Hello all, these last few weeks I have been spending time on my business marketing and am now the proud owner of some branded mugs and even my car is branded. I would like to share with you what is working and what isn’t.
I found an A frame chalkboard in a skip (yes I am a skip raider ), painted some more blackboard paint on it, purchased some waterproof chalk pens and voila I had a chalkboard outside my house 24 hours a day.
My husband thought I would never get any business from it, but actually I have had one drop in customer who drove by, saw the sign, pulled up the car, checked my website on her phone and then called me to purchase 6 of my lunchplates. How lovely. Then I have had at least 3 enquiries about my classes (it hasn’t been up that long), with one lady Donna, even just ringing my doorbell and introducing herself from up the road, and starting the week after. So roadside marketing does work. However it does have it’s downside, as they might catch you in your dressing gown! I will let you know if I get any interest from the car branding. The mug was just indulgent of me really, but the photo of the mug nicely sums up my classes I think!
I also had two unexpected radio mentions this week, from Heart Watford and Hemel, and Dacorum Radio, these were by one client just telling Heart on facebook what she was up to that morning (which happened to be coming to my sewing class), and the other is, by chance one of my new sewing ladies presents on Dacorum Radio on a Wednesday morning during my class, so we chose a favourite song and sent in a request from the sewing ladies!
All of this marketing is either free or very cheap (the car magnets cost £14 for two). This means I can keep the costs of my classes down, as I want them to be available to everyone.
I am the proud owner of a magnificent digital embroidery machine, so of course I have been doing my own logo on my own clothing and much to my daughter’s delight I have also made her her very own Bambino Bobbin fleece. Probably unnecessary but fun marketing and free.
What I have found very useful is that my fabulous web designers Stuart and Deborah from SVS Web Design put statistical analysis on the back end of my website for me, so I can see what works and what doesn’t. Suddenly all the marketing analysis that I absolutely despised doing when I worked in the corporate world, is actually fun and would you believe it USEFUL! I can see what the impact of a mention on the radio has to my website hits for example, I can see how many people read the blogs and which pages they visit on my website. I can even see what countries they are from and what search tools they are using (more useful to the web designer this one!).
I have also given some business cards to the local haberdashery store Needlecraft, and have a regular client and her daughter who came from their referral.
By far the most useful marketing tool has been a business facebook account and word of mouth. By publishing lots of pictures of what my fabulous students have been up to, has inspired many others to start sewing classes with me.
I must not forget my website of course. It has proved invaluable, not just in generating business on its own but also by showing potential clients that are interested that I am a viable business, and by giving me a platform to launch new products, new courses, testimonials and so forth. Having a bespoke website built means I am in control of it as well, and I can make changes and tweak the site as I grow, instead of having to fit my business into a standard model built by someone else.
I am compiling a little advert for the local primary school fair brochure, cost £12, mostly to support the school and hopefully it will generate some interest (although most people at the school know what I do already as I run the sewing club there!). I will let you know if it works!
Twitter……three months ago it was alien to me, now I already have 145 followers and growing every day. The best way I can describe it to those who don’t use it for their business is like business networking meetings but online, in your own time. People support other people, show interest in other businesses and they will show interest in yours, and you discover a massive GLOBAL community of people doing what you love to do, you can ask advice, share ideas, showcase what you have done, the list is endless. There are loads and loads of twitter groups where you can showcase your services or products and have a look at everyone else’s. I use two groups mostly , #indiehour on a Tuesday evening and #handmadehour on a Wednesday evening (where I try to do a live twitter feed during my evening class). The downside is that some of the things others are making are too irresistible and I end up spending money!
Pinterest, an endless source of ideas for my sewing classes mostly but increasingly a marketing tool as well. I can post our creations there and I now have a business account (free), allowing me to put ‘pin it’ markers all over my website so other people can share my web content on Pinterest. I also use Pinterest as a support tool for my students at home, where I post things that might interest them, things they can make at home without my help and help them with ideas and inspirations of things to make.
My next task is to complete my outlook contacts page, so I can easily email people. I am trying to keep a list of details of people who have enquired or expressed an interest but not actually booked.
If you have any thing else that worked for your creative business start up please share with us in your comments. Thank you