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Category: Marketing

The Essential Components of A Kick Ass Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a must-have for your outreach strategy. Without a plan, you can’t know whether or not you’re successfully reaching your goals. It makes finding your way and monetizing that much easier when you know exactly what your plan of attack is.

Product Description and Potential Roadblocks
Start by writing out a description of each and every product or service that you plan to (or already) offer. Write out goals for each of these products and services, but make sure that you write them concisely, and make them realistic. You want these to be things that you can obtain in a reasonable amount of time.

Analyze
In this section, you’re going to want to expend a fair amount of energy in analysis. You’ll need to write three distinct sections to get a good handle on your company, the market, and your competitors. These are your subheadings; Ideal Customers, Main Competitors and Your Company. When looking internally at your company, be as honest as possible. List your market share (an estimation is fine), the company culture (either that you have or that you envision), your focal point (what is the overall mission) and any weaknesses that you have or foresee. When analyzing your customers, you’ll want to know the demographics of the group; what is the average age, gender and social standing of your ideal client? Understanding this will help you understand what motivates your clients to spend money. Then, take a good hard look at the successes and failures or shortcomings of any market competitors that you may have. What are their market shares? Why and how are they in the position that they are in?

Marketing Strategy
Based on the evaluations done, which marketing strategy is best suited to your clients in order to inspire growth within your company? That will be the marketing strategy that you develop as your focal point. If you sell multiple products, you will want to develop an overall branding plan, but also individual strategies as well. These should include pricing, packaging, quality and a warranty where applicable. Give consideration to what discounts you will give, if any, and under what circumstances you will give them. Next, give careful consideration to your distribution angle. Are you shopping this product out to be carried in a store, or are you looking to distribute online at first?

Promote
Ensure that you have a good idea of how and where you are going to promote your company. What is your budget? Where will you advertise? Is your product one that would benefit from high-traffic sample or promotional programs? What about an affiliate program for your loyal customers? The sky is the limit when it comes to promotions, but remember that you want to draw attention while encouraging word of mouth, and you never want to cheapen yourself or your brand.

Projections
The final key to ensure that you’re marketing the best way possible is to make accurate projections. Break down your expenses and your expected returns. This data is important to draw up, and to use at a later date to see what works for your business and what doesn’t.

Navigating the Confusing World of Product Photography

You made this beautiful creation. You have spent time, energy, gave this piece a little slice of your soul and created it with love. Now you have to photograph it too???!!!

If any of you are like me, having to create this item but then to try to take these amazing photos so you can share and sell it online, is frustrating, to say the least. 99% of makers I have talked to have some kind of frustration dealing with shooting their product. Some just don’t know where to start, or have trouble figuring out how best photograph their specific product.

Others find that there are so many tutorials, products and suggestions on how to shoot their product it feels overwhelming. There are so many aspects of taking photos of your products, but it can be fairly simple, and I am here to help. Over this series I am going to share some tips and tricks of the trade to help you navigate this crazy world of photography so you can really focus you creativity on making and selling your creations – without tears and stress.

Over this series I am going to walk you through a number of different aspects of product photography, including:

  • Lighting – how to find the right light and use it advantageously
  • Basic Composition techniques
  • Backgrounds and product placement
  • Editing
  • Styling images to your brand
  • Equipment suggestions and how to DIY your own tools

I hope you stay with me over the course of this series and please feel free to leave comments below with any questions or suggestions that you may have.

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Follow along with our Maker Member Meghan from Sew Shenanigans as she takes you through the wonderous world of product photography.

The Basics of Tradeshow Marketing

Tradeshows are often the best (and sometimes only) was to showcase your items and creative business. Tradeshows are useful because they offer you a platform on which to shop your products and services to people in a position where they are ready to learn.
They are usually a hub of activity; new products to see, new market trends to learn about and services that people can’t live without. One of the great things about shows is that people go into them looking for specific answers to specific problems. Your goal is to offer those solutions.
With all the different shows and Markets available these days, how do you choose which ones are good and which should be avoided?
Research
You can’t just hop into any or every tradeshow and hope for the best. You need to spend some time looking into your available options and weigh whether or not you are a good fit for each show on an individual basis. If your product misses the mark in terms of what the tradeshow attendees are looking for, you may find that your ROI is low. Instead, find out all about the demographics of each show by requesting relevant information from the organizers. The demographics of the attendees will give you an idea of how each show stacks up against your needs, and that’s important.
Identify What You Want To Achieve
You’re looking to advertise your business, otherwise you would have no reason for attending. Beyond that, what are your goals? Are you looking to a tradeshow as a point of sale? Do you want to land custom orders or sign people up on the spot? Are you looking for investors, or simply to gain clients? Understanding your motives will help you focus your energy in the right places. Keep in mind that not all shows allow cash and carry so it’s also important to ask that question.
Be Prepared
You need to have an excellent handle on your booth; what will the space allow? What will the dimensions be? Ensure that you’re ready for a tradeshow by having handout materials made ahead of time, and ensuring that you’re highly visible. Get a large banner to attract the eye. Offer a demonstration to draw people in. Host a contest to engage your audience.
Follow Up
The idea behind a tradeshow is obviously to gain ground in your day-to-day work. If you make contact with people while you’re there, why not follow up with a thank you card, or send a sample of your work to their office. You want to convince potential customers that they truly can’t live without you, and great customer service is one way to do exactly that.
While this is just a quick post about what to look for in a tradeshow, there are LOTS of great ways to use markets and shows as your primary method of sales/growth. We will be exploring the topic further (especially as we get closer to market season) so please leave your questions/insights in the comments section so we can include those in our next post.