Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Five Basic Lessons of Marketing (Or, How To Win Some)

I could go on about search engine optimization, or how to take better pictures, or go into the whole philosophy of Winnie the Pooh, but this is easier, more basic, and I believe more necessary.

Five Basic Lessons of Marketing (Or, How To Win Some)

1. You are not what you sell. I don’t care if you literally put your own blood on there (yeah, don’t ask), but it is not you. It is your stuff. You are selling stuff. Not you.

With that in mind, remember, not even Elvis or the Beatles had 100% of the market share when they were at their hottest. So, get over yourself.

Your new mantra: "Not everyone is going to love my stuff." I repeat, get over yourself. Realize that some (read: many) people will walk away and not even look at you. Do not take it personally.

This is business and it just is. No deep philosophy. No “it’s okay, it’s not you, it’s them.” It just is.

So, look up, smile, you need to get busy. Your new goal is to find the people that will love your stuff and keep them coming back.

2. Set your goal: “Find the people that will love my stuff.” This is a fancy term used in professional circles as business development, marketing and the like.

Now, how to do that? There is a key. This is very important and it will take some work on your part. You need to figure out what types of people will like your stuff. Who is your audience?

Some Easy and Obvious Samples.
Selling earrings? People with ears.
Selling signs that hang on doors? People with doors.
Selling sugary baked goods? People who eat sweets and who are not diabetic.
Selling life coach techniques? People who live life.

When you figure out who your audience is, you need to get answers to the following questions. What type of things do they like to do? Where do they live? Where do they hang out? How can I get there? Meet them? Know them? You need to spend the time to figure this out or you will not know where to go next.

Once, you answered the questions above. Then, start hanging out at those places. Find their common interests. Find their goals. Figure out their problems and offer them solutions. Investigate this. Once you find them, then, you can tell them about your stuff. Be yourself, or at least be really really nice.

3. Don't just stand there, show off ! After you have found the people who love your stuff, show them your stuff. Take great pictures if an online shop, or present a great group of items in person. Be neat. Be professional. Look your Sunday best. This is the impression they will take with them. Yes, this is when they will judge your stuff. No pressure. But, this is the reason they will stay and look, or go buh-bye with their wallets.

4. Keep them coming back. Once you have found the lovely people who love your stuff and stayed to give you their money, then, take care of them - very well. It does bear repeating, take good care of them.

This is also known as customer service. Provide a great one and they will keep coming back for more. Then, they will tell their friends about your stuff. Their friends will probably be the same type of people that they are. So, there is a good likelihood that their friends will also love your stuff. And, these new friends will also be telling their friends about your stuff. And on and on the circle goes.

You just tapped the best kind of marketing in the world, word of mouth, a.k.a organic marketing.

5. Grow. Change. Be better. We all love the way things used to be. We all like to go back to the good ‘ole days. Nostalgia is deceivingly fun. It’s a distant memory and it’s over with. So, of course it is fondly remembered.

But, reality is we are in the here and now. And, reality is everything changes. Everyone changes and people do grow. Do you want to play catch up or do you want to be in front?

So, change, improve, get better. Somehow be more interesting. If you are more interesting, then, you are not boring. I know, it is so obvious. Yet, it has to be said. Do not be boring. People are just not attracted to boring people. Just saying.

So, five very easy and basic tips. Now go on and do.

If you found these tips helpful. Post it. Share it. E-mail it. Tweet it. Thanks!


  1. Thanks! I was reading the Etsy Forums and getting frustrated with people not understanding BASIC marketing. SO, I blogged. I feel much better now :)

  2. Just read this on Handmadeology and now I've found your blog! Thanks for being so inspiring.

  3. Excellent article, read it first on Handmadeology. I'll share with my team of Upcyclers on Etsy, too! I also just read through your post about Littleput! You are a wonderful writer with a terrific savvy style. I look forward to following your posts!

  4. i hopped over from handmadeology too~ love your writing style~ you're funny! X3

  5. Great post. On your references to customer service, an idea to play with:On customer service -

    When starting out, I, of course, wanted to grow my woodworking and glass etch business to reach as many as possible. Accordingly, I wanted to produce products that were attractive to the young, the old, to hippies, to bankers, to minimalists, to hoarders, to ballerinas, to cowboys and so on. It required getting past my self and striving to think like my potential customers.

    Today, in that same vein, I might consider a simple brochure, or handout. It would explain my goals and patterns, noted above. It would then go on to say something to the effect, “[i]f you would like to see a certain type of photograph, picture frame, mirror design, shelf, sign, or other item, I would love to hear about it.” It would go on to say something to the effect “I may attempt to build something using your ideas one day, in the not to distant future.”

    Such a brochure could go on to ask questions about different things you make. For example (some questions might pertain to those making jewelry, others to woodworks, pick and choose, as appropriate):

    1) What is/are your favorite color(s)?

    2) Do you prefer [ ] gold, [ ] silver, [ ] copper or a combination of any of the foregoing?

    3) Would you say your furniture preferences run to [ ] Shaker [ ] Queen Ann........?

    4) What furnishing problems do you see that you would like to see overcome?

    It would, obviously, benefit you to seek contact information (e.g., mailing address, email) from the individual filling out your “suggestion” form. In doing so, offer the usual guarantee against handing out or selling your information.