We live in a strange, depersonalised world where accelerated manufacturing and automation are coupled with the digitisation of everyday life.
In such a world, consumers have begun to long for a time when people made things with their own hands and put love and care into what they created.
As advances in technology have made manufacturing cheaper, faster and less prone to errors, a crafting revolution has been materialising across the Western countries. If you’re reading this, chances are you want to join this revolution.
You’re probably passionate about crafts and want to find a way to turn this into a profitable business. Luckily, handmade goods are now a thriving market, and online platforms like Etsy, Artfire, eBay and Amazon Handmade have made it easier than ever to reach customers who appreciate artisanship. There are over 4 million retailers on Etsy alone.
Turning a Hobby into a Business
You like to spend your time looking for the perfect gingham ribbon for your next project, finding inspiration in simple things, and sharing your work with others. You’ve been into crafts for a while now, but you were mostly focused on the creative process, so now you’re having trouble mentally switching from hobbyist to entrepreneur.
There’s quite a bit of difference. Entrepreneurs also care about the creative process. However, for them creating a full-fledged brand, thinking of long-term marketing strategies and looking for new opportunities to expand their business are all part of the process.
The first step toward changing your mindset is to set goals for yourself. What are you hoping to get from this business, and how far do you want to take it? You can do a lot with ecommerce marketing, but you need a clear vision and a solid business plan.
Learn more about your target audience. What is your ideal customer like? What are their values? What are their expectations? How can you reach them? Then you need to consider how to nurture your relationship with your customers and build loyalty. That’s what’s at the core of marketing.
Taking the time to build an enthusiastic and loyal customer base is the best thing you can do to reach your business goals. Consider who is most likely to want to buy your products and why they want to buy them. That’s what terms like target audience or ideal buyer persona refer to.
The next step is to gain a thorough understanding of your target audience, so you know how to connect with it through your brand voice and messaging.
Social media is a great place to start your research because it allows you to look for other companies from your market sector. You can then analyse their profiles and see what marketing strategies they’re using and how effective they are. You’ll want to look at the number of likes, shares, and comments, as well as the feedback expressed in those comments – complaints, needs, wants, expectations. You have the same target audience, and this will help you avoid making the same mistakes.
Facebook is a good choice for any line of business, but Instagram and Pinterest are particularly suitable for your market. Their user base is usually looking for inspiration which is why the algorithms favour pictures and videos.
You’ll Need Your Own Website
Since there are many platforms like Etsy and eBay where you can sell your products, you may assume that it’s not worth it to invest in having your own website. But you should know that even if customers discover your products via third-party channels, they’ll google your company and want to visit your website.
Why? Because this way they’re hoping to get an idea of what your company stands for and the quality they can expect if they buy from you. Having a website that looks professional will give you credibility and help you build trust with your target audience.
Another advantage is that you’ll better control over your business. You have no power over the changes made by third-party channels on their platforms. Plus, whenever a potential customer searches for your products on these platforms, they are also shown similar products from other sellers, which means you may lose them to competitors. By not investing in your own website, you’d be missing out on a chance to boost your credibility and build trust and loyalty with your target audience.
Finally, the traffic you can get from social media has decreased in recent years, so even though it’s a great tool for market research, it would be wise to diversify.
What is the Best Place to Sell? Exploring Multiple Sales Avenues
This is the perfect place to combine creativity and strategic thinking. If you’re into crafts, you may already be inclined to think outside the box, and this tendency will serve you well. It will allow you to find ways to stand out and expand your business. You can start by exploring multiple sales avenues.
We highlighted the importance of not relying solely on third-party channels and building your own website. But that doesn’t mean you should rule them out. You want to take advantage of every opportunity. Try as many as you can handle – Etsy, eBay, Shopify, Artfire Amazon Handmade and so on. Take them one at a time and do some research on their pros and cons.
You should also try out various digital marketing methods such as paid ads, emails, blogging, video content, and collaborating with influencers. Again, take them one at a time since this will give you a better idea of how effective they are. It won’t take long until you figure out which ones are ideal for you.
Managing Your Sales Pipeline
A sales pipeline gives you insight into how customers go through the sales process. They’ll progress through different stages. As much as we’d like them to, most customers don’t commit to a purchase on the first interaction.
What you need to do is learn about these different stages and how you can make the process smoothers for them. Any seasoned salesperson knows that getting caught up in generating quick sales is a mistake. Reaching your long-term business goals depends on adding value and building loyalty.