to keep that item separate from your sale items. Maybe place it behind your check out area. Print out a sheet that can be cut up into separate tickets that customers can write down their information. Be sure to get their phone and email information as well as a mailing address to you can reach the winner and build both your mailing list and your email list.
· Evite: If you have an email list of your customer base consider using Evite. It’s a basically a postcard you email to your customers to notify them of your shows, partys, open houses, events. etc.
· Email Blast: Send your family, friends, and customers a quick update if you have something going on they might want to attend. Just be careful not to SPAM your customers. You want them to be curious and excited to get email from you.

Ideas for publicity are almost endless. If you have more ideas, post them in the comment area if you'd like to share.


Julie - On the Dot Creations said...

Some great suggestions here! Thanks for sharing!

Another way to publicize your online shop is to sponsor a giveaway. You can read some tips here:

Uptown Girls Too Boutique said...

I really enjoyed your blog and all the great ideas for businesses.

Up in the Night Scrapbooking Kits said...

WOW! Great Ideas! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


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