Do you feel overwhelmed by marketing your creative business?
Most people who have a creative business are finding marketing hard. So unless you are already a complete wizard at Instagram and have built up an army of followers, you are probably feeling slightly overwhelmed. You are not alone. The problem is, in most cases, artists, makers and designers are focusing too much about how to promote their product. But instead of showing off just what you make, you should really turn it around, and put the spotlight on your client. Why? Your product photography may be amazing, but that client needs a bit more nurturing in order to part with their money. I’ll tell you how.
1. What’s their problem?
Your ideal client has a problem, and you can solve it for them. The ‘problem’ is a need, something they are looking for or need help with. And where will they be looking for help in most cases? The internet. If you get your keywords and key phrases right (check my blog post about SEO), they will hopefully find your website in the search results. Once on your website, your job is to convince them that you are the expert and can solve their problem. If your copy and marketing message is right, you have a much bigger chance of selling to them. Keep that in mind, in all of your marketing, online and offline, on your website, in emails and social media posts.
2. Choose a niche and become an authority in it
The most successful businesses have a niche. This is an area they are absolute experts in and famous for. Need a certain service or product? These are your guys! What would you type into google if you were looking for, say, unique handmade wedding invitations in your local area? You wouldn’t just type in ‘wedding invitations’, because you’ll end up with irrelevant results. I stead you would zoom into the niche of handmade, unique and local. So be specific in describing on your website what you make and for who, and use this in your keywords.
You may not immediately see yourself as someone specialised in a ‘niche’, but think about what you make and sell: you can probably define a certain niche you are in already. Don’t solve a hundred different problems for a hundred different clients. Focus on one or two things you do really well, which your ideal client will be looking for.
3. Work on your mindset
‘Solving a problem’, what could this mean for a creative business? What problem does an abstract painter or ceramicist solve? A cake decorator? A writer? I get it; talking in problems and solutions probably feels a bit alien to you. After all, you’re just creating something in your studio, and try to sell it to whoever wants it, right? You are, but if you consider yourself a business, and not just somebody who creates stuff for fun, you need to work on the mindset of a business owner if you want to make a decent income.
Making money is not something to feel embarrassed about! I know a lot of artists find marketing a dirty word. But if you want to have an income by doing what you love doing, instead of having to work a boring job on the side to make ends meet, it’s time to change. Fine tune your marketing message to attract the ideal client. Because that client will love you, and is willing to pay the highest price. If you solve their problem/need, you are worth money.
4. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades
Who do you serve? What is your subject? Your medium? Why do people mostly come to you? That is your niche. The product images are of course very important, but if your message is vague, you will lose out. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades; be clear about what you offer and to whom. A sound engineer may be specialised in a certain musical genre, a painter in contemporary family portraits, a clothes designer in zero waste garments for design conscious shoppers. Be precise and you will attract. All products have a specific audience looking for a ‘solution’. Ask yourself: what would this client type into Google? Make sure they find you.
5. Share your values and convince your ideal client
So now they know what you make and what problem you solve. But how do the clients know they can trust you? Next step in the thought process of a buyer is convincing them that you are the best place to be for their particular need.
To convince them, you have to share your values. Your values are the things you stand for, that you live and work by. Your passion, your ethics, your particular way of dealing with clients. Throw in some emotion also. How will it make them feel if they buy from you? You may be a great designer, but how do the clients know they will get what they want? You may be a yoga teacher, but how do people know they are assured of a well taught lesson by an experienced person? What makes you stand out from the competition? Those values will help to convince a customer to make that call.
Challenge for you!
Take a closer look at your website and especially your About page. Go through the text and try to read it from a client’s point of view. How are you describing:
- Your niche, or the problem of the client
- The solution you are offering to them
- The values that will convince them to buy from you